and organization: Specialist
Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry,
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 28 June 1968.
20 December 1942, Salinas, Puerto Rico.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk
of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Santiago-Colon
distinguished himself at the cost of his life while serving as a
gunner in the mortar platoon of Company B. While serving as a perimeter
sentry, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon heard distinct movement in the heavily
wooded area to his front and flanks. Immediately he alerted his
fellow sentries inthe area to move to their foxholes
and remain alert for any enemy probing forces. From the wooded area
around his position heavy enemy automatic weapons and small-arms
fire suddenly broke out, but extreme darkness rendered difficult
the precise location and identification of the hostile force. Only
the muzzle flashes from enemy weapons indicated their position.
Sp4c. Santiago-Colon and the other members of his position immediately
began to repel the attackers, utilizing hand grenades, antipersonnel
mines and small-arms fire. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire
and exploding grenades around them, a North Vietnamese soldier was
able to crawl, undetected, to their position. Suddenly, the enemy
soldier lobbed a hand grenade into Sp4c. Santiago-Colon's foxhole.
Realizing that there was no time to throw the grenade out of his
position, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon retrieved the grenade, tucked it
in to his stomach and, turning away from his comrades, absorbed
the full impact of the blast. His heroic self-sacrifice saved the
lives of those who occupied the foxhole with him, and provided them
with the inspiration to continue fighting until they had forced
the enemy to retreat from the perimeter. By his gallantry at the
cost of his life and in the highest traditions of the military service,
Sp4c. Santiago-Colon has reflected great credit upon himself, his
unit, and the U.S. Army.