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Efraín Figueroa Meléndez
Born July 27, 1942
Died March 5, 1969
Place of birth Cataño, Puerto Rico
Place of death Kon Tum Province, Vietnam
Buried at Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Rank Army-USA-OR-06.svg
Staff Sergeant
Unit Company D, 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Purple Heart

Staff Sergeant Efraín Figueroa Meléndez (July 27, 1942 – March 5, 1969) was born in Cataño, Puerto Rico was a member of Company D, 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. SSG Efraín Figueroa was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Vietnam War[edit | edit source]

On three occasions Staff Sergeant Figueroa-Meléndez purposely drew communist volleys on himself to permit his men to draw back to protected positions he was struck by sniper fire and killed March 5, 1969 in Kontum Province, South Vietnam serving with the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.

Staff Sergeant Efraín Figueroa-Meléndez was buried with full military honors in the Puerto Rico National Cemetery located in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.[1]

Distinguished Service Cross citation[edit | edit source]

Army distinguished service cross medal.png
EFRAIN FIGUEROA-MELENDEZ

Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Efrain Figueroa-Melendez, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company D, 3d Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Staff Sergeant Figueroa-Melendez distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 5 March 1969 while on a mission to recover several wounded soldiers from an enemy-infiltrated area west of Kontum. En route to the objective area, his company encountered hostile machine gun and small arms fire and were pinned down. In order to withdraw and regroup successfully, Sergeant Figueroa-Melendez moved forward and laid a devastating suppressive barrage on the enemy bunkers. Three times he purposely drew communist volleys on himself to permit his men to draw back to protected positions. Noticing a wounded soldier dangerously exposed and unable to move, Sergeant Figueroa-Melendez maneuvered to the downed man and proceeded to administer medical aid. Then, when he attempted to evacuate the casualty, he was struck by sniper fire and killed. Staff Sergeant Figueroa-Melendez's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2464 (September 8, 1969) Home Town: Cataño, Puerto Rico[2]

Military decorations[edit | edit source]

Among Efraín Figueroa Meléndez awards and decorations are the following:

Combat Infantry Badge.svg
A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars 
Bronze star
1 Combat Infantryman Badge
2 Distinguished Service Cross Purple Heart
3 National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal with 1 bronze star Vietnam Campaign Medal

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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