The son of Commodore Manuel Azueta, commander of the Veracruz Naval Academy, Lieutenant Azueta was wounded on April 21, 1914, the first day of the invasion, during the defense of the Naval Academy building. A cadet, José Azueta was manning a machine gun placed outside the building, facing the incoming American troops on his own and causing a number of casualties. José Azueta was rescued from the battlefield after sustaining two bullet wounds and taken to his home.
After the battle, U.S. Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher heard of Azueta's brave actions and sent word to him via messenger that he (Fletcher) wished to visit the fallen defender and pay his respects. Azueta—through his surgeon and local political activist Dr. Roberto Reyes Barreiro—sent word to Fletcher refusing the visit, saying "If the American (Fletcher) enters my house, I will either kill him or me." Fletcher then offered to send his personal doctor to take care of him. However, Azueta refused medical services offered by the occupation army and only allowed local Dr. Rafael Cuervo Xicoy to treat him. Dr. Xicoy lacked medical supplies to assist Azueta properly. At the time of his death, Lt. Azueta was being cared for by the surgeon Reyes Barreiro.
On April 24, Lieutenant Azueta was promoted immediately to Captain by the President of the Republic for his performance in combat. On April 29, he was awarded a gold medal with the Decoration of the Second U.S. Invasion. Again on May 1, he was issued the 3rd Class Military Merit medal.
José Azueta died of his wounds on May 10, Mexico's Mother's Day. During his funeral hundreds of citizens marched holding his coffin on their shoulders to the city's cemetery in open defiance to directives from the occupation army forbidding assembly.
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