By Direction

of the

President of the United States


Distinguished Service Cross

Is Awarded 


Fruto J. Oquendo



Rank and Organization:  Specialist Four, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Date and Place:  6 May 1969, Republic of Vietnam

Reason:  For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:  Specialist Four Oquendo distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 6 May 1969 while serving as a machine gunner at a fire support base in Tay Ninh Province.  In the early morning hours, the base began to receive heavy rocket and mortar fire followed by a ground assault.  When a North Vietnamese regiment armed with machine guns and satchel charges rushed the perimeter, Specialist Oquendo detonated claymore mines and placed rifle fire into their advancing ranks.  As the enemy attempted to blast openings in the wire barrier, he valiantly attempted to abort their efforts.  Soon, however, the enemy forces penetrated the berm in several spots and began throwing grenades and small arms fire at Specialist Oquendo's position.  He and several others in his bunker were wounded, but he refused to be evacuated.  When he depleted his ammunition, he grabbed one of his wounded comrade's weapons and continued firing.  In a determined bid to capture his bunker, the communists stormed his position.  During the hand to hand struggle, he was mortally wounded while defending his area.  Specialist Oquendo'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.



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