Medal of Honor U.S. Army

Medal of Honor U.S. Army

BY DUANE VACHON – Leroy A. Mendonca was a Portuguese American soldier in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

It was on July 4th 1951 when Sergeant LeRoy A. Mendonca, U.S. Army, Company B, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division near Chich-on, Korea made the ultimate sacrifice.

LeRoy was born in Honolulu on August 2nd 1932 he died on July 4, 1951.  He was three weeks short of his 19th birthday. He entered the service from Honolulu and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery Of The Pacific, his final resting place is Q1408.

After his platoon, in an exhaustive fight, had captured Hill 586, the newly won positions were assaulted during the night by a numerically superior enemy force. On July 4, 1951, so he voluntarily remained in an exposed position to cover his platoon’s withdrawal. Although wounded and out of ammunition, he fought hand to hand with the enemy, killing 37, until he was mortally wounded.

For his outstanding leadership and great valor, Sergeant Mendonca was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Citation: Sgt. LeRoy A. Mendonca, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. After his platoon, in an exhaustive fight, had captured Hill 586, the newly won positions were assaulted during the night by a numerically superior enemy force. When the 1st Platoon positions were outflanked and under great pressure and the platoon was ordered to withdraw to a secondary line of defense, Sgt. Mendonca voluntarily remained in an exposed position and covered the platoon’s withdrawal. Although under murderous enemy fire, he fired his weapon and hurled grenades at the onrushing enemy until his supply of ammunition was exhausted. He fought on, clubbing with his rifle and using his bayonet until he was mortally wounded. After the action it was estimated that Sgt. Mendonca had accounted for 37 enemy casualties. His daring actions stalled the crushing assault, protecting the platoon’s withdrawal to secondary positions, and enabling the entire unit to repel the enemy attack and retain possession of the vital hilltop position. Sgt. Mendonca’s extraordinary gallantry and exemplary valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

 

Editor’s note: The story originally had the recipient as Filipino and Portuguese but his family assures us that he was 100 percent Portuguese. We regret the error.

 

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