BY DUANE A. VACHON, PH.D. Tina Duran-Ruvalcaba, Sgt. Jesus S.Duran’s daughter, received the Medal of Honor on his behalf from President Barack Obama in a March 18, 2014 White House ceremony. The following day, she received the Medal of Honor flag from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a ceremony in which Duran was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.
The award came through the Defense Authorization Act which called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.
It’s a shame that in America, the greatest melting pot of people in the world, we sometimes allow prejudice to influence our decisions in respect of our fellow citizens. It’s particularly offensive when we allow it to affect those who have fought for and often made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our way of life.
Born on July 26, 1948, in Juarez, Mexico, Duran was the sixth of 12 siblings.
Duran was raised in Riverside California and joined the U.S. Army from there on May 13, 1968, and was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to support Search and Destroy missions. During his service in the Vietnam War, his actions resulted in his being bestowed, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.
In the course of the third phase of the Vietnam War, then-Specialist 4 Jesus S. Duran distinguished himself on April 10, 1969, as a machine-gunner on a search and clear operation. His actions saved several wounded Americans and led to the enemy’s retreat.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Duran received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor on March 18 2014), Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge with Auto Rifle and machine-gun Bars, Marksman Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Vietnam Campaign Medal with “e;60″e; Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citations with Palm Device.
After leaving the military, Duran pursued a career as a corrections officer at a juvenile detention center in San Bernardino, California, dedicating personal time to mentoring youth and lead them on educational trips. He married twice and had two children.
After surviving the war in Vietnam and saving many others Duran was stabbed in a Riverside bar and died on February 17, 1977. A sad and tragic end for a man of his character and courage.
Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to:
JESUS S. DURAN
United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an acting M-60 machinegunner in Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on April 10, 1969. That afternoon, the reconnaissance platoon was moving into an elaborate enemy bunker complex when the lead elements began taking concentrated ambush fire from every side. The command post was in imminent danger of being overrun. With an M-60 machinegun blazing from his hip, Specialist Four Duran rushed forward and assumed a defensive position near the command post. As hostile forces stormed forward, Specialist Four Duran stood tall in a cloud of dust raised by the impacting rounds and bursting grenades directed towards him and thwarted the enemy with devastating streams of machinegun fire. Learning that two seriously wounded troopers lay helplessly pinned down under harassing fire, Specialist Four Duran assaulted the suppressive enemy positions, firing deadly bursts on the run. Mounting a log, he fired directly into the enemy’s foxholes, eliminating four and cutting down several others as they fled. Specialist Four Duran then continued to pour effective fire on the disorganized and fleeing enemy. Specialist Four Duran’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
//Barack Obama// President
Sgt. Jesus S. Duran is buried at Olivewood Cemetery, in Riverside, California.
The information in this article was sourced from a variety of sources both internal and external. Every effort was made to ensure that the information is current and correct. These articles are presented to honor the heroes they are written about.
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.