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First Name: Alejandro

Last Name: Ruiz

Birthplace: Loving, NM, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Carlsbad, NM
Middle Name: Renteria

Date of Birth: 26 June 1923

Date of Death: 20 November 2009

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served: 1944 - 1964
Alejandro Renteria Ruiz

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Alejandro Renteria Ruiz

Sergeant, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Sergeant Alejandro Renteria Ruiz (26 June 1923 - 20 November 2009) was a former U.S. Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest award for valor, for his actions during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

Alejandro Renteria Ruiz was born on 26 June 1923 in Loving, NM; he was also raised there. He enlisted in the Army at Carlsbad, NM, upon the outbreak of World War II. He was assigned to the 27th Infantry Division after completing basic training.

During World War II, the conquest of the Japanese island of Okinawa was considered vital for the Allied forces as a step towards an invasion of the Japanese mainland. The invasion (codenamed Operation Iceberg) was the largest amphibious operation of the Pacific war, and involved units of the U.S. Tenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. These units consisted of III Amphibious Corps (1st and 6th Marine Divisions, with 2nd Marine Division as an afloat reserve), and XXIV Corps (7th, 77th, 96th and 27th Infantry Divisions).

On 28 April 1945, PFC Ruiz's unit was pinned down by machine gun fire coming from a camouflaged Japanese pillbox and was unable to advance to its assigned objective. Ruiz, on his own initiative, charged the pillbox under a hail of machine gun fire. On his second attempt, he was able to neutralize the pillbox by killing all of its occupants. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 165th Infantry, 27th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 28 April 1945.

Citation: When his unit was stopped by a skillfully camouflaged enemy pillbox, he displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. His squad, suddenly brought under a hail of machinegun fire and a vicious grenade attack, was pinned down. Jumping to his feet, Pfc. Ruiz seized an automatic rifle and lunged through the flying grenades and rifle and automatic fire for the top of the emplacement. When an enemy soldier charged him, his rifle jammed. Undaunted, Pfc. Ruiz whirled on his assailant and clubbed him down. Then he ran back through bullets and grenades, seized more ammunition and another automatic rifle, and again made for the pillbox. Enemy fire now was concentrated on him, but he charged on, miraculously reaching the position, and in plain view he climbed to the top. Leaping from 1 opening to another, he sent burst after burst into the pillbox, killing 12 of the enemy and completely destroying the position. Pfc. Ruiz's heroic conduct, in the face of overwhelming odds, saved the lives of many comrades and eliminated an obstacle that long would have checked his unit's advance.

On 26 June 1946, President Harry S. Truman presented Ruiz with the Medal of Honor in a ceremony held at the White House.

After his retirement from the Army in 1964, Ruiz resided in Visalia, CA, and actively participated in activities honoring Medal of Honor recipients.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal

Combat Infantryman Badge


The town of Visalia honored Ruiz by naming the Alejandro R. Ruiz Sr. Park after him. The park is located at North Burke Street and Buena Vista Street in Visalia.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Alejandro Renteria Ruiz died on 20 November 2009 at Yountville, CA. He is buried at Veterans Memorial Grove Cemetery in Yountville, Napa County, CA, in Section J, Row 8, Grave 31.

Honoree ID: 1628   Created by: MHOH




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