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First Name: Emilio

Last Name: De La Garza

Birthplace: East Chicago, IN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Chicago, IL
Middle Name: Albert

Date of Birth: 23 June 1949

Date of Death: 11 April 1970

Rank: Lance Corporal

Years Served: 1969 - 1970
Emilio Albert De La Garza, Jr.

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Emilio Albert De La Garza, Jr.
Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Emilio Albert De La Garza, Jr. (23 June 1949 - 11 April 1970) was a U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal who was posthumously awarded the nation's highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in April 1970 in Vietnam.

De La Garza was born on 23 June 1949, in East Chicago, IN, and graduated from Washington High School there in 1968. For a year, he was employed by Inland Steel in East Chicago.

Marine Corps Service

De La Garza enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 4 February 1969, in Chicago, IL. He received recruit training with the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment at the MCRD San Diego, CA.

Upon completion of recruit training, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, CA, where he joined the 2nd Infantry Training Regiment and underwent individual combat training with the 1st and 2nd Battalions, and weapons training with the Basic Infantry Training Battalion.

Promoted to Private First Class on 1 July 1969, he arrived in the Republic of Vietnam on 25 July 1969 for duty as an ammo carrier with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division. On 29 September 1969, he was reassigned to the 1st Marine Division and served as a Marine Corps exchange man with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, until the following December. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 February 1970.

Corporal De La Garza then joined Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. While serving as a machine gunner on a squad size patrol with the 3rd Platoon of Company E, approximately four miles south of Da Nang on 11 April 1970, he was mortally wounded by a grenade as he placed himself between the blast and two fellow Marines.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner with Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on 11 April 1970. Returning with his squad from a night ambush operation, Lance Corporal De La Garza joined his Platoon commander and another Marine in searching for two enemy soldiers who had been observed fleeing for cover toward a small pond. Moments later, he located one of the enemy soldiers hiding among the reeds and brush. As the three Marines attempted to remove the resisting soldier from the pond, Lance Corporal De La Garza observed him pull the pin on a grenade. Shouting a warning, Lance Corporal De La Garza placed himself between the other two Marines and the ensuing blast from the grenade, thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the sacrifice of his own. By his prompt and decisive action, and his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal De La Garza upheld and further enhanced the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Emilio Albert De La Garza's name is inscribed on Panel 12W - Line 121.


• The City of East Chicago also honored De La Garza by naming the Ivy Tech State College campus after him.

Death and Burial

Emilio Albert De La Garza, Jr. was killed in action on 11 April 1970. He is buried at Saint John Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Hammond, Lake County, IN.

Honoree ID: 924   Created by: MHOH




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