The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth
Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).
Place and Date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 28 June 1968. Entered
service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 20 December 1942, Salinas, Puerto Rico.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Santiago-Colon distinguished himself at the cost of his
life while serving as a gunner in the mortar platoon of Company B. While serving as a
perimeter sentry, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon heard distinct movement in the heavily wooded area
to his front and flanks. Immediately he alerted his fellow sentries in the area to move to
their foxholes and remain alert for any enemy probing forces. From the wooded area around
his position heavy enemy automatic weapons and small-arms fire suddenly broke out, but
extreme darkness rendered difficult the precise location and identification of the hostile
force. Only the muzzle flashes from enemy weapons indicated their position. Sp4c.
Santiago-Colon and the other members of his position immediately began to repel the
attackers, utilizing hand grenades, antipersonnel mines and small-arms fire. Due to the
heavy volume of enemy fire and exploding grenades around them, a North Vietnamese soldier
was able to crawl, undetected, to their position. Suddenly, the enemy soldier lobbed a
hand grenade into Sp4c. Santiago-Colon's foxhole. Realizing that there was no time to
throw the grenade out of his position, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon retrieved the grenade, tucked
it in to his stomach and, turning away from his comrades, absorbed the full impact of the
blast. His heroic self-sacrifice saved the lives of those who occupied the foxhole with
him, and provided them with the inspiration to continue fighting until they had forced the
enemy to retreat from the perimeter. By his gallantry at the cost of his life and in the
highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon has reflected great
credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.