Leal, Armando Garza, HM3

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer Third Class
Last Primary NEC
HM-8404-Medical Field Service Technician/FMF Combat Corpsman
Last Rating/NEC Group
Hospital Corpsman
Primary Unit
1967-1967, HM-8404, 5th Marine Regiment/3rd Bn (3/5)
Service Years
1967 - 1969
HM-Hospital Corpsman

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Richard Hopka (SW)(AW)(FMF), HM1 to remember Leal, Armando Garza, PO3.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
San Antonio, TX
Last Address
San Antonio, TX

Casualty Date
Sep 04, 1967
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Quang Tin (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery - San Antonio, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
25E 103

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2014, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2014, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2014, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Ribbon Bar

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1967, Recruit Training (Great Lakes, IL), 222
 Duty Stations
(HM) Hospital Corpsman A School, Fort Sam Houston, TexasNaval Hospital Corpus Christi, TX5th Marine Regiment/3rd Bn (3/5)
  1966-1966, HM-0000, (HM) Hospital Corpsman A School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
  1966-1967, HM-0000, Naval Hospital Corpus Christi, TX
  1967-1967, HM-8404, 5th Marine Regiment/3rd Bn (3/5)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (67-68)/Operation Swift
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Navy Buddy
  Boot Camp and "A" School
  Sep 04, 2012, General Photos2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
He Gave His Life For "His Marines"
Corpsman Armando Leal was a quiet man. I only knew him a short time, but the memories of him are 33 years old and clear. On Sept. 4, 1967, 1st Battalion and 3rd Battalion of the 5th Marines engaged a large NVA force near the Village of Dong Son, in the Que-Son Valley.
My platoon, the 2nd Platoon of Mike Company was ordered to go to the aid of 1st Platoon which had been attacked in force on the far side of a small hill. As my squad, (2nd Squad) topped the small hill, we were raked by machine gun fire from a hidden position approximately 25 yards away. Myself and most of the squad were hit. Sgt. Peters, our squad leader, was hit and we were in bad shape. 
I heard someone shout "Corpsman," but every time we moved, the gun would shoot at us. I saw from my position, Corpsman Leal moving around the field from one Marine to another, and working his way toward myself and Sgt. Peters who was out in front of me. I could see Corpsman Leal looking at me, but every time he moved the gun would follow him, and everyone else who moved was a target.
At that time Father Vincent Capodanno came to my side, and was helping me and encouraging me to stay calm, someone would be here to help me. I heard a scream, "My Leg", "My Leg!" I looked up, and it was Corpsman Leal, he had been hit while helping several other Marines who were down. "Fr. Vince" left me, and went to Corpsman Leal's side in an attempt to help him. They were both killed by a long burst of that machine gun. 
I believe another Marine tried to help Corpsman Leal, and was wounded in his attempt, it is hard to remember who it was. When everyone else was in trouble that terrible day, Corpsman Leal moved among the dead and dying doing his job, he is a Hero. 
I know this may sound bad to any family members that may read this, but War is bad, and Corpsman Leal was a Hero, and his story needs told. Thank you Brad and Debbe for letting me tell how I came to know Corpsman Armando Leal, he gave his life for "His" Marines. 
Ray Harton, Cpl. USMC Ret.
Saturday, October 21, 2000

Name of Award
Navy Cross

Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Hospitalman Third Class [then Hospitalman] Armando Garza Leal, Jr. (NSN: B-704027), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on 4 September 1967 while serving as Corpsman with the Second Platoon, Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam. During Operation SWIFT, the Second Platoon was providing security for the Battalion Command Group when the platoon came under heavy enemy fire. Petty Officer Leal ran through the fire-swept area, and began administering first aid to several casualties who were directly exposed to grazing fire. Although constantly exposed to heavy fire, and painfully wounded himself, he rendered aid for two hours to wounded Marines who were located between friendly and enemy lines. He refused to be evacuated in order that he might continue his mission of mercy. While treating his comrades and moving them to protected areas, Petty Officer Leal was severely wounded for a second time and, despite being immobilized, calmly continued to aid his wounded comrades. A Marine tried to drag him to a covered position, but was shot in the hand and, at that time, Petty Officer Leal received a third wound. Petty Officer Leal pushed the Marine and told him to take cover from the assaulting enemy whom they both could see. Suddenly a North Vietnamese soldier fired a machine gun from close range, mortally wounding Petty Officer Leal. Through his swift actions and professional skill in aiding and protecting the wounded, he significantly eased the suffering and undoubtedly saved the lives of several of his comrades. His exceptional courage and unfaltering dedication to duty in the face of great personal risk were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals 
Action Date: 4-Sep-67
Service: Navy
Rank: Hospitalman Third Class
Company: Corpsman (Attached), Company M
Battalion: 3d Battalion
Regiment: 5th Marines
Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
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