Chamoru Vietnam veterans honored by Legislature

By On June 11, 2018

Chamoru Vietnam veterans honored by Legislature

Chamoru Vietnam veterans honored by LegislatureCLOSE

Sgt. Maj, Juan Blaz speaks about the legislative resolution he received for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War on June 11, 2018.

Six Chamoru Vietnam veterans were honored by the Guam Legislature Monday for their heroic actions during the war, which earned them the Distinguished Service Cross.

The two living veterans received their legislative resolutions while family and friends of the four other soldiers received them in their honor.

More: Lawmakers to recognize 6 Guam heroes from Vietnam War

More: Guam remembers its fallen heroes on Memorial Day

The six Guam soldiers who received the Distinguished Service Cross for their service in Vietnam are: Staff Sgt. Enrique C. Cruz ; Specialist Fourth Class Joseph M. Perez; Sgt. 1st Class Vicente T. Dydasco; Staff Sgt. Tomas G. Reyes; Sgt. Maj. Juan O. Blaz; and Command Sgt. Maj. Martin A. Manglona.

The men could receive the nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, after a provision of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Department of Defense to review the cases of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who earned the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross and Navy Cross during the Korean and Vietnam Wars to determine if their heroic acts merit an upgrade.

Medal for Chamorus not recognized

Blaz on Monday said his medal is for all the Chamorus that were never recognized for their service.

He said the Chamorus who died during the war deserved to be honored as well.

"It's an awful lot of Chamorus that shed their blood on that soil," he said.

Blaz said he is lucky to still be alive and he counts his blessings.

Fa mily and friends of the six men were called one by one to receive the legislative resolutions while senators read aloud the descriptions of their heroic actions.

'Forever be remembered as heroes'

Chaplain Anthony Quenga from the Vietnam Veterans of America, Guam Chapter 668, said he is proud of the men and what they did.

Thousands of men from Guam went to Vietnam, and 77 died in combat, and Quenga said those men are the reason people still enjoy their freedom today.

(Story continues below photos)

Six Vietnam Veterans honored for heroic actions Fullscreen

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Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans, some represented by family and friends, were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions during the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. Fullscreen Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Manglona receives a legislative resolution. Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions during the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. Fullscreen Sgt. Maj. Juan Blaz receives a legislative resolution. Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions during the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. Fullscreen The family of Specialist Fourth Class Joseph Perez receives a legislative resolution in his honor. Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions during the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. Fullscreen The family of Staff Sgt. Enrique Cruz receives a legislative resolution in his honor. Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions during the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. Fullscreen The family of Staff Sgt. Tomas Reyes receives a legislative resolution in his honor. Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions during the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. Fullscreen The family of Sgt. First Class Vicente Dydasco receives a legislative resolution in his honor. Six Chamoru Vietnam War veterans were given legislative resolutions in honor of their heroic actions du ring the war and for receiving the Distinguished Service Cross Award on June 11, 2018. FullscreenReplay
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Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje, D-Yona, who organized the resolution presentation, and who sponsored the resolutions, said it was an honor to recognize the men for their actions.

The freshman senator said it has been one of the most meaningful endeavors she's had in her short time in office.

"We memorialize your stories as part of the history and the identity of the Chamoru people of the Marianas. May you forever be remembered as heroes and continue to inspire courage for all generations," Terlaje said.

No guarantees for medal upgrade

Retired Marine Col. Joaquin “Danny” Santos, who has been working with Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo’s office to get an official review of the medals awarded, said he hopes the six men will be given the highest honor.

Bordallo has said while there are no guarantees the individual awards will be upgraded to Medals of Honor, the push for a review is "an important step for ensuring Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are appropriately recognized for their service."

Although he is a retired Marine, Santos said he took an interest in the medals issued to Army soldiers from Guam because similar reviews had been mandated in past defense budgets, but none for Pacific islanders.

'They put their lives on the line'

He said, during war, foxholes are not segregated by the color of your skin, and the Chamorus who fought embodied this spirit.

"They placed their lives on the line above the call of duty. They all displayed uncommon valor in the execution of their duties," Santos said.

He said the island should remember them and thank them for thei r service.

Santos has said an initial review of the medals has been completed, and the information was presented to a senior Army review board to decide whether the medals should be upgraded.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/2018/06/11/chamoru-vietnam-veterans-honored-legislature/689677002/Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam

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