Signed in as:
We The Committee to Elevate Sgt. Danny Hernandez from
Silver Star to Medal of Honor
dedicate this website to this effort
"There's a difference between action heroes in movies, and action heroes in real life. Danny is a real action hero."
"Hernandez had put his life at risk by diving through enemy fire to save a wounded marine in a machine gun kill-zone. He then carried the marine to safety, and refused to be evacuated even after being hit in the back by enemy fire."
"He saved the lives of all us marines. He did it under heavy firepower, risking his own life so that the rest of us could live."
"It takes a pretty special person to know you have a ticket out of battle, and you still don't take it. Those men would have died had it not been for Danny."
Nov 5, 2022
Find Ryan Online:
My name is Hubert Yoshida. I was a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and was the Platoon Commander of 1st Platoon, H Company, 7th Marines during one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps History during the Vietnam War, known as Operation Utah which occurred from 4 March to 7 March 1966. I decided to write a book about this battle and during the research for this book I came across the heroic story of Pfc Danny Hernandez, who was awarded a Silver Star , 43 years after Operation Utah.
In my research I came across many heroic acts which I documented from eye witness accounts and award citations. Danny’s action stood out as particularly courageous and I began to compare it with other higher awards that were given for similar actions in other battles in Vietnam, and came to the conclusion that Danny should be qualified for the highest award, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Of all the heroic acts that I reviewed, PFC Danny Hernandez’ heroism stands out as particularly noteworthy. There were no Medals of Honor awarded during Operation Utah. There were four Navy Crosses, which ranks next to the Medal of Honor, that were awarded for the following actions during Operation Utah"
Operation Utah is not as well-known as other battles like the Tet Offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh, but it was a pivotal battle in that it was the first battle between The U.S. Marine Corps and the regular North Vietnamese forces. The task Force commanders under estimated the strength of the enemy and pitted three under-staffed Battalions against at least one regiment of North Vietnamese and a regiment of VC who were dug into extensive fortified positions. Command and communications were fragmented and supporting air and artillery had no effect on the fortified positions. It was only the heroics of individual Marines like Danny Hernandez who saved the battle. Hubert Yoshida
*Note-this is an excerpt of Mr. Yoshito's justification for medal upgrade
Silver Star AWARDED FOR ACTIONS DURING Vietnam War Service: Marine Corps Rank: Private First Class Battalion: 3d Battalion Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF GENERAL ORDERS: CITATION: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First-Class Daniel L. Hernandez (MCSN: 2135637), United States Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as a Machine Gunner with Company M, Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam, on 5 March 1966. During operation UTAH in Quang Ngai Province, M Company became heavily engaged with a North Vietnamese Army battalion located in an extensive bunker complex. Following the assault on a bunker, a badly wounded Marine was lying near an enemy position. Private First-Class Hernandez, giving no thought to his own safety, fearlessly ran across an area of heavy enemy fire, picked up the wounded Marine and carried him to safety. Although wounded in his lower back during this rescue, Private First-Class Hernandez refused evacuation, only permitting a Corpsman to bandage his wound. He then immediately resumed firing in support of the bunker assaults until he heard loud shouting from a group of wounded Marines, where he saw an enemy soldier on the opposite side of the group rapidly advancing and firing upon his injured comrades. Realizing the severely wounded Marines could not protect themselves, and that the remainder had no weapons while awaiting evacuation, Private First-Class Hernandez knew they were in mortal danger. Ignoring the pain of his wound and again giving no thought to his own personal safety, he leapt from his covered position, courageously ran through the enemy fire to the wounded Marines' location and placed himself between them and the attacking enemy soldier, thereby drawing the enemy soldier's fire away from the wounded men and onto himself. In a furious exchange of gunfire, Private First-Class Hernandez killed the enemy soldier and eliminated the threat to the wounded Marines. His immediate and fearless actions, while himself painfully wounded, undoubtedly saved many lives. Private First-Class Hernandez's courageous actions, complete disregard for his own personal safety, and total dedication to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
After careful research of news articles and accounts of other acts of valor, Sgt. Hernandez's acts of heroism match or exceed those accounts.
VIETNAM VETERAN AWARDED SILVER STAR AFTER 43 YEARS BY ESMERALDA BERMUDEZ OCT. 4, 2009
It took 43 years, but Marine Pfc. Daniel Hernandez finally got his medal. And when he did Saturday morning in Boyle Heights, the Vietnam veteran stood up straight and proudly puffed out his chest, his eyes glistening with emotion. “His immediate and fearless actions, while himself painfully wounded, undoubtedly saved many lives,” said Marine Lt. Jim Lupori, reading from the Silver Star medal citation that, because of lost paperwork, was never awarded to Hernandez by the secretary of the Navy after he left Vietnam in the late 1960s.
The four-decade wait only made the honor more meaningful to Hernandez, 63, as several hundred relatives, friends and fellow veterans gathered for a ceremony in his honor at the Hollenbeck Youth Center. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles) and a host of other state and city leaders attended. They came in support of a man they had known for decades as a community youth leader and president of the Hollenbeck Youth Center, which provides after-school programs to keep children away from gangs and drugs. Few knew Hernandez also was a war hero. “There’s a difference between action heroes in movies and action heroes in real life,” said Schwarzenegger, who has long collaborated with Hernandez on youth issues. “Danny is a real action hero.”
Hernandez was 20 when he served as a machine gunner with M Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. The company, which was among the hardest hit during the Vietnam War, lost 17 men on March 5, 1966, during Operation Utah in Quang Ngai province. That day, the citation notes, Hernandez dived through enemy fire to pick up a wounded Marine and carry him to safety. A bullet grazed his back. Still, he refused to be evacuated, and, moments later, when he saw an enemy soldier firing at a group of wounded Marines, he ran through oncoming bullets to kill the soldier and save his comrades. Another bullet later grazed his head, sending him to a hospital in Guam. During Saturday’s two-hour ceremony, Hernandez quietly looked on from the stage, now and then blushing and smiling timidly as two of his former supervisors retold the story in detail. Marines in the room, some of them former comrades who witnessed his bravery, cheered “Semper Fi!” and “Welcome home, Danny!”
Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly drove from Camp Pendleton to present the medal to Hernandez. “It takes a pretty special person to know you have a ticket out of that situation, and you still don’t take it,” he said. “Those men would have died had it not been for Danny.”
Heroic as it was, the act was not immediately recognized by the secretary of the Navy. Lupori, who was Hernandez’s commander during the battle, recommended the young man for the medal. Lupori was soon transferred to another battalion and lost contact with Hernandez, but he always assumed that Hernandez had been awarded the honor. Forty years later, Lupori found out that wasn’t the case.
By chance in 2005, another Marine brought the two men together for lunch. When Lupori congratulated Hernandez on the medal, Hernandez didn’t know anything about it. “It was then I decided to do everything in my power to get him his medal,” said Lupori, who believes the paperwork was lost in the military bureaucracy. Then retired, the lieutenant from Akron, Ohio, spent three years preparing the application. It was all the more challenging because so much time had passed. He had to track down witnesses to verify his claim and explain the delay. He flew across the United States, enlisted the help of several high-ranking political officials, scoured the Internet and made countless phone calls. Finally, earlier this year, Lupori was notified by the awards office that Hernandez’s medal was approved.
“I was elated and relieved,” he said. When Hernandez stepped behind the microphone, he thanked each of the people -- one by one -- who helped him receive the medal he now wore pinned to his black sweater. He dedicated the honor to all Marines and soldiers and the youths at Hollenbeck. “In my company,” he said. “I did not own valor. It was not exclusive to me. My company owned valor.”
We have read many citations of Medal of Honor awardees and believe that Sgt. Danny Hernandez' heroics meets or exceeds many of the Medal of Honor award citations found where the recipient sacrificed their own safety and sometimes their lives to save their fellow cosmrade. Without a doubt, his actions saved many lives while under the most dangerous and difficult conditions. He did not run from the danger, he ran towards it even while severely wounded. Indeed, while being wounded a second time and offered a ride to safety, he refused to be treated and went back into battle. Danny Hernandez’ action encompassed all the attributes of a Medal of Honor recipient and desreves to be reconsiderd for this honor.
Operation Utah is not as well-known as other battles like the Tet Offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh, however, it was a pivotal battle that placed Danny and his fellow marines up against a far more fortified regiment of North Vietnamese and a regiment of VC who were dug into extensive fortified positions. While the odds were certainly against them, these marines fought bravely. Some marines, like Sgt. Danny Herandez, went above and beyond the call of duty.
"It was only the heroics of individual Marines like Danny Hernandez who saved the battle". Hubert Yoshida
Today, the mission continues. - The Marines not only created a hero on the battlefield, but the Marine Corps also created a hero and leader in Los Angeles through Danny's creation of Inner-City Games and the Hollenbeck Youth Center about to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
Best Seller •
A product of East Los Angeles during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Danny Hernandez has to navigate a seething cauldron of poverty, gang violence, and racist cops. The charismatic eldest son of a hardworking single mother, eleven-year-old Danny is responsible for his two younger siblings and his younger cousins, in addition to having to care for his wheelchair-bound uncle Tin Tan. His male role models are his uncle Pelon, a hardened gang member, and his uncle Joe, a responsible husband and father and Korean War veteran. By the time Danny graduates high school in 1965, he must choose between the two futures represented by his two uncles: Street Warrior or Military Man. Danny chooses the Marine Corps. Danny graduates from boot camp the same year President Lyndon B. Johnson commits ground troops to Vietnam. While his cousins back home express interest in the civil rights movement, Danny loses good friends in jungle raids and skirmishes with the Viet Cong. This is a gripping, true life story, told in Danny's own words. From his training at Camp Pendleton, to his heroic actions saving the lives of his fellow marines during Operation Utah, through his honorable discharge during one of the most tumultuous years of the Civil Rights Movement, Danny's endearing, honest and sometimes heart wrenching story honors the lives of those who risked everything for their country and their fellow marines.
ORDER BY AMAZON
Please contact us with any support information you may have about the events of the battle, either directly or indirectly. If you wish to financially donate to the work of this committee and receive a signed copy of Sgt. Hernandez's book, please contact Priscilla Hernandez for more information at the email below. We are anxious to hear for you.
Danny truly deserves this special recognition.
09:00 am – 05:00 pm
Vietnam Veteran and