LeRoy F. Arellano (1968/06/22)
Sergeant Arellano extended his tour in Vietnam at the cost of his life.
LeRoy Fred Arellano was born on August 5, 1947, in Ely, Nevada. His mother's name was Lucy Arellano. Joining him in the family were his brothers Richard and Robert and his sister, Barbara. He spent his formative years in Ely, where he completed elementary school and entered high school. In 1964 the Arellano family moved to Santa Cruz and LeRoy transferred into Santa Cruz High School. He only attended classes at SCHS for about a year.
In 1965 LeRoy Arellano enlisted in the US Army. Following his basic and advanced individual training, he served tours of duty in Germany and Korea. In 1967 he received orders assigning him to Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division serving in the Bong Song Plain of Binh Dinh Province of Vietnam.
Arellano arrived in Vietnam on May 17, 1967, and joined his regiment that was engaged in Operation Pershing. When the Tet New Year Offensive began, the 12th Cavalry Regiment moved to Quang Tri Province in the northern sector of South Vietnam. The regimental history of the 12th Cavalry chronicles the period of Arellano's service with it in Vietnam.
“On April 19 1968, Operation Delaware was launched into the cloud shrouded A Shau Valley, near the Laotian border and 34 kilometers west of Hue. None of the Free World Forces had been in the valley since 1966, which was now being used as a way station on the supply route known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The first engagement was made by the 1st and 3rd Brigades. Under fire from mobile, 37mm cannon and 0.50 caliber machine guns, they secured several landing zones. For the next month the brigades scoured the valley floor, clashing with enemy units and uncovering huge enemy caches of food, arms, ammunition, rockets, and Russian made tank and bulldozers.”
During the first quarter of 1968, Arellano made the fateful decision to extend his Vietnam tour for an additional twelve months. On June 22, 1968, while wrap-up operations were still underway, Sergeant LeRoy Fred Arellano was killed in action. His body was returned to Santa Cruz and buried in Holy Cross Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart in military ceremonies conducted at Fort Ord on February 13, 1969.
(VVMW; SCSn June 28, 1968 1:1, February 13, 1969 22:2; First Team. US, 12th Cavalry Division History, http://www.first-team.us/journals/12thrgmt/12_ndx05.html, [16 September 2008])