Hildefonso M. Ramirez (1969/01/31)
"This man was a very gentle man. His sense of humor kept our hearts light when they would otherwise be very heavy," recalled Michael Siddall.
Hildefonso M. Ramirez was born on June 28, 1942, in Big Springs, Texas, to Mr. and Mrs. Federico Ramirez. The couple later divorced and his mother and her children moved to Watsonville, California. There she married A. P. Asunsion and the family grew to include four boys and five girls. Hilde, as he was called, attended local schools and in 1956 entered Watsonville High School. In high school he was described by one of his teachers as "a very likeable boy--who gets along in a group. He has ability." Hilde was also remembered for his skill on the football field.
After his graduation in 1960, he was hired by the Bud Antle produce-distributing company in Salinas, California. In 1962 Hilde became a father with the birth of his daughter Lisa; however, the name of his wife has not been found. Two years later a second daughter, Gina, was born.
Ramirez was inducted into the US Army on January 18, 1964. Fort Lewis, Washington, provided Private Ramirez with his basic training followed by an advanced individual training course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, that qualified him as a cannoneer. After a short leave spent at home, he was ordered to Vietnam.
When Hildefonso Ramirez arrived in Vietnam on July 26, 1968, he was assigned to Battery D, 3rd Battalion, 319th Artillery Regiment of the 173rd Airborne Division station, northwest of Saigon. Later in the year he became the recipient of the Bronze Star for exposing himself to enemy fire when calling in artillery strikes.
In January 1969 Ramirez was awarded the Silver Star for action that led to his death. The citation accompanying the award read:
”On January 31, 1969 Private Ramirez's company came in contact with an entrenched element of North Vietnamese. An enemy sniper remained in the trench, providing cover for his withdrawing element. After a member of his platoon was wounded by the sniper, Private Ramirez was among those who rose through the intense fire to attack the position. He continually exposed himself in the advance, engaging the enemy with rifle and hand grenade fire. His actions encouraged others in the unit, and the position was overrun. Immediately after crossing the objective, two members of the company were again pinned down. Private Ramirez, oblivious to the intensity of the enemy fire, exposed himself to lay down a heavy base of fire. Disregarding a wound in his leg, Private Ramirez advanced to a better vantage point and continued to fire on the enemy, allowing a rescue force to come to the aid of the entrapped men. At this time Private Ramirez was wounded in the chest. He told the medic coming to his aid to stay back because of the danger, then died of his wounds. Private Ramirez's actions were an inspiration to all who fought beside him.”
Ramirez' body was returned to Watsonville and buried in Pajaro Valley Memorial Park.
(VVMW; VVVW; WHSM; WRP February 7, 1969 2:3, February 17, 1969 2:2)