Joseph Ledesma ’65

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Joseph Ledesma
Ledesma medals

Joseph Ledesma
PFC, Army

Joseph Ledesma

Joe was the second Bruin lost in ground combat during the Vietnam era.  He was also the first member of my class to be lost. He was both a classmate and a friend and a wonderful person to be around.  As of this date, I haven’t been able to find too much information about what was happening in Quang Ngai providence during this period.  I was able to locate the citation for his Bronze Star (the Bronze Star with Combat “V” is the fourth highest award for valor).

Bronze Star Citation

“For Heroism in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On May 20, 1967 Specialist Four Ledesma distinguished himself while serving as a Fire Team Leader in Company C, 2d Batallion, 35th Infantry, which was conducting a search and destroy operation near Duc Pho. The company was engaged by a numerically superior enemy force deployed in defensive trenches and bunkers. Specialist Four Ledesma’s Platoon had maneuvered to within a few meters of the enemy lines when it’s advance was halted by intense small arms and automatic weapons fire. 

Undaunted by this, Specialist Four Ledesma crawled to within six feet of an enemy automatic weapon position and attempted to destroy it with rifle fire and grenades. Firing from a completely exposed position, he suppressed the enemy fire enough to allow his platoon members to advance and close with the enemy. As the machine gunner of the platoon began maneuvering forward Specialist Four Ledesma moved to his side to provide better protective fire but was mortally wounded in this heroic act. 

Specialist Four Ledesma’s courageous and self-sacrificing actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”

Personal Data

Home of Record:   San Jose, CA

Date of Birth:         01/15/1947

Military Data

Service Branch:    Army of the United States

Grade at Loss:        E3

Rank:                      Private First Class

MOS:                        11B10:  Infantryman

Unit:                        C  Company, 2nd BN, 35th Infantry, 25th Inf Div, USARV

Casualty Data

Start Tour:             12/14/1966

Incident Date:       05/20/1967

Casualty Date:       05/20/1967

Age at Loss:            20

Location:                Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam

Casualty Type:      Hostile, died outright

Casualty Reason:  Ground Casualty

Casualty Detail:    Gun or small arm fire

On the Wall:             Panel 20E   Line 62