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The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Nicholas Hernandez (481738), Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving as a Squad Leader of Company H, Third Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 7 and 8 March 1945. Ordered to attack an enemy strong point which had inflicted heavy casualties upon his own and an adjacent platoon, Corporal Hernandez skillfully deployed his squad to return the vicious enemy fire and personally scouted the hostile positions to learn the nature of the Japanese defenses. Requesting and receiving a half- track, he fearlessly exposed himself to the enemy’s small-arms and hand grenade barrage as he staunchly directed the vehicle’s fire at point blank range in the destruction of three automatic weapons and, when two Japanese suicide-assault soldiers ran from a spider trap in an attempt to plant a magnetic mine on the side of the half-track, Corporal Hernandez instantly shot and wounded one and killed the other with an accurately aimed hand grenade. Undeterred by two enemy bullets which pierced his helmet, he continued to press the attack and succeeded in removing a menace which had checked the advance of the entire company for four days. Instantly killed by Japanese small-arms fire, Corporal Hernandez, by his outstanding tactical skill, valiant leadership and indomitable devotion to duty in the face of great odds, had contributed essentially to the success of his battalion’s operations in this area, and his conduct throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Born: at El Paso, Texas



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