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Combat Story

Nov 5, 2022

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Today we hear the Combat Story of Danny Hernandez, a Vietnam Veteran who served as a Marine rifleman in Operation Utah in March 1966. Danny would later be awarded the Silver Star and there is currently a push to have that upgraded to a Medal of Honor.

Danny came from the rough streets of East LA and after Vietnam would return to be a committed community activist and mentor for many of the kids who were not as fortunate as he was. 

The Silver Star was certainly earned as Danny was shot twice while providing medical aid to a stranded and wounded Marine on the battlefield; refusing to be evacuated, and killing several enemy soldiers as they flanked the casualty collection point that Danny had just been sitting in. 

Danny’s work on mentoring and building the community in his hometown is inspiring and you can’t help but laugh as you hear some of the stories of the Marine Corps back in the Vietnam era. 

His story is documented in his book, titled “Silver Star: An American Story” in much greater detail for those who are left wanting more. 

Find Danny Online: 

-Book: Silver Star: An American Story

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Show Notes:

  • 0:00 - Intro 
  • 0:58 - Guest Introduction (Danny Hernandez) 
  • 2:12 - Interview begins 
  • 2:58 -  Growing up on the streets and early interest in joining the Marines 
  • 12:04 -  What Marine Corps boot camp was like in 1965 
  • 25:46 - Combat Story - Vietnam War - Movement into country and the amphibious landing 
  • 30:05 - First time in battle the first night they were there 
  • 33:35 - The brutal environment of Vietnam 
  • 35:48 - First 45 days of battles and the brotherhood fighting for each other 
  • 38:48 - How the streets made him sharper in battle 
  • 40:44 - Combat Story - Operation Utah - the 2nd largest battle in Vietnam history by Marines
  • 1:02:00 - Wounded and tagged to get out but went back into battle anyway
  • 1:09:31 -  Getting shot again, flown out for medical care, and adjusting to not being in combat 
  • 1:23:20 - Receiving a Silver Star 43 years later 
  • 1:30:33 - How influential was Vietnam in your work later in the community? 
  • 1:32:28 - About Danny's books "Silver Star: An American Story" and the new one "Chaos to Community"  
  • 1:33:09 - Listener comments and shout outs 

This video covers the following subjects:

  • - Marine Corps Silver Star Recipient
  • - Operation Utah
  • - Vietnam Veteran
  • - Danny Hernandez

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.

If you would like to learn more about Marine Corps Silver Star Recipient, Danny Hernandez I suggest you look into our various other video clips:


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