WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce had the honor of presenting two veterans, Mr. Frank Mantua and Mr. George Gay (deceased) with medals. Mr. Mantua served in Vietnam and Mr. Gay served in World War II.
The presentation took place May 25 at the Vietnam Memorial in Las Cruces’s Veteran’s Memorial Park.
“Our military men and women selflessly risk their lives so that we can afford the freedoms and liberties each of us hold dear,” Pearce said. “Unfortunately, I know all too well that previous generations of military personnel were not given the respect they deserved. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to celebrate and recognize 1LT Mantua and PFC Gay today. The United States has a renewed appreciation for the men and women who served in the armed forces. Let us never again return to a time when we as a nation do not recognize the members of our military for all they do.”
Mr. Hubert Gay, son of George Gay, accepted his father’s medals. Below are backgrounds on both Mr. Mantua and Mr. Gay, as well as a list of medals they received today.
FIRST LIEUTENANT FRANCISCO M. MANTUA
COMPANY D, 16th ARMOR, 173d AIRBORNE BRIGADE
For Gallantry in Action: while serving as a Platoon Leader during the battle of Tuy Hoa, Republic of Vietnam on 4 March 1968. On that day, First Lieutenant Mantua’s heroism and leadership were critical as Company D smashed two enemy battalions in an all-day battle that saved several key American and South Vietnamese installations from being overrun. Although wounded, he led his platoon in three separate assaults. Numerous times he provided cover fire while company elements made important tactical adjustments under withering enemy fire. First Lieutenant Mantua led a few volunteers in a daring attack with small arms and hand grenades. He continued to lead his platoon until the Company Commander ordered him to accept evacuation for his wounds after the company was no longer engaged. First Lieutenant Mantua’s extraordinary bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflects great credit upon him, the 173rd Airborne Brigade United States Army.
The Silver Star & Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS GEORGE H. GAY
COMPANY A, 1st BATTALION, 30th INFANTRY REGIMENT
For meritorious service in active ground combat against the enemy, on 22 January 1944, while serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, in support of the European Theater of Operations. Private First Class Gay’s exemplary performance of duty in active ground combat was in keeping with the finest traditions of military service.
Bronze Star Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal & Bronze Star Attachment (Quadruple) & Arrowhead