The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
PRIVATE HECTOR A. CAFFERATA, JR.
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. When all the other members of his fire team became casualties, creating a gap in the lines, during the initial phase of a vicious attack launched by a fanatical enemy of regimental strength against his company’s hill position, Pvt. Cafferata waged a lone battle with grenades and rifle fire as the attack gained momentum and the enemy threatened penetration through the gap and endangered the integrity of the entire defensive perimeter. Making a target of himself under the devastating fire from automatic weapons, rifles, grenades, and mortars, he maneuvered up and down the line and delivered accurate and effective fire against the onrushing force, killing 15, wounding many more, and forcing the others to withdraw so that reinforcements could move up and consolidate the position. Again fighting desperately against a renewed onslaught later that same morning when a hostile grenade landed in a shallow entrenchment occupied by wounded marines, Pvt. Cafferata rushed into the gully under heavy fire, seized the deadly missile in his right hand and hurled it free of his comrades before it detonated, severing part of 1 finger and seriously wounding him in the right hand and arm. Courageously ignoring the intense pain, he staunchly fought on until he was struck by a sniper’s bullet and forced to submit to evacuation for medical treatment Stouthearted and indomitable, Pvt. Cafferata, by his fortitude, great personal valor, and dauntless perseverance in the face of almost certain death, saved the lives of several of his fellow marines and contributed essentially to the success achieved by his company in maintaining its defensive position against tremendous odds. His extraordinary heroism throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Born: 4 Nov. 1929, New York, N.Y…. Unit: Company F, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.)… Enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1948… Officers reportedly counted over 100 enemy bodies surrounding Cafferata’s position following the battle, but felt no one would believe them, so they left it out of their report… Also awarded the Purple Heart... Placed on retired list in 1951… Decorated by Pres. Harry S. Truman at the White House on Nov. 24, 1952