History Wars Vietnam War

MoH Monday: Army Specialist Leonard Alvarado

Specialist Leonard Louis Alvarado was a member of the U.S. Army, who received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War.
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leonard alvarado medal of honor
Army Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Kincaid holds up Lenora Alvarado so that she may touch the name of her father, Medal of Honor recipient Army Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2014. (Department of Defense photo by EJ Hersom)

Specialist Leonard Louis Alvarado was a member of the U.S. Army, who received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War.


Leonard Louis Alvarado was a United States Army Soldier who bravely served his country during the Vietnam War. Born in 1947 in Bakersfield, California, Alvarado joined the Army in 1968. Shortly after, he joined Company D, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

During his service, he demonstrated extraordinary courage and heroism. This earned him the Medal of Honor for his actions during a fierce battle in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam, on August 12, 1969.

Medal of Honor Action

In 1969, Leonard Louis Alvarado embarked on a mission to Phuoc Long Province in Vietnam. He left behind his wife and daughter during his deployment. On August 12, Alvarado and his unit were ambushed by insurgents.

With his trained eye, Alvarado spotted the enemy lurking in the dense trees. Knowing they had to act fast, he quickly fired his rifle, hoping to prevent an attack. Despite their best efforts, the insurgents outmaneuvered them. They blocked their escape route and forced them into a storm of machine-gun fire. Without hesitation, Alvarado charged into the fray, gunning down the enemy snipers one by one. But as he lunged forward, a grenade exploded, momentarily stunning him.

Quickly regaining his senses, Alvarado took down the grenadier. Sniper fire injured him. As he lay on the ground, wounded and bleeding, he noticed his fellow Soldiers were also injured and in danger. Despite his own perilous condition, Alvarado crawled through the dense weeds, pulling several of his comrades to safety. Then, he charged forward again, firing relentlessly at the enemy snipers, causing them to retreat temporarily. Although Alvarado ultimately succumbed to his injuries, he managed to save the lives of his fellow soldiers with his masterful rifle skills and quick thinking.

leonard alvarado vietnam
Leonard Alvarado (Courtesy Photo / DVIDS)

Award Ceremony

On March 18, 2014, during a special ceremony at the White House, President Barack Obama presented Alvarado’s daughter Leonora with his Medal of Honor. Alvarado is also a posthumous recipient of Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, and Purple Heart.

Alvarado repeatedly put himself in danger to rescue members of his unit. His actions resulted in single-handedly destroying an enemy machine-gun emplacement. His selflessness and unwavering dedication to his fellow soldiers serve as a testament to his character and bravery.