November 10, 2022
The Red Cross Movement was born on the battlefield from a need to support soldiers wounded in combat. Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, first service was aiding and assisting Civil War soldiers. Our mission has grown to include families and veterans. Andres Alonso is one such veteran.
Andres was born in Puerto Rico. When he was 5 years old his parents divorced so his mother moved to New York to find a job. Andres stayed behind and lived with his mother’s family in Puerto Rico. When Andres was 9 years old, she called for Andres to join her in New York. He quickly adapted to life in the US. He enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 17 in the spring of 1965 just as the Vietnam War was intensifying.
His first stop was Boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, then to Okinawa for infantry training and finally to the war in Vietnam. From January-November 1967 he took part in many combat operations such as Operation Deckhouse Five, Operation Prairie, Operation Hickory, Operation Hastings, and Operation Buffalo. During his time in Vietnam, he was constantly in the field on sweeps, search and destroy missions or major operations. He lost many friends and fellow Marines in combat and was himself wounded several times. Repeatedly he risked his life to help save his fellow comrades. In another battle their position was overrun by NVA. His battalion earned the name "The Walking Dead" for its high casualty rate. The battalion endured the longest sustained combat and suffered the highest killed in action rate in Marine Corps history, especially during the Battle of July Two and Operation Buffalo. Following his 4 years in the Marines he became a Highway Patrol Officer and remained in law enforcement as a detective and a state narcotics undercover officer until he retired from law enforcement in 2001. Based on his experiences in Vietnam and in law enforcement his advice is to always live life to the fullest.
For 18 years we have honored Hometown Heroes in our community who have stepped up when there was a need and a call for help. Do you know someone like that? A local hero, someone who provided first-aid, saved a drowning person or even helped someone a burning car?
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/LA or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA.
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