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Hull Number: DDG-66

Launch Date: 02/18/1995

Commissioned Date: 10/12/1996





Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1980)

Sergeant Alfredo C. Gonzalez, USMC (1946-1968). Alfredo “Freddy” Gonzalez was born on 23 May 1946 in Edinburg, Texas. After graduating from Edinburg High School he enlisted in the Marine Corps in the summer of 1965 and was sent to Vietnam where he completed one tour of duty and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (SGT). Gonzalez returned to Vietnam for a second tour as platoon sergeant, 3rd Platoon, Company A, First Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment where, on 31 January 1968, Gonzalez’ unit participated in the initial phase of the Battle of Hue, the American effort to retake Vietnam’s ancient imperial capital which had been overrun by North Vietnamese forces during the Tet Offensive. After providing cover fire for American tanks crossing the Loi Nong River and executing a search and destroy mission near Highway 1, the company experienced heavy fire from enemy automatic weapons and rockets. SGT Gonzalez received fragmentation wounds as he ran through withering enemy fire to rescue an injured marine lying in the open field. When a medic offered to treat his wounds, Gonzalez responded, “I have to keep the guys moving, or we’ll never get out of here.” Despite the injury, he led his platoon to a position behind a dike on the edge of a rice paddy where his men were protected from enemy fire and had a clear line of fire to the enemy positions. To take the heat off his comrades, Gonzalez ordered them to put covering fire on a bunker to the west of their position while he took off toward the emplacement. With complete disregard for his own well-being, Gonzalez single-handedly neutralized the bunker using four hand grenades. On 3 February, he was wounded once more, this time by enemy sixty millimeter mortar fire to both arms and his left leg, but again he disregarded medical attention, preferring to lead his platoon into battle. On 4 February, Gonzalez’ platoon was in the point position when a firefight commenced in the vicinity of Hue’s Jeanne d’Arc school. The numerically superior enemy again kept the platoon pinned down while maintaining an intense fire on Gonzalez’ position and threatening to push the platoon back. Once more, at the risk of his own life, Gonzalez moved from position to position, all the while firing rounds at various enemy positions. He silenced much of the enemy fire and knocked out a rocket position before falling mortally wounded. As the medic administered to the dying sergeant, Gonzalez could only think of his men’s safety, pleading, “Doc, keep those men firing, it’s their only chance.” He was twenty two years old. For his “great courage, and dynamic leadership” in the line of duty, SGT Gonzalez was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

USS GONZALEZ DDG-66 Ship History