Guadalupe (Wally) Prado Jr
Wally's life ended around five in the afternoon of June 9, 1969. A small patrol of the elite 101st Airborne division was performing a reconnaissance in force in the A Shau Valley. Unfortunately the patrol was ambushed somewhere near the notorious Hamburger Hill.
A first burst of enemy fire tore into several of those soldiers from Company D. 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry. All were pinned down, virtually trapped in the enemy's fire. There was no way to call for help as their radio had been knocked out by the enemy... leaving the patrol in trouble.
With enemy rounds and grenades exploding all about, a solitary M-16 could be heard among the numerous AK's... and there up front, in an unprotected position, was the "Protector" - Spec. 4 Guadalupe "Wally" Prado Jr., his weapon raised, blasting away at the enemy, as he yelled at his buddies to withdraw to safety. In a continuing effort to protect his comrades, Wally took a direct hit and his resistance ended.Along with the Army Service Medals, Wally was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Mercedes Veterans War Memorial
Virtual Wall: Panel W22 Line 6
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
Home of Record Mercedes, TX
Date of birth: 06/12/1947
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Service: Army of the United States
Grade at loss: E4
Rank: Specialist Four
ID No: 54723214
MOS: 11B20: Infantryman
Length Service: 00
Unit: D CO, 2ND BN, 506TH INFANTRY, 101ST ABN DIV, USARV
Start Tour: 11/14/1968
Incident Date: 06/09/1969
Casualty Date: 06/09/1969
Age at Loss: 21
Location: Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam
Remains: Body recovered
Casualty Type: Hostile, died outright
Casualty Reason: Ground casualty
Casualty Detail: Other explosive device
Article From the Mid-Valley Town Crier, June 23, 2009
by Minerva Morato
Guadalupe Prado Jr. pictured here just out of basic training. On June 16 city officials of Mercedes voted to establish a monument in honor of Wally Prado at the Mercedes Civic Center. Courtesy Photo
This article is about what I have been trying to do for my uncle, from all the way out here in Japan. It was nice to know that someone else took this for action and is making it come a reality. To share the story of someone so courageous, and to share it with today's generation, before it is gone. This Mimi is about MY uncle...... Wally Prado.
Robert Gonzalez (Del Valle)
MERCEDES, TX — Guadalupe Prado Jr., known as Wally to his family and friends, would have turned 62 years old this month. Instead, those he left behind 40 years ago when he was killed in combat in Vietnam on June 9, 1969 are finalizing details with his hometown to commemorate his name.
On June 16, city officials voted to establish a monument in honor of Wally Prado at the Mercedes Civic Center. A committee will be appointed to organize the assignment within two weeks. City Commissioner Dianna Tovar, who will be spearheading the project, explained that while there are no specific details yet, suggestions have been introduced as to how best honor Prado. There is also a possibility, Tovar said, that Chapman Street along the civic center will be renamed Wally Prado Street.
"We're working on different sketchings at the moment to present to the council and the Prado family and see which rendition they like most," Tovar said. "We hope to accomplish this project within the next year." Attempts to pay tribute to Prado have been made in the past. Recently, a third petition was filed to rename Mile 1 Road after him. Like twice before, the petition was scrutinized when residents living along the roadway objected to the change since it would change their mailing addresses.
Abraham Flores Jr., 59, said he knew Prado since junior high school until the day he died. Flores and Ignacia Prado, the veteran's mother, filed the first petition to rename Mile 1 Road. "We were schoolmates, we were partners, we were very good friends," Flores said. "He was one of my best friends." In 2003, Flores helped organize the second petition. After it was rejected, Flores held back, not wanting to endure another struggle with the city, although he did support the third petition after it was filed.
Joe Perez, 57, was also a friend to Prado. Looking back, Perez describes him as a protector. Although he was not a physically large person, Prado was courageous, Perez said. "He was an honorable man. He was always protecting everyone around him and he did the same thing in war," Perez said. "It would be a small sacrifice to change a letterhead on an envelope considering the sacrifice Wally made."
Prado was drafted by the U.S. Army and left for Vietnam on Nov. 14, 1968. Just three days before his 22nd birthday, Prado was mortally wounded in Vietnam's A Shau Valley when he disregarded his own safety and fired upon enemy troops, protecting his fellow comrades and allowing them to take cover, according to U.S. Army records.
For his valor, Prado received the Purple Heart and, later in 1973, the Silver Star, the third-highest award for bravery in combat given by the U.S. military.
Julia Garcia, Prado's older sister, was 29 years old when her brother died. Like Perez, she recalls her brother as defender. He was protective, Garcia said, always defending those who needed it most. Garcia's mother, who helped initiate the petition to honor her son by renaming Mile 1 Road, died almost three years ago, never seeing her dream of the city recognizing him realized.
Garcia and her younger sister Bernaida McClellan of Edinburg describe the long wait as "a lack of somebody following through" but hope to see the monument for their brother built soon. "We want to be around when it happens and not have to wait 10, 15, or 20 years," said McClellan. Garcia and McClellan, though, are ultimately pleased with the outcome.
"We wanted to get to the bottom of this and find out what the Prado family wanted for their loved one," Tovar said. "After meeting with them, that's what they agreed upon." The generation from that era will soon be gone, Perez said, and it is significant that Prado is not forgotten. "We have to honor the people that paid the ultimate sacrifice. They sacrificed their lives," Perez said. "The only thing we can do is honor their memory."
On behalf of the city, Tovar agreed. "I couldn't tell you about past commissions and why it was not passed, but I can tell you our commission is very proactive," Tovar said. "This commission is dedicated to honoring Mr. Wally Prado and other veterans."
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Notice: I never knew Wally, but I "met" him through his sister Esmeralda. I carried the memories I learned of him when I was later in the Army and deployed to the middle east, and I still think of him with fondness to this day. He was and is a true hero and he is one man I will seek out when I reach heaven so I can thank him for his amazing love and sacrifice for those he held dear. -- Ron
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