b. 09/06/1923 Pacioma, California. d. 25/04/1945 Luzon, Philippines.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 25/04/1945 Luzon, Philippines.
Gonzales was a semi-skilled machine shop worker in Los Angeles when he joined the U.S. Army in San Pedro, California in March 1944. On April 25, 1945, Gonzales' company found itself engaged in combat against Japanese forces at Villa Verde Trail on Luzon island in the Philippines. The Army Air Corps was using a tactic called "skip bombing" and were fusing the bombs for delayed action detonation to destroy the labyrinth of Japanese caves and tunnels in the northern Luzon campaign. This fusing allowed the bomb to bury itself deeply into the ground prior to detonation. This event trapped five American soldiers in their standing foxholes.
On December 8, 1945, President Harry S. Truman, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Gonzales, presenting the medal to his surviving family. On February 2, 1949, Gonzales' body arrived in a funeral train to San Fernando, California where he was buried.
He was pinned down with his company. As enemy fire swept the area, making any movement extremely hazardous, a 500-pound bomb smashed into the company's perimeter, burying 5 men with its explosion. Pfc. Gonzales, without hesitation, seized an entrenching tool and under a hail of fire crawled 15 yards to his entombed comrades, where his commanding officer, who had also rushed forward, was beginning to dig the men out. Nearing his goal, he saw the officer struck and instantly killed by machinegun fire. Undismayed, he set to work swiftly and surely with his hands and the entrenching tool while enemy sniper and machinegun bullets struck all about him. He succeeded in digging one of the men out of the pile of rock and sand. To dig faster he stood up regardless of the greater danger from so exposing himself. He extricated a second man, and then another. As he completed the liberation of the third, he was hit and mortally wounded, but the comrades for whom he so gallantly gave his life were safely evacuated. Pfc. Gonzales' valiant and intrepid conduct exemplifies the highest tradition of the military service.
BURIAL LOCATION: CALVARY CEMETERY, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.