The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Wilfredo Mercado-Santos, who died in the service of his country on April 11th, 1967 in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Misadventure, Friendly Fire (Artillery). At the time of his death Wilfredo was 22 years of age. He was from New York, New York. Wilfredo is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 18E, Line 16.
The decorations earned by PFC Wilfredo Mercado-Santos include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
Very Close Friend
4530 Murdock Avenue
Bronx, NY 10466 USA
A Blast From The Past
My name is Isabel Rivera, I lived at the time I knew Wilfredo Mercado nickname Freddy, 1045 Hoe Avenue apt. 5A, Bronx, NY 10459. This building does not exist any more. I met Freddy thru his family that I already knew, his Aunt Blanca and Uncle Victor which we knew him as Vitin, they lived on the 3rd floor apt 3B. Freddy (Wilfredo) family lived in the building next to mine. He was a very tall thin Latin, very good looking, back in that time the ladies went gagaga over him. His mother name was Ann Colon, his stepfather was Raymond, and he had a brother named Joe which everyone called Lil Joe. He also had another brother on his father's side named Victor, we use to call him ojos de breca, because he had those big bulging eyes. Freddy was the new kid on the Hoe Avenue block, his mother Ana had sent for him from Puerto Rico, he was living with his dad at the time, and once Freddy came to live with his mother, stepfather and brother Lil Joe. Of course I was already a very close friend of his family, Freddy and his brother Lil Joe formed a social club called the Legends. They had sweaters the color of burgundy with a white strip and the L on it that stood for the Legends. I used to have a crush on him, but than he turn out to be like a brother to me. Everyone knew me as Chabela. We used to have so much fun, we use to sit on the stoop and listen to the Oldies, and sometime we would also harmonized to some songs, we also used to have block parties, those were the lazy hazy days of summer. Until the Nam War started. It seems all of my childhood friend died in that war. Freddy was Drafted but before he went into the service he married this very tall girl with fair skin and very thin her name was Doris. I went to their engagement and wedding. Doris was pregnant Freddy never got to see his son whom Doris named Wilfredo Jr. Writing this down on his page brings me so many memories of that era, where we had so much fun growing up. This was like a Blast From The Past for me, it made me so sad to have to write all and remember Freddy, one day I will see you again. May you always be in the minds of those you left behind, because you will always be a part of my past. This is for Freddy, hey Freddy many moons later I happened to bump into Doris, and I just went over to her and asked her are you Doris the one that was married to A Wilfredo Mercado many moons ago, and she did remember me, and I gave her my address, and she had her son and your Wilfredo Jr. come and see me. Oh my I cried because I thought i was seeing you back in our time, he looks just like you, I told him all I knew about you, but after that I never saw them again. Rest In Peace Chabela
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Wilfredo is buried in the St. Raymonds Cemetery, 1201 Balcom St., Bronx, New York City.
(His Bronze Star Citation)
Bronze Star Medal
For meritorious service in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Private First Class Mercado-Santos served admirably as an Infantryman in A, 2/35th Infantry. His enthusiasm and natural talent for infantry tactics were noted even as early as his initial training in replacement centers. Upon his arrival at his permanent unit, he was assigned the duty of ammunition bearer in a machine gun team in which capacity he performed his duties admirably. His ability and enduring efforts were noticed by his superiors and other team members, and earned him a position as an assistant machine gunner in only a few days. His exemplary performance on the battlefield ended on 11 April 1967 when he was mortally wounded. Private First Class Mercado-Santos's application to duty and outstanding performance are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
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