Rank / Branch:
SGT- E5 U.S. ARMY
FIRST CAVALRY DIVISI
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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AGUSTIN PAREDEZ, SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, BIG SPRING, HOWARD COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachute Wings, Bronze Star with "V" device, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Agustin was born and raised in Big Spring, Texas. He was born to Antonlina Chavez and Benito Paredez. He attended Big Spring schools, last attending Big Spring High School. He enlisted in the Army in 1961. He was making a career in the Army. He had completed parachute training and was trained as an infantryman. He had served three and 1/2 years in Germany and had married a German national, Gerlinda Paradez. They were the parents of a son, Mike.
Agustin after Training 1961
In early 1965, Agustin was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia with C Company, 2n Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, (Garry Owens-Custer's old regiment). The regiment had been under operational control of the 3rd Division. The regiment was redesignated and reassigned to the First Cavalary Division as the Air Cav Regiment. This was a new concept in the U.S. Army where helicopters would be used to rapidly deploy troops to the battlefield. The 7th Regiment deployed to Vietnam and joined the 1st Cavalry Division, other infantry regiments of the First Cavalry Division had departed duty in Korea. This was in July 1965. Agustin's company arrived in Vietnam on September 12, 1965. The regiment was operating around the area of Pleiku.
PFC Paradez-Germany 1962
In the middle of November, 1965, elements of the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cav were called in as re-inforcements to aid the 1st Battalion of the 1st Cav, who had been engaging several divisions of the PAVN in the Ia Drang Valley. This was the first major engagment in the Vietnam War where U.S. Troops actually engaged the hard core elements of the People's Army of North Vietnam. The First Battalion of the 7th Cavalry had engaged the enemy for three days at an area known as LZ X-Ray. They suffered many casualities and inflicted huge losses to the PAVN.
Agustin was a squad leader with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry and they arrived at LZ X-ray late in the afternoon of the 16th of November 1965. They were involved in intense fight that afternnoon and through the night. On November 17, 1965, the enemy withdrew from the field and all remaining U.S. Troops around X-ray were lifted out. However, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry began to move across country by foot to link up at another Landing Zone to be lifted out of the area. The area of LZ X-ray was scheduled to be carpet bombed that day. The troops had been up for the better part of three days and were moving in battalion formation overland to a LZ about four miles away. There were four companies of the 2nd Battalion and one company of the 5th Cavalry in the movement. Around noon time, the lead elements of "A" company entered an area known as LZ Albany. This was the site to where the 2nd Battalion and the rear element of the 5th were to be helicoptered out. Scouts of "A" Company jumped two PAVN soldiers who told them that they were deserters. The movement stopped and the battalion was spread over an area of about 500 yards behind. The battalion commander went forward to question the PAVN soldiers. All elements stopped in place to rest and wait further instructions. All company commanders were called forward for a briefing by the battalion CO.
Within a time frame of about 30 minutes, PAVN regulars from two suspected PAVN divisions began to engage all the elements of the U.S. Troops of the battalion movement. A carnage began. "C" Company was in the center of the movement and they became the area of concentration for the PAVN army. Soldiers were caught unaware and the slaughter began. Over the next 24 hours, "C" Company took 93% casualities. The next day only 12 of the original company of 140 personnel were fit for duty. Sgt Paredez was known to have survived the initial contact and was instrutmental in establishing a defense. His citation for the Bronze Star for Valor states, "Sgt Paredez was responsible for rebelling numerous attacks of the PAVN, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire until he was mortally wounded. Sgt Paradez courageous action reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army." He was killed either by a mortar round or by an enemy grenade, his body was found with multiple fragment wounds. His body was located the next day as the battlefield was policed up.
This battle has been chronicled many times, most recently in the book, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young," by LtG Hal Wallace and Joe Galloway. The movie "We Were Soldiers" from the book really does not tell the story of LZ Albany.
Mount Olive Cemetery, Big Spring, Texas
Jack P. Smith recently deceased and a former ABC news anchor and the son of Harold K. Smith, gives prospective of the battle from someone who was there and survived. He was a PFC in Company C of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry during the battle.
Sgt Paredez was buried with full military honors in the Mount Olive Cemetery in Big Spring. He was survived by his wife, Gerlinde and his son, Mike. They returned to Germany after few months after Agustin's death. He was also survived by his parents, his brothers, Pedro, Lupe and Alfred all of Big Spring, along with his two sisters, Mrs. Simon Correa of Big Lake and Mrs. Bicento Lara of Goldsmith.
The city of Big Spring honored Sgt. Paredez Agustin by naming a street for him in 1980, "Sgt. Agustin Paredez Blvd."