Esiquio Airnaldo CantuPrivate First Class
C CO, 1ST BN, 28TH INFANTRY, 1 INF DIV
Army of the United States
14 May 1947 - 26 March 1967
Panel 17E Line 049
The database page for Esiquio Airnaldo Cantu
Esiquio A. Cantu, of First Street in Bono, Ohio, was known to his family and friends as "Arnie". Private First Class Cantu was a soldier in Company C, 1st Battalion, of the 28th Infantry Regiment, of the 1st Infantry Division. He died on 26 March 1967, after stepping on a land mine in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam.
Arnie Cantu is perhaps best remembered by another soldier John Amoroso, of Piedmont, West Virginia, who to this day is burdened with grief when he thinks of the friend he lost. PFC Amoroso said he was with Arnie Cantu from the time Arnie arrived in Vietnam on 7 January 67. Amoroso said, "Arnie had my back, and I had Arnie's back. Only I didn't have his back when Arnie stepped on the anti-personnel mine that day", his voice breaking in emotion, Amoroso added, "The VC or NVA knew we would be back as we were providing perimeter security for the Song Be River Bridge." The bridge was an important crossing point along Highway 1A which was heavily used by U.S. Army convoys. For veterans who may have served in Vietnam, the river bridge was located southwest of Phouc Vinh.
Amoroso said Arnie Cantu survived the initial force of the mine and that a book in his side trouser pocket had absorbed much of the blast. With Cantu bleeding profusely, members of the 15-man patrol desperately called for a medical helicopter. John Amoroso said the "dust off" (a common term for the medical helicopter) never came and he held on to Arnie until he died.
PFC Cantu was awarded the Bronze Star in addition to other medals for his service in Vietnam. Arnie Cantu graduated from Clay High School, in Oregon, Ohio, in June 1965.
Note: This first-person account differs from the commendation narrative contained in the General Order for Esiquio Cantu's Award of the Bronze Star with "V" Device.
From the Oregon (Ohio) Vietnam Memorial Group Researcher,
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
the Oregon (Ohio) Vietnam Memorial Group Researcher,
P O Box 167661, Oregon, Ohio 43616
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Apr 2008
Last updated 05/16/2008