|Armando Garza Leal Jr. Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class USN
Our school was constructed in 1954 as Southcross Junior High School. Additions were made to the school in 1999 and in 2001 and in 2010 a major renovation was carried out in the main buildings and gyms. In addition to the 2010 renovation a new facade was constructed.
Our school was renamed for Armando Garza Leal Jr. Armando Leal Jr. was a Vietnam War Hero and graduate of our school. Armando Leal Jr. grew up in the neighborhoods adjacent to then, Southcorss Junior High School. He is remembered as a good friend, always happy with a positive outlook and a good sense of humor. He received training and graduated from the Navy Hospital Corps School and served as a corpsman attached to U.S. Marine Corps. units actively fighting in Vietnam.
While attempting to relieve other Marine units that were cut off and engaged in heavy fighting with a numerically superior enemy force, Leal's M Company of 3/5 also became heavily engaged with the enemy. Outnumbered and with many units of their regiment already heavily engaged and unable to assist them, the determined men of M Company defended themselves against multiple enemy attacks. Suffering multiple injuries and exposing himself to enemy fire, Armando Leal Jr. administered first aid and evacuated several injured Marines. Wounded himself and through heavy enemy fire Leal continued providing first aid, but was ultimately shot and killed in the engagement.
His determination, bravery and commitment to his brothers in arms serves as an inspiration to all of us who are members of the the Leal Middle School Community. We honor him and all that he stood for.
The Navy Cross
For extraordinary heroism on 4 September 1967 while serving as corpsman with the Second Platoon, Company "M", Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), FMF, in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam.
During Operation SWIFT, the Second Platoon was providing security for the Battalion Command Group when the platoon came under heavy enemy fire. Petty Officer (then Hospitalman) Leal ran through the fire-swept area, and began administering first aid to several casualties who were directly exposed to grazing fire. Although constantly exposed to heavy fire, and painfully wounded himself, he rendered aid for two hours to wounded Marines who were located between friendly and enemy lines. He refused to be evacuated in order that he might continue his mission of mercy. While treating his comrades and moving them to protected areas, Petty Officer Leal was severely wounded for a second time and, despite being immobilized, calmly continued to aid his wounded comrades. A Marine tried to drag him to a covered position, but was shot in the hand and, at that time, Petty Officer Leal received a third wound. Petty Officer Leal pushed the Marine and told him to take cover from the assaulting enemy whom they both could see. Suddenly a North Vietnamese soldier fired a machine gun from close range, mortally wounding Petty Officer Leal.
Through his swift actions and professional skill in aiding and protecting the wounded, he significantly eased the suffering and undoubtedly saved the lives of several of his comrades. His exceptional courage and unfaltering dedication to duty in the face of great personal risk were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Information gathered from: virtualwall.org