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MV airman to receive commendation for heroism – 57 years after the fact


Photo By: Claudia Cruz/Mountain View Patch
Photo Claudia Cruz/Mountain View Patch

Airman 1st Class Juan C. Aranda Jr. is scheduled to receive the Commendation Medal from U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo Monday.

Mountain View resident Airman 1st Class Juan C. Aranda Jr. heroically saved four people stranded in Hurricane Santa Clara, which devastated Puerto Rico in 1956. Nearly 57 years later, the U.S. Air Force plans to award him the Air Force Commendation Medal.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, the Air Force and the California Air National Guard Unit’s 129th Rescue Wing have scheduled a presentation ceremony 3:30 p.m. Monday at the 129th Rescue Wing’s Blue Hangar on the east side of Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View.

Members of the public are invited to attend.

Eshoo, who represents Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, requested that the Secretary of the Air Force review Aranda’s record for consideration of the formal recognition.

“Airman 1st Class Aranda acted without hesitation and bravely saved the lives of a father and his three sons who became stranded during Hurricane Santa Clara in August 1956,” Eshoo said. “With courage and conviction, he put his own life at risk when others were in need.”

Upon receiving news of the commendation, Aranda downplayed his herosim.

“In circumstances like the one I encountered that fateful night, you do what you have to do, regardless of the consequences,” he said. “We are all really here to serve humanity. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

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