Silver Star recipient from GJ dies at age 70
A service will be at 1 p.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado for Arthur Cordova, a Grand Junction resident who was awarded a Silver Star Medal for “unimpeachable valor” during the Vietnam War.
Cordova died Sept. 8 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Grand Junction. He was 70.
Cordova enlisted in the Army after high school and served two tours in Vietnam, said his brother, Amadeo “Joe” Cordova.
“He was tough,” Joe said. “He didn’t back down to anybody.”
The Army originally awarded Arthur Cordova a Bronze Star Medal for his actions on Nov. 10, 1966, near Da Nang, but soon after upgraded the award to the Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. military decoration for valor.
Cordova was outside an ammunition depot near Da Nang when he heard small-arms fire and approached on foot, according to the order that he be awarded the Silver Star.
Guards were returning fire with pistols, which were ineffective against an advancing force of Viet Cong, the order said.
Cordova, “contemptuous of his own safety,” approached the Viet Cong and within 150 meters of them “fearlessly rained fire on the enemy with his rifle,” killing one, wounding another and forcing a third to flee. One of the Viet Cong dropped a grenade, which exploded.
Soldiers later found three hand grenades and a .45 caliber handgun with the wounded Viet Cong soldier.
“Through his aggressive attack on a numerically superior enemy force, Specialist Cordova stopped their assault on a vital support facility and thus prevented loss of life and property to friendly forces,” the order said.
In addition, he is survived by two brothers, Arthur Cordova, and Jim; and one sister, Blanche Lucero of Grand Junction.