Heriberto S. Hernandez was a native of San Antonio, Texas, and in July 1965, he enlisted from that city for four years of service in the United States Coast Guard. He served on board the Coast Guard Cutter Bering Strait, Coast Guard Loran Station Saipan, Coast Guard Base Galveston and, in the spring of 1968, he deployed for duty in Vietnam. Beginning in May, Fireman Hernandez, known by his shipmates as “Eddie,” served on board the 82-foot Coast Guard Cutter Point Cypress where he was killed in action on December 5th..
FN Hernandez posthumously received the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat “V” device. In his citation for the BSM, Vice Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt wrote:
“Fireman Hernandez’s heroic actions under enemy fire were instrumental to the success of friendly forces in harassing and destroying the enemy’s morale and feeling of security. Fireman Hernandez’s professional skill, courage under enemy fire, and devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
On October 16, 2015, the Coast Guard’s 14th Fast Response Cutter, the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez was commissioned during a ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. While Hernandez should be remembered for his heroic service and devotion to duty, he should also be remembered as a Coast Guardsman that was respected, admired and well-liked by his shipmates.