Jorge Otero Barreto
Jorge Otero Barreto
Sergeant First Class Jorge Otero Barreto
|Nickname(s)||The Puerto Rican Rambo|
|Born||7 April 1937|
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1959–1970|
|Rank||Sergeant First Class|
|Unit|| 101st Airborne |
|Battles/wars||Vietnam War (WIA)|
|Awards|| Silver Star Medal (2)|
Bronze Star Medal (5) w/ "V" Device
Air Medal (5)
Army Commendation Medal (4)
Purple Heart Medal (5)
Sergeant First Class Jorge A. Otero Barreto (born 7 April 1937), a.k.a. "the Puerto Rican Rambo" and "Sergeant Rock", is a retired United States Army soldier. He earned 38 military decorations during his career, and has been called the most decorated U.S. soldier of the Vietnam War. Due to his multiple awards he has received recognition from numerous organizations and has had buildings named after him. He is also the main subject of Brave Lords, a documentary which tells the story of the Puerto Rican experience in the war in Vietnam.
Otero Barreto was born in the town of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, the son of Eloy Otero-Bruno and Crispina Barreto-Torres. His father named him "Jorge", Spanish for George, after George Washington whom Otero-Bruno admired. In Vega Baja, Otero Barreto received his primary and secondary education. He attended college for three years, studying biology until 1959 when he joined the U.S. Army, which he chose over medical school in Spain. After his basic training, he continued to train with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, graduating in 1960. He was the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the 101st Airborne Division training.
From 1961 to 1970, Otero Barreto served five tours in Southeast Asia, starting as an advisor who helped train Vietnamese troops. According to the documentary "Brave Lords", Otero Barreto served in various military units during his military career. He served in the 101st Airborne Division and the 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lightning". He also served in the 82nd Airborne Division, an active airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute landing operations and in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. He participated in 200 combat missions, was wounded five times in combat, and was awarded 38 military decorations, making him "the most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War." Among his many decorations are 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars with Valor, 4 Army Commendation Medals, 5 Purple Hearts and 5 Air Medals (one each for every 5th mission which involved a helicopter).
Referred to as Puerto Rican Rambo or Sergeant Rock, Otero Barreto has been called "the most decorated Puerto Rican veteran," and the news media and various organizations have called him "the most decorated soldier in the Vietnam War." Whatever the case, Otero Barreto remains one of the most decorated Vietnam War veterans, and possibly the most decorated U.S. soldier in the Vietnam War living today.
Silver Star citations
Battalion: 1st Battalion (Airborne)
Division: 101st Airborne Division
Battalion: 1st Battalion (Airborne)
Division: 101st Airborne Division
Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division, General Orders No. 4587 (August 11, 1968)
On 22 June 2012, Otero Barreto was the keynote speaker at a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dinner in Lorain, Ohio. On 1 September 2006, the Coalición Nacional Puertorriqueña (National Puerto Rican Coalition) honored Otero Barreto with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" in a Conference held at the Hotel Hilton of Chicago. The keynote speaker was U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
A transitional home for veterans in Springfield, Massachusetts, the SFC Jorge Otero-Barreto Homeless Veterans Transitional Home, was also named after Otero Barreto. The home is managed by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #866 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The home is part of a program named the "Jorge Otero Barreto Homeless Veterans Transitional Program" which houses twelve (12) veterans. The program offers counseling, DVA services from the Western Massachusetts Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, assistance in obtaining Chapter 115 financial assistance, AA/NA meetings, and Christian Rehabilitation Substance Abuse meetings.
The town of Vega Baja dedicated its military museum to Otero Barreto and named it the "Jorge Otero Barreto Museum." On 2 October 2011, Otero Barreto was named Vegabajeño del Año en Civismo (Civic Citizen of Year of Vega Baja). Otero Barreto was featured in the documentary film Brave Lords, a perspective on the war in Vietnam, as experienced by Puerto Rican soldiers.
In June 2016, Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson gave Otero Barreto the "Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment" honoring him for his valor in the Vietnam War and stating he was alive because of Otero Barreto. Otero Barreto's name is one of a handful of names displayed on a wall at the 502nd Infantry Regiment in Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
Among SFC Otero Barreto's military decorations:
|1st Row||Silver Star Medal
with one bronze oak leaf cluster
|Bronze Star Medal|
with "V" device and one silver oak leaf cluster
|2nd Row||Army Commendation Medal
with "V" device and four oak leaf clusters
with four silver oak leaf clusters
with one silver oak leaf cluster
|3rd Row||Army Good Conduct Medal
with three Good conduct loops
|National Defense Service Medal||Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal|
|4th Row||Vietnam Service Medal
with four bronze Service stars
|Vietnam Campaign Medal||Vietnam Gallantry Cross|
|1st Row||Army Superior Unit Award|
|2nd Row||Presidential Unit Citation||Valorous Unit Award||Meritorious Unit Commendation|
|3rd Row||Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation||Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation||Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation|
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Basic Parachutist badge
- Air Assault Badge (Created in 1974 as the Airmobile Badge, it was renamed the Air Assault Badge later that same year.)
- Basic Aviation Badge
- Expert Rifle Marksmanship Badge
Other articles of the topic Puerto Rico : List of primary statistical areas of the United States, Ramón Núñez-Juárez, Angel Mendez, José L. Santiago, Frances M. Vega, Efe Rosario, Hila Levy
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- List of Puerto Ricans
- List of Puerto Rican military personnel
- Puerto Ricans in the Vietnam War
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- Silver Star medal citation
- Otero Barreto's 2nd Silver Star medal citation
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- Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor. Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own; by : Greg Boudonck; ISBN 978-1497421837 Search this book on .
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