John Ortega

Seaman, Navy
USS Saratoga
December, 1864

John (Juan) Ortega (born in 1840), was the first Hispanic sailor to be awarded the United States' highest military decoration for valor in combat — the Medal of Honor. He distinguished himself, during the South Atlantic Blockade, by the Union Naval forces, during the American Civil War.

Medal of Honor Citation: Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Saratoga during actions of that vessel on 2 occasions. Carrying out his duties courageously during these actions, Ortega conducted himself gallantly through both periods. Promoted to acting master's mate.

Join Our Mailing List

Get the latest news and updates on Hispanic diversity and inclusion throughout the senior ranks of the DoD.