Santiago Erevia, a Vietnam veteran who had been denied the nation’s highest military honor for 45 years because he was Hispanic, died in San Antonio on Tuesday. He was 69.

The New York Times reported that Erevia, who single-handedly destroyed four enemy bunkers during a search and clear mission near Tam Ky, South Vietnam on May 21, 1969, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, his wife Leticia Lopez Erevia said.

The retired postal worker was one of the 18 Latinos whose heroic deeds earned them the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest award for gallantry, instead of the Medal of Honor.

In 2014, he received the U.S. military’s highest honor after a congressionally mandated review of minorities who may had been passed over because of long-held prejudices.

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