Antonio Ambrosio Grau
LRRP 2 Bde, 4th Inf Div
Army Of The United States
07 December 1950 – 30 August 1970
Panel 07W Line 024
Service: Army (Regular)
Grade at loss: E4
Rank: Specialist Fourth Class
ID No: 140462252
Len Svc: 2 years
Unit: Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry
Start Tour: 06/07/1970
Cas Date: 08/30/1970
Age at Loss: 19
Remains: Body recovered
Location: Binh Dinh, South Vietnam
Type: Hostile, died of wounds, ground casualty
Reason: Other explosive device
Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Link to Remembrances:
Tony Grau was born on December 7, 1950 in Havana, Cuba. Tony and his parents came to the United States in July 1956 and settled in Lodi. In 1958, Tony’s sister, Esther, was born and in 1962, their parents were divorced.
In 1963, Tony & Esther’s mother remarried Harvey Rodriquez and they formed their family on Nicholson Street in Lodi. Harvey raised the children as his own. In 1964, Tony & Esther were blessed with their half-brother Javier (Harvey) Rodriquez. And in 1968, Tony & Esther’s biological father had another son, Erick Grau, who became part of their family. During the urban renewal project developing in Lodi, the family was forced to move to Sherman Avenue where they resided until 1972.
Tony attended Columbus School where we developed a friendship. We both enjoyed baseball and basketball, along with other sports. But our most common activities were getting into the devilish trouble that grammar school kids get in to. Between Tony, Nicky Testa, Richie Halkovich, Steve Norkett and myself, it seems like we enjoyed torturing our teacher, Ms Annicharico. In 1966 we made it and graduated to Lodi High School.
Tony loved his family, convertible T-Birds, Coca-Cola and Fig Newtons. He was a gifted artist that never got the chance to develop his talent. However, his sincerest love was that of his country, The United States of America. As a high school student, he could only watch his country involved in a war that meant so much to him and his country. Not being able to observe from the sidelines anymore, Tony suspended his high school education and enlisted in the United States Army in September, 1968.
On November 12, 1968, Tony finished his training in Fort Dix, NJ and was sent to Korea. On July 7, 1970, he volunteered to go to Viet Nam to stand up for his belief of “Freedom.” He was assigned to “K” Company, 7th Infantry (Abn), 4th Infantry Division, as an Army Ranger.
On August 16, 1970, while on a special mission, Tony was wounded in action. He was in the hospital until August 28th. The very next day, August 29th, Tony returned to combat and was mortally wounded in action. He died at 5:15 A.M. on August 30, 1970.
Tony Grau gave the ultimate sacrifice for every person in this country. His sacrifice allowed us to finish high school and continue our endeavors in life. His sacrifice enables us to say that we live in the greatest country of the world. And his sacrifice allows us to enjoy the “Freedom” that he desired as an American.
I am proud to be an American. I am happy to have known this young man whose life was abruptly taken for a cause. A cause in which he sincerely believed in. I thank him for what he did for all of us. I am honored to have been a friend of Antonio A. Grau.
My heart goes out to the Grau/Rodriquez family. The lifelong pain that they endure will never go away or end. If there is any consolation, what he did for us did not go for naught. We can only hope that Tony will look down upon us and see this small tribute his Class of 1970 bestows upon him.
I went to grammar school and High School with Tony and wrote the biography for his memorial. Tony gave the ultimate sacrifice for me and every person in this country. The likes of Antonio Grau made this the greatest country in the world and we should be eternally grateful to him for his service. Someday, I may meet up with him again. I can only hope to thank him personally. I will never forget him.
Thank you, Tony
* * *
A letter written by AntÃ³nio Ambrosio Grau to his girlfriend
“I tried to make you understand why I had to go to Korea, and now to Viet Nam. I think that a saying we have in this Company might make you understand:
For those who have fought for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know.
I hope with this you might understand why, and this is only one reason. I have others that I had to go to Korea and now Viet Nam. Someone has to do it.
America was once a great country but the teenagers of now don’t know what heritage is. They don’t want to fight for freedom. Well, I do; I have to. If there weren’t people that think the way I do, than America would have been taken over by Communism just like our country (Cuba) has. You don’t want our children to be born in a Communist country, right darling? I know you don’t, so please stick with me. I know it is a hard and long year, but it has to be done.
Darling, I’m not going to die here. I just know I’m not. All that might happen to me is that this place might make me more of a man. It will, it has already.”
8/27/15 – by Erick Grau – firstname.lastname@example.org
I just came across this site and read your comments – I am Antonio’s little brother, Erick. I was too young to really remember who Tony was however my earliest recollection as a baby was my brother Tony holding me. I recall looking up and trying to touch his chin…
I heard from family, my parents and his fiancÃ© at the time, nothing but great stories of my brother. In many ways I feel like I knew him through the stories.
Like many brave heroes who served, protected and some even gave their lives – my brother was an honorable man with a sense of duty to his adopted country (our family is from Cuba).
thank you all for your kind words…