Ronchester Mananga Santiago was born on Feb. 10, 1978 to Rogelio and Simeona Santiago.
He completed requirements at Kingsville Alternative High School in December 1996, and was a 1997 graduate of H. M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Dec. 11, 1996.
After completing Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois, on March 19, 1997, Santiago was a student at Surface Warfare Engineering School, also at Great Lakes, completing training on April 10, 1997. He served aboard USS Constitution from April 25, 1997 until Jan. 7, 2000. He reported to USS Cole (DDG 67) on Feb. 7, 2000.
Santiago was killed in the line of duty when a terrorist bomb was detonated along the port side of the ship while it was refueling in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000.
Mess Management Specialist 3rd Class Santiago was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and Navy Unit Commendation. He held the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Sources: USS Cole (DDG 67) Med Cruise 2000 (Aug. 8–Nov. 3, 2000) Cruise Book in the collection of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Navy Department Library. Awards and citations are sourced from the service member’s official military personnel file and listed in the Navy Department Awards Web Service site and may not be complete.