|
Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:31am

El Paso and Juarez men among those to receive Medal of Honor posthumously

El Paso and Juarez men among those to receive Medal of Honor posthumously
Photo Cpl. Victor Espinoza Courtesy U.S. Army
Positively El Paso

POSTED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 12:45pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 1:31pm

Five Texans, including one El Pasoan and one Juarez man, will be honored alongside 19 other heroes Tuesday, March 18.


LIVE STREAM


President Barack Obama will award 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. All men served in either World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. They were all previously honored with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest miliarty award.

In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice. During the review, records of several Soldiers of neither Jewish nor Hispanic descent were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these Soldiers to be honored with the upgrade - in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers.  

All of the Texans awarded will be honored posthumously. See the list below for their story. The entire list can be seen at 24 Stories of Valor.

Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza - El Paso (Korean)

Medal of Honor nominee Victor H. Espinoza, was born in El Paso, Texas, July 15, 1929.

Then-Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza is being recognized for his actions on Aug. 1, 1952, at Chorwon, Korea. While spearheading an attack to secure "Old Baldy," Espinoza's unit was pinned down by withering fire from fortified positions. In daring succession, Espinoza single-handedly silenced a machine-gun and its crew, discovered and destroyed a covert enemy tunnel, and wiped out two bunkers. His actions inspired his unit and enabled them to secure the strong-point against great odds.

After leaving the Army, Espinoza resided in El Paso until his death on April 17, 1986. Espinoza is buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Espinoza received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal.


 


Sgt. Duran Photo Courtesy Army.mil


Seargent Jesus S. Duran - Juarez, Mexico (Vietnam)

Medal of Honor nominee Jesus S. Duran was born, July 26, 1948, in Juarez, Mexico.

Duran joined the U.S. Army on May 13, 1968. He was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to support the efforts of Search and Destroy.

In the course of the third phase of the Vietnam War, then-Spc. 4 Jesus S. Duran distinguished himself on April 10, 1969, as a machine-gunner on a search and clear operation. His actions saved several wounded Americans and led to the enemy's retreat.

After leaving the military, Duran pursued a career as a corrections officer at a juvenile detention center in San Bernardino, Ca. While working there, he dedicated numerous hours of personal time to mentor youth and lead them on educational trips.

Duran married twice and had two children. He was the sixth sibling out of 12, and loved spending time with all of his family.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Duran received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge with Auto Rifle and machine-gun Bars, Marksman Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Vietnam Campaign Medal with "e;60"e; Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citations with Palm Device.

Sergeant Candelario Garcia - Corsicana, Texas (Vietnam)

Medal of Honor nominee Candelario Garcia was born in Corsicana, Texas, Feb. 26, 1944.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 28, 1963.

Garcia distinguished himself on Dec. 8, 1968, as a team leader during a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Lai Khe, Vietnam. Garcia destroyed two enemy machine-gun positions in an attempt to aid casualties that were in the open and under fire. Garcia then rejoined his company in a successful assault on the remaining enemy positions.

Garcia passed away on Jan. 10, 2013.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Garcia received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal , Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Silver Service Stars and one Bronze Service Star, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Silver Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with "60" Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citations with Palm Device and Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation, First Class. 

 

Sergeant Santiago J. Erevia - Nordheim, Texas (Vietnam)

 Medal of Honor nominee Sgt. Santiago Erevia was born in Nordheim, Texas, in 1946.

He volunteered to join the U.S. Army in San Antonio when he was 22-years-old.

Then-Spc. 4 Erevia distinguished himself May 21, 1969, while serving as a radio-telephone operator during a search-and-clear mission near Tam Ky City, in the Republic of Vietnam.

In 1970, Erevia left active service with a two year reserve obligation. In 1972 he joined the Texas National Guard and went on to serve 17 years. Erevia also found employment with the U.S. Postal Service; after 32 years of public service there, he retired in 2002.

Erevia has four grown children and lives in San Antonio with his wife. These days he enjoys refurbishing his home and walking to stay fit.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Erevia received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with five Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge with Auto Rifle Bar, Marksman Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with "60" Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Gold Star Device and Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal, First Class. 

 

Master Sergeant Mike C. Pena - Newgulf, Texas (Korean)

Medal of Honor nominee Michael C. Pena was born in Newgulf, Texas, November 1924.

He joined the U. S. Army as an infantryman in 1941, when he was 16-years-old. He fought in both World War II and the Korean War.

Pena is being recognized for his actions on the evening of Sept. 4, 1950, near Waegwan, Korea, when his unit was fiercely attacked. During the course of the counter-attack, Pena realized that their ammunition was running out, and ordered his unit to retreat. Pena then manned a machine-gun to cover their withdrawal. He single-handedly held back the enemy until morning when his position was overrun, and he was killed.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Pena received the Distinguished service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four Bronze Service Stars and Bronze Arrowhead Device, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Japan Clasp, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge (2nd Award), Honorable Service Lapel Button- World War II, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Philippine Independence Ribbon,

United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Gold Bravery Medal of Greece Unit Citation.
  

Master Sergeant Jose Rodela - Corpus Christi, Texas (Vietnam)

He entered the U.S. Army in September 1955, at the age of 17.

Rodela is being recognized for his valorous actions on Sept. 1, 1969, while serving as the company commander in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. Rodela commanded his company throughout 18 hours of continuous contact when his battalion was attacked and taking heavy casualties. Throughout the battle, in spite of his wounds, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to attend to the fallen and eliminate an enemy rocket position.

Rodela retired from the Army in 1975. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Rodela received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with "V" Device, Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Silver Clasp and one Loop, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Special Forces Tab, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with "60" Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation First Class, Republic of Vietnam Special Forces Honorary Jump Wings, Columbian Army Parachutist Badge.
 

 


Comments News Comments

Post new Comment