Hispanic-Americans among Medal of Honor recipients

| October 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
National Guard Heritage Series painting by Domenic D'Andrea, courtesy of the U.S. Army Center of Military History Soldiers from the 65th Infantry Regiment, the “Borinqueneers,” charge enemy positions with bayonets fixed to their rifles -- the last-recorded battalion-sized bayonet charge -- during an attack on the Chinese 149th Division, Feb. 2, 1951, just South of Seoul during the Korean War.

(National Guard Heritage Series painting by Domenic D’Andrea, courtesy of the U.S. Army Center of Military History)
Soldiers from the 65th Infantry Regiment, the “Borinqueneers,” charge enemy positions with bayonets fixed to their rifles — the last-recorded battalion-sized bayonet charge — during an attack on the Chinese 149th Division, Feb. 2, 1951, just South of Seoul during the Korean War.

Compiled by Elizabeth M. Collins
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — Hispanic men and women have bravely and eagerly served the United States since the early, desperate days of the Revolution, when it seemed like the Continental Army was fighting a losing battle against the might of Britain.

They continued what for many was a personal fight for freedom in the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars, and like other Americans, were bitterly divided during the Civil War.

Photo courtesy of the NCO Journal Korean War Medal of Honor recipient then-Sgt. Joseph C. Rodriguez, left, appeared on “You Bet Your Life,” with his then-fiancée, Rose Aranda, in April 1952. The show was hosted by famed comedian Groucho Marx, right.

(Photo courtesy of the NCO Journal)
Korean War Medal of Honor recipient then-Sgt. Joseph C. Rodriguez, left, appeared on “You Bet Your Life,” with his then-fiancée, Rose Aranda, in April 1952. The show was hosted by famed comedian Groucho Marx, right.

Some 4,000 went “over there” to Europe during World War I, and Hispanic-Americans served in every theater during the Second World War, and participated in some of the most brutal fighting during Korea and Vietnam.

Historically, discrimination, racism and language barriers have meant that many Hispanics were relegated to menial jobs or served in segregated units.

A number of Mexican-American cavalry militias chased bandits and guarded trains and border crossings for the Union during the Civil War, for example. Later, the 65th Infantry Regiment, the “Borinqueneers,” from Puerto Rico, served valiantly in both World War II and Korea. Congress recognized the unit with a Congressional Gold Medal in 2016.

U.S. Army photo by Spc. David M. Sharp President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2011.

(U.S. Army photo by Spc. David M. Sharp)
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2011.

One of their number, retired Master Sgt. Juan Negron, posthumously received the unit’s first Medal of Honor in 2014 for his service in Korea. The award came after a Congressionally mandated review of Jewish- and Hispanic-American war records from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, which resulted in Medals of Honor for 24 veterans whose remarkable heroism had been overlooked, often due to prejudice.

Of course, Hispanic Americans have been risking their lives above and beyond the call of duty since the medal’s inception during the Civil War.

(Editor’s note: See the full story at https://www.army.mil/article/176781/hispanic_american_medal_of_honor_recipients.)

Photo courtesy of the National Archives 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers receive Medals of Honor at the newly secured Zepplinfeld Stadium in Nuremberg, Germany, in April 1945. Left to right: Lt. Col. Keith L. Ware, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment; 1st Lt. John J. Tominac, Company I, 15th Inf. Regt.; Tech. Sgt. Russell Dunham, Company I, 30th Infantry Regiment; Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams, Co. I, 30th Inf. Regt. and Pvt. Wilburn K. Ross, Company G, 30th Inf. Regt.

(Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
3rd Infantry Division Soldiers receive Medals of Honor at the newly secured Zepplinfeld Stadium in Nuremberg, Germany, in April 1945. Left to right: Lt. Col. Keith L. Ware, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment; 1st Lt. John J. Tominac, Company I, 15th Inf. Regt.; Tech. Sgt. Russell Dunham, Company I, 30th Infantry Regiment; Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams, Co. I, 30th Inf. Regt. and Pvt. Wilburn K. Ross, Company G, 30th Inf. Regt.

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Category: Army News Service, Leadership, News, Observances

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