• October 22, 2014

Two dozen Army veterans set for belated upgrade to Medal of Honor

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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 4:30 am

WASHINGTON —President Barack Obama will correct a historical act of discrimination next month when he awards the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest commendation for combat valor, to a group of 24 Hispanic, Jewish and African-American veterans who were passed over because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds. The unusual presentation will culminate a 12-year Pentagon review ordered by Congress into past discrimination in the ranks.

Although the review predates Obama’s tenure, he has made addressing discrimination in the military — including ending the ban on gay and lesbian service members — a priority as commander in chief.

Living recipients

Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as radio telephone operator in Company C, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) during search and clear mission near Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam.

Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as commander of a strike force drawn from Company D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Chi Lang, Republic of Vietnam, on Sept. 17, 1969.

Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as the company commander, Detachment B-36, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, on Sept. 1, 1969.

Vietnam war

Sgt. Candelario Garcia will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an acting team leader for Company B, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Lai Khe, Republic of Vietnam, on Dec. 8, 1968.

Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.

Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting platoon leader in Company D, 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Ap Tan Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, on April 4, 1969.

Spc. 4 Ardie R. Copas will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a machine gunner in Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy near Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia, on May 12, 1970.

Spc. 4 Jesus S. Duran will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting M-60 machine gunner in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on April 10, 1969.

Korean war

Cpl. Joe R. Baldonado will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting machine gunner in 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kangdong, Korea, on Nov. 25, 1950.

Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting rifleman in Company A, 23nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Chorwon, Korea, on Aug. 1, 1952.

Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Tabu-dong, Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.

Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company M, 5th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Yangpyong, Korea, on March 6-7, 1951.

Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a member of Company L, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kalma-Eri, Korea, on April 28, 1951.

Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a member of Company F, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Waegwan, Korea, on Sept. 4, 1950.

Pvt. Demensio Rivera will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an automatic rifleman with 2nd Platoon, Company G, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Changyong-ni, Korea, on May 23, 1951.

Pvt. Miguel A. Vera will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an automatic rifleman with Company F, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, in Chorwon, Korea, on Sept. 21, 1952.

Sgt. Jack Weinstein will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while leading 1st Platoon, Company G, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, in Kumsong, Korea, on Oct. 19, 1951.

World War II

Pvt. Pedro Cano will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company C, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Schevenhutte, Germany, on Dec. 3, 1944.

Pvt. Joe Gandara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.

Pfc. Salvador J. Lara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as the squad leader of a rifle squad with 2nd Platoon, Company L, 180th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Aprilia, Italy, on May 27-28, 1944.

Sgt. William F. Leonard will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a squad leader in Company C, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy near St. Die, France, on Nov. 7, 1944.

Staff Sgt. Manuel V. Mendoza will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company B, 350th Infantry, 88th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy on Mt. Battaglia, Italy, on Oct. 4, 1944.

Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a section leader for Company H, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Heistern, Germany, on Nov. 18, 1944.

First Lt. Donald K. Schwab will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as the commander of Company E, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy near Lure, France, on Sept. 17, 1944.

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