Mar. 19, 2014

24 Medals of Honor Awarded

WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans upgraded from Distinguished Service Cross.

In 2002, the National Defense Authorization Act prompted a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to determine if actions worthy of the Medal of Honor had been overlooked because of discrimination.

On Tuesday, 24 veterans of those wars received the Medal of Honor. Each had previously received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award. Vietnam veterans Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, Master Sgt. Jose Rodela and Spc. Santiago Erevia all attended and received their medals, while the others were given posthumously. Ten of the 24 men never came home, and one is still missing.

Courtesy of National Review, here is the list of recipients with a brief description of their valorous actions:

The living recipients are:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris of Cocoa, Fla., born in Okmulgee, Okla., commended for courageous actions while a staff sergeant during combat operations in the vicinity of Chi Lang, South Vietnam, on Sept. 17, 1969.

  • Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia of San Antonio, born in Nordheim, Texas, cited for courage during a search-and-clear mission near Tam Ky, South Vietnam, on May 21, 1969.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela of San Antonio, born in Corpus Christi, Texas, cited for courage during combat operations in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, on Sept. 1, 1969.

The posthumous recipients are:

  • Sgt. Candelario Garcia, born in Corsicana, Texas, for courageous actions during combat operations in Lai Khe, South Vietnam, on Dec. 8, 1968.

  • Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado, born in Bakersfield, Calif., died during combat operations in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.

  • Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon, born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, killed during combat operations in Ap Tan Hoa, South Vietnam, on April 4, 1969.

  • Spc. 4 Ardie R. Copas of Fort Pierce, Fla. killed during combat operations near Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia, on May 12, 1970.

  • Spc. 4 Jesus S. Duran of San Bernardino, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in South Vietnam on April 10, 1969.

  • Cpl. Joe R. Baldonado, born in Colorado, killed during combat operations in Kangdong, North Korea, on Nov. 25, 1950.

  • Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza of El Paso, Texas, for courageous actions during combat operations in Chorwon, North Korea, on Aug. 1, 1952.

  • Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez, born in Los Angeles, for courageous actions during combat operations in Tabu-dong, South Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.

  • Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, born in New York City, killed during combat operations in Yangpyong, South Korea, on March 6-7, 1951.

  • Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Kalma-Eri, North Korea, on April 28, 1951.

  • Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena, born in Newgulf, Texas, killed in action during combat operations in Waegwan, South Korea, on Sept. 4, 1950.

  • Pvt. Demensio Rivera, born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Changyong-ni, South Korea, on May 23, 1951.

  • Pvt. Miguel A. Vera, born in Puerto Rico, killed during combat operations in Chorwon, North Korea, on Sept. 21, 1952.

  • Sgt. Jack Weinstein of Saint Francis, Kan. for courageous actions during combat operations in Kumsong, South Korea, on Oct. 19, 1951.

  • Pvt. Pedro Cano, born in La Morita, Mexico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Schevenhutte, Germany, on Dec. 3, 1944.

  • Pvt. Joe Gandara, born in Santa Monica, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.

  • Pfc. Salvador J. Lara, of Riverside, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in Aprilia, Italy, May 27-28, 1944.

  • Sgt. William F. Leonard, of Lockport, N.Y., for courageous actions during combat operations near St. Die, France, on Nov. 7, 1944.

  • Staff Sgt. Manuel V. Mendoza, born in Miami, Ariz., for courageous actions during combat operations on Mount Battaglia, Italy, on Oct. 4, 1944.

  • Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, born in New York City, for courageous actions during combat operations in Heistern, Germany, on Nov. 18, 1944.

  • 1st Lt. Donald K. Schwab, born Hooper, Neb., for courageous actions during combat operations near Lure, France, on Sept. 17, 1944.

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