Four Puerto Rican Soldiers to Receive Medal of Honor

130922-A-AO884-081On March 18, 2014, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. All but three will be awarded the medal posthumously. Four Puerto Rican soldiers are among them.

The unusually large number of recipients of the medal for conspicuous gallantry was the result of congressionally mandated review of war records to determine if any Jewish American or Hispanic American soldiers had been denied the Medal of Honor because of prejudice. The White House says that during that review several soldiers who were neither Jewish nor Hispanic also had criteria worthy of the medal. All but one of the recipients are enlisted men, from privates to master sergeants. One recipient is a World War II first lieutenant.

juan negronJuan E. Negrón: Medal of Honor nominee Juan E. Negrón was born in Corozal, Puerto Rico. He entered the U.S. Army in March 1948. Then-Sgt. Juan E. Negron distinguished himself on April 28, 1951, for actions near Kalma-Eri, Korea. Negrón held the most vulnerable position on his company’s exposed right flank after an enemy force had overrun a section of the line. He held the position throughout the night, accurately hurling hand grenades at short range when hostile troops approached his position. Following the war, Negrón returned to the U.S. and remained on active duty. He served a total of 23 years and achieved the rank of master sergeant. His positions include the senior non-commissioned officer for the Directorate of Doctrine, which would help define the Army’s combat strategy, and the inspector general in Thailand. During his service he became a member of the Veterans of Foreign War, The Legion of Valor, and The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Upon retirement, Negrón would become very involved in education and would enter into federal service in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Negrón received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal, and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Demensio Rivera: Medal of Honor nominee Demensio Rivera, was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, April 29, 1933. He joined the U.S. Army, Sept. 26, 1950, in New York. Then-Pvt. Demensio Rivera is being recognized for his actions at Changyongni, Korea, May 22-23, 1951. When the outpost area occupied by his platoon was assaulted during the night, Rivera, an automatic rifleman, held his forward position tenaciously, although exposed to very heavy fire. When his rifle became inoperative, Rivera employed his pistol and grenades, and eventually fought the enemy hand-to-hand and forced them back.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Rivera received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

miguel veraMiguel Armando Vera: Medal of Honor nominee Miguel Armando “Nando” Vera was born in Puerto Rico. Vera joined the U.S. Army when he was 17 years old. Vera is being recognized for his heroic actions at Chorwon, Korea, Sept. 21, 1952. While Vera’s unit attempted to retake the right sector of “Old Baldy”, they came under heavy fire at close range and were forced back. Vera selflessly chose to stay behind and cover the troop’s withdrawal, and lost his life during this action. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Vera received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal, Wharang Distinguished Military Service Medal with Silver Star.

felix conde falconFélix M. Conde Falcón: Medal of Honor nominee Félix M. Conde Falcón was born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, Feb. 24, 1938, and raised in Chicago, Ill. He volunteered to join the U.S. Army in April 1963. Conde Falcón distinguished himself on April 4, 1969, while serving as a platoon leader during a sweep operation in the vicinity of Ap Tan Hoa, Vietnam, April 4, 1969. Conde Falcón was killed in action that day after destroying multiple enemy bunkers and demonstrating extraordinary leadership under fire. He left behind a wife and two children. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Conde-Falcon received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge with Auto Rifle Bar, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Marksman Badge with Pistol Bar, Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam Merit Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation, First Class with Oak Leaf Cluster.

For full article, see http://www.caribbeanbusiness.pr/news/4-pr-soldiers-among-24-army-vets-to-be-awarded-medal-of-honor-by-obama-94058.html

Also see http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-to-award-medal-of-honor-to-24-army-veterans/

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