Salutes & Awards

September 27, 2013

Hispanic Heritage Month, remembering Hispanic heroes

President Clinton and LTC Alfred Rascon, USA, retired. The White House, 2000

As a soldier and public servant, LTC Alfred Rascon, retired, served the United States with distinction for nearly four decades.

At the age of four, Rascon came to the U.S. from Mexico with his parents. Raised in the barrios of California near Port Hueneme Naval Station during the Korean War, he was fascinated by the military, making parachutes out of sheets and staging imaginary combat jumps off the roof of his house.

At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a medic in the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

In March 1966, Rascon’s unit moved to reinforce its sister battalion that was under attack. A firefight broke out, beginning what Rascon would later recall as “ten minutes of hell.”

Ignoring orders, “Doc” Rascon ran to tend to the wounded soldiers. He was hit by shrapnel and a rifle bullet that traveled from his hip through his shoulder blade. He managed to drag one man to safety then crawled back into the melee to bring ammunition to a wounded machine gunner.

Fearing an abandoned machine gun would be used by the enemy, he went to retrieve it. A grenade exploded, spraying his face with shrapnel. Later, he saved the life of another GI by shielding the man with his own body as he administered treatment.

When a grenade landed near an injured sergeant, he threw his body over the sergeant. The explosion blew off Rascon’s helmet and rucksack. He refused morphine so he could continue treating his wounded comrades.

Alfred Rascon, medic in the U.S. Army (center) Vietnam, March 1966

He was nominated for the Medal of Honor days afterward, but the paperwork was lost. Upon his discharge from the Army in 1966, he joined the reserves, attended college, and became a naturalized citizen. In 1969, he returned to active duty and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He returned to Vietnam in 1972 for another tour.

In 1993, some of the men whose lives Rascon saved heard that the recommendation for his medal was lost. They took the case to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

In 2000, Rascon was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service at a White House ceremony with the men he had saved looking on. Rascon became the 343rd person awarded the nation’s highest military honor.

Today, describing himself as “Mexican by birth, American by choice,” he is a role model for students. He also works with soldiers, veterans, and their families, offering support, assistance, and recognition for their contributions to the country.

In presenting the Medal of Honor, President Clinton said, “On that distant day, in that faraway place, this man gave everything he had, utterly and selflessly, to protect his platoon mates.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz

March Field Emergency Fire Services engineer remains calm at accident scene

U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz Engineer Mark Hanenberger, March Field Emergency Fire Services, March Air Reserve Base, shows the gloves he keeps in his personal vehicle in case of an emergency, which proved to be the case when...
 
 

Fourth of July fireworks safety tips

Many cities and communities in or near Riverside County provide spectacular fireworks displays for their residents. The operators of these displays are licensed and have permits issued by the State Fire Marshal. As a reminder (other than the licensed and permitted operators mentioned above), all fireworks (including sparklers) are illegal in Riverside County because they cause...
 
 
Mackenzie-Welz

How being a military dependent helped me prepare for my future

“You’re going to be the man of the house now,” are the words one may hear a military father tell his son before deployment. However, it’s different when the mom is the one leaving her daughter because of a deployment. S...
 

 
Watchara Phomicinda/LA Daily News staff photographer

Honor Guard members bury those who served

Watchara Phomicinda/LA Daily News staff photographer Members of the Blue Eagles Honor Guard practice with their training rifle at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, Calif. on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. The new trainees must compl...
 
 
Vets-Access

Veteran’s Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014

Compliance by State – Map There is a recent change in the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (“Choice Act”) that relates to the GI Bill Resident Rate Requirements. These new requirements will ensur...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kevin Mitterholzer

March Airman prepares for marksman competition

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kevin Mitterholzer Staff Sgt. Rodger E. Scrivner, communications specialist, 452nd Communications Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, participates in target practice at the Los Angeles Rifle and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>