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/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang

Airman retires after 37 years of service

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang Chief Master Sgt. Karen L. Krause, 452nd Maintenance Operations Squadrons superintendent, receives a flag from a Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard member during her retireme...
 
 

Look past 1947 for Air Force roots

The Air Force officially turns 67 this month, but my Uncle Gino thinks it’s older. He’s 90 and the lone surviving brother of my father. Both of them served in World War II, as did two of their siblings. My father was in the Navy, as was his eldest brother, Europeo (his real name, I...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Pilots earned top honor for WW II actions

Courtesy Photo First Lt. Donald J. Gott and 2nd Lt. William E. Metzger Jr. of the 452nd Bombardment Group, were killed when their heavily damaged B-17 Flying Fortress exploded Nov. 9, 1944, as they raced to friendly territory i...
 

 

A reminder of our 24/7/365 responsibility to ourselves and each other

All Airmen have a responsibility that last much longer than a one-month campaign. This responsibility extends beyond ourselves and includes our work environment, our families, friends, fellow Airmen and our communities. While Suicide Prevention Month is observed across the United States in September, the month-long event is a reminder of everyone’s 24/7, 365-day responsibility to...
 
 
HBI-Web-Graphic

Online risk assessment offers ways to evaluate, improve health

How well do you know yourself? Poor health is not always obvious. Even people who appear healthy can be at risk for medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Health Risk ...
 
 

Life is all about choices

Back when I lived in the rural Midwest, late September and October was harvest time for the farming communities. For many frantic weeks, farmers would be out in the fields from morning to night, trying to beat the first snowfall, gathering in the crops they had planted earlier that spring. In southwest Minnesota the harvest...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin