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.


 
 

 

BASH: Protecting our aircraft, Airmen

U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Bari Wald David Briseño, wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture and head of Marchs’ Bird/Anti-Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program, prepares to fire a 12-gauge ‘shell cracker’ into the air with his shotgun. Firing ‘shell crackers’ is one of many pyrotechnic methods used in the BASH program to...
 
 

452 AMW lineage began in World War II England

(With the this year’s military ball theme, “A Legacy for the future: 452nd Bombardment Group,” and the ball only 11 weeks away, it seems appropriate to re-print an 11-part series tracing its lineage. The series was first run in the Beacon in 2007. Take this journey with us.) The 452nd Air Mobility Wing started as...
 
 

Official says: Tobacco use harms military readiness

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Because tobacco use is harmful to military readiness, the Defense Department has an added responsibility to curb its use, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs said today, noting that service members are more likely to use tobacco products than civilians. Tobacco use can lead to excess oral cavity disease and...
 

 
Photo courtesy of AFN
MC2(SW/AW)

AFN does Comic-Con, brings home the goods

Photo courtesy of AFNMC2(SW/AW) Stephen Hale interviews Adelaide Kane, who plays Mary, Queen of Scots, in the dramatic TV series Reign at the 2014 ComicCon International in San Diego, California. The American Forces Network is ...
 
 

Social media guidance on political campaigns, elections

Reservists on active duty for 30 or more days may generally express their personal views on public issues or political candidates via social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or personal blogs, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If a social media site/post...
 
 

Go After the OC!M

“If the only reason you’re avoiding taking on a challenge is because the idea scares you, then that’s the reason to take it on.” That line comes from Steve Farber’s The Radical Leap, a great little book on leadership that follows the journey of a man who stands at the edge of his future but...
 




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