SFC Jose Rodela

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Medal of Honor recipient Jose Rodela was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, June 15, 1937.

He entered the U.S. Army in September 1955, at the age of 17.

Rodela is being recognized for his valorous actions on Sept. 1, 1969, while serving as the company commander in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. Rodela commanded his company throughout 18 hours of continuous contact when his battalion was attacked and taking heavy casualties. Throughout the battle, in spite of his wounds, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to attend to the fallen and eliminate an enemy rocket position.

Rodela retired from the Army in 1975. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Rodela received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Silver Clasp and one Loop, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Special Forces Tab, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation First Class, Republic of Vietnam Special Forces Honorary Jump Wings, Columbian Army Parachutist Badge.

We honor you, Jose Rodela.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @Army.mil)

1LT John Earl Warren

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Warren joined the U.S. Army from New York City in 1967.

On January 14, 1969, as a first lieutenant, Warren was commanding a platoon in Tây Ninh Province, Vietnam when the unit came under attack. During the fight, Warren fell on an enemy-thrown grenade to shield others from the blast. The action cost him his life.

His official citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) John Earl Warren, Jr. (ASN: 0-5347373), United States Army (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life while serving as a platoon leader with Company C (Mechanized), 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 14 January 1969. While moving through a rubber plantation to reinforce another friendly unit, Company C came under intense fire from a well-fortified enemy force. Disregarding his safety, First Lieutenant Warren with several of his men began maneuvering through the hail of enemy fire toward the hostile positions. When he had come to within six feet of one of the enemy bunkers and was preparing to toss a hand grenade into it, an enemy grenade was suddenly thrown into the middle of his small group. Thinking only of his men, First Lieutenant Warren fell in the direction of the grenade, thus shielding those around him from the blast. His action, performed at the cost of his life, saved three men from serious or mortal injury. First Lieutenant Warren’s ultimate action of sacrifice to save the lives of his men was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

We honor you, John Warren Jr.

(#Repost @Wikipedia)

CPT Jose Calugas Sr.

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Jose Calugas was a Philippine native as well as a World War II hero. Born in Leon, Iloilo, Philippines and left without a mother at the age of ten, he left high school to support his family. Calugas enlisted in the United States Army in 1930 and bean basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He then did additional training to become artilleryman and was later assigned to the 24th Artillery Regiment of the Philippine Scouts at Fort Stotsenburg, Pampanga before being moved to the 88th Field Artillery Regiment of the Philippine Scouts.

Calugas was the first Filipino to receive the Medal of Honor during WWII in 1945 and was presented the award by General George Marshall. Calugas voluntarily ran 1,000 yards to a newly bombed and shelled battery gun position to organize a volunteer squad and place the gun back into commission all while being shot at by Japanese artillery.  Because of his actions, Calugas earned his Medal of Honor as a Mess Sergeant with the 88th Field Artillery in the Philippine Scouts and was the only Filipino to do so.

We honor you, Jose Calugas Sr.

(#Submission by: Chambers Primary School Philippino Month Appreciation wall)

SFC Randall David Shugart

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Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader Gary Gordon, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position.

Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Sergeant First Class Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.

During his military service, SFC Randall David Shugart also served in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D)

Randall David “Randy” Shughart (August 13, 1958 – October 3, 1993) was a United States Army soldier of the special operations unit, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), also known as “Delta Force”. Shughart was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993.

We honor you, Randall Shughart.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @Airborne Ranger in the Sky)

MSG Gary Gordon

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25 years ago, 33-year-old Gary Gordon and 35-year-old Randy Shughart, both members of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta, were providing air cover for Rangers in Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu when a fellow Blackhawk helicopter was shot down. Gordon requested to be landed at the crash site to provide cover for the crew, but was denied permission. Seeing the hostile Somali crowds converging on the downed Blackhawk, he pressed his request until finally granted permission. Gordon and Shughart, armed each with only his own rifle and pistol, were dropped off at the crash site, and found pilot Michael Durant alive. There they formed a perimeter around him hoping for rescue that never came. Both men exhausted their ammunition and were killed saving Durant, who was taken alive as prisoner. Both men were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first ones awarded for action since Vietnam.

We honor you, Gary Gordon.

(Submission by: Miah Parry. #Repost @ASMDSS)

LT Nathan G Gordon

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Nathan G. Gordon, a Navy pilot who received the Medal of Honor for rescuing aviators in World War II, and who later became Arkansas’ longest-serving lieutenant governor, died Sept. 8, 2008 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock. He was 92 and had pneumonia and other ailments.

Mr. Gordon was a small-town lawyer in Arkansas when he enlisted in the naval air corps in 1941. He flew a Consolidated PBY Catalina, a so-called flying boat that could land on water and had twin engines mounted on a wing above the fuselage.

Mr. Gordon, then a lieutenant junior grade, flew in the Caribbean early in the war, protecting convoys and searching for submarines. He was transferred to Midway Island in the Pacific in 1943 and later to a base in Australia.

He was part of the Black Cat squadron, so called because the airplanes were painted black and showed a cat’s jaws clamping down on a ship, and because the squadron often flew its patrol missions at night, sometimes dropping 1,000-pound bombs on Japanese ships from mast level.

On Feb. 15, 1944, Mr. Gordon and his crew received word that several B-25 bombers had been shot down while attacking Japanese positions near Kavieng harbor on the island of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea.

Piloting his aircraft, the Arkansas Traveler, in a driving rainstorm and under constant enemy fire, Mr. Gordon made three separate landings in rough seas to rescue nine crew members from rubber life rafts. He set his plane down with such force that rivets popped and welded seams began to come loose. He had to shut off both engines to keep the plane steady amid the 18-foot swells, as crew members pulled the fallen airmen out of the sea with ropes.

After the third rescue, Mr. Gordon had flown about 20 miles toward his base when the radio crackled with word that another B-25 crew had been downed. He turned the Arkansas Traveler back to Kavieng harbor to attempt his most difficult rescue of the day.

Because the crewmen were only 600 yards from shore, Mr. Gordon had to approach from overland, flying directly above entrenched Japanese positions at a mere 300 feet, braving artillery and small-arms fire all the way.

He set his plane down once more in the churning water, the swells shielding his bobbing plane from enemy guns. Six more U.S. aviators clambered aboard as Mr. Gordon restarted the engines. By then, his plane was badly waterlogged and dangerously overloaded, with 24 men, including the nine-man crew.

“The breakers could throw you 35 or 40 feet in the air,” Mr. Gordon told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 2002. “You had to keep the nose up till you reached takeoff speed of 55 knots, or the aircraft would flip and everybody likely would be killed.”

With crewmen bailing water with buckets, Mr. Gordon got the plane airborne and flew to the safety of a U.S. base.

His Medal of Honor citation praised Mr. Gordon’s final rescue, as he “again risked his life to set his plane down under direct fire of the heaviest defenses of Kavieng and take aboard 6 more survivors, coolly making his fourth dexterous takeoff with 15 rescued officers and men.”

Nathan Green Gordon was born Sept. 4, 1916, in Morrilton, Ark., where his father was a lawyer. He attended a military school in Tennessee and Arkansas Tech University before graduating from the University of Arkansas law school in 1939.

Returning to Arkansas as a war hero in 1946, Mr. Gordon was elected lieutenant governor and was re-elected to nine more two-year terms as a Democrat. His political career had little turmoil, except during the racial confrontations surrounding the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.

He retired from public office in 1967 and returned to his hometown to practice law. His wife of 49 years died in 1995. He had no children or other immediate survivors.

We honor you, Nathan Gordon.

(#Repost @The Mercury News)

CAPT Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.

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Thomas Hudner had no particular interest in airplanes when he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1946. He wanted only to serve aboard a ship. But in 1948, after he had been at sea for several months and had worked as a communications officer at Pearl Harbor for a year, he was ready for a new challenge and volunteered for flight training. He was briefly stationed in Lebanon before being assigned to the carrier USS Leyte as an F4U Corsair pilot.

By the fall of 1950, Lieutenant Hudner was flying combat missions in Korea. On December 4, he was one of a flight of six fighters sent out on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Korea. Hudner was wingman for a Navy flier named Jesse Brown, the son of a Mississippi sharecropper who had attracted a good deal of attention—and some discrimination—as the Navy’s first black pilot.

While strafing enemy positions at a low altitude, Brown’s plane was hit by antiaircraft fire. Smoking badly and without power, the aircraft was too low for Brown to bail out or clear the snow-covered mountains. Hudner followed Brown down, calling off a checklist to help prepare him for the crash landing.

Brown put his plane down in a wheels-up landing in a clearing below. The impact buckled the fuselage at the cockpit, and Hudner was certain that Brown was dead. To his amazement, Brown opened the canopy and waved weakly, but he appeared to be unable to free himself. Knowing that rescue helicopters had a long distance to travel, Hudner decided to help Brown get out of the plane himself. He didn’t ask permission from the flight leader because he knew it would be denied.

Hudner radioed, “I’m going in,” then dumped his ordnance, dropped his flaps, and landed wheels up, hitting the hilly area hard. He got out and struggled through the snow to get to the downed plane. Hudner saw that Brown’s right leg was crushed by the damaged instrument panel, and he was unable to pull him out of the wreckage.

Hudner kept packing snow into the smoking engine and talking to Brown as he drifted in and out of consciousness. When a U.S. helicopter arrived, the pilot worked with Hudner for forty-five minutes trying to get Brown out. They hacked at the plane with an ax, and even considered amputating Brown’s trapped leg with a knife. The snow packed on the bottom of their boots prevented them from getting any firm footing on the plane’s wing. As nightfall approached, bringing temperatures as low as thirty degrees below zero, it was clear that Brown was dead. Hudner hated to leave the body behind, but the helicopter pilot couldn’t fly in the mountainous terrain after dark. Reluctantly, the two men returned to base camp.

The next morning, reconnaissance showed that Brown’s body, still in the cockpit, had been stripped of clothing during the night by enemy soldiers. Because of the hostile forces in the area, it was impossible to retrieve it. The following day, the commander of the Leyte ordered four Corsairs to napalm the downed plane so that Brown could have a warrior’s funeral.

By February 1951, the Leyte was back in port in the United States. In mid-March, Hudner found out that he was to be the first American serviceman in the Korean War to receive the Medal of Honor. Daisy Brown, the widow of Jesse Brown (who had been posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross), was present when President Harry Truman put the medal around Thomas Hudner’s neck on April 13, 1951.

We honor you, Thomas Hudner Jr.

(#Repost @Medal of Honor Speakout)