Last night the world learned that a crack team of Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden. Pretty much every one who isn’t Osama thinks this a good thing. It brings to mind the tireless sacrifice that the men and women of our armed forces have given to protect us from a-holes like Bin Laden. Latinos are the largest minority group in the military, comprising 12% of the Armed Forces. So, in the spirit of patriotism and all that, we thought we’d honor a few of them with this list of famous Latino Medal of Honor winners. There have been 37 Latino Medal of Honor recipients. While it’s impossible to list all of the Latino men and women who have fought and died for their country, this list is a tribute to all of them and everyone else keeping us safe.
Private Silva has the distinction of being the first Latino Marine to receive the Medal of Honor as well as being the only Latino ever to be called France. He served in the Boxer Rebellion, protecting Americans and other foreign nationals from the Chinese Nationalist Boxers. In June of 1900, France helped take the city of Tientsin and, along with two other Marines, was able to protect a civilian compound from attack for two months! Life ain’t easy for a boy named France.
David served in the Army during World War I. All wars are horrible, but WWI had a special level of suck. The men fought in trenches, always under threat of mortar or poison gas attack. If you left the trench, you were probably going to die. When his superiors required crucial information as to the enemy’s whereabouts, David swam across the Meuse River under heavy fire and returned with the info. He drowned trying to get back after a second attempt across the river, but the intel he got undoubtedly saved lives.
This guy had huevos the size of bowling balls. Roy served in the Vietnam war as a Master Sergeant. On May 2, 1968, a reconnaissance squad was ambushed by the Viet Cong and they radioed for emergency evacuation. Three helicopters tried and were unable to get to the wounded men. Roy came on the fourth helicopter and jumped out of it WHILE STILL IN THE AIR. He then ran 75 meters to where the wounded men were. Roy got shot in the leg, face, and head but that didn’t stop him. He redirected the landing of the helicopter and led a barrage of return fire to allow it to land. He then carried the wounded men to safety. But he wasn’t. Roy returned and grabbed the dead body of the squad’s leader, along with the classified documents he was carrying, getting shot in the abdomen and receiving grenade shrapnel in his back in the process. The helicopter pilot was then killed, and Roy coordinated the air strikes that saved them all. The whole time he is limping around taking water to the other wounded men. As they were being extracted, he was shot again but was able to kill the VC that did it. Only when he was sure they got everyone out, did he allow the extraction team to take him to the hospital.
Ralph served as a Marine Corp Pfc. in Vietnam. He was part of two battalions that found themselves pinned down under heavy fire from a bunker. Instead of cowering in fear, however, he decided to take them out like a Latino Rambo. He charged the bunker and was repeatedly shot by snipers. He limped to the safety of a rock. At this point, most people would have run back to the battalion. Instead, Ralph ran to another rock and was shot a bunch of other times. He then CRAWLED to the bunker and threw in two grenades that killed the snipers and saved the battalions before succumbing to his wounds. Crawled, people.
Harold served in the Marine Corp in World War II. He participated in the battles of the Marshall Islands and Guam before finding himself on Guadalcanal. Harold was part of an eight-man forward observation team trying to lay down communication wire in enemy territory. As they were advancing, a Japanese grenade landed in the midst of the squad. Instead of letting his fellow soldiers die, Harold took off his helmet, put it on the grenade and threw himself on top of it. He took the full force of the blast and saved the rest of the team. That’s some action hero movie stuff right there. Would you throw yourself on a grenade to save your friends? We probably wouldn’t either. That’s why we’ll never be heroes.