Pedro Rodríguez (soldier)
Master Sergeant Pedro Rodríguez c. 1979
Earned two Silver Star Medals in one week
|Born||January 3, 1912|
Lajas, Puerto Rico
|Died||October 19, 1999 (aged 87)|
Arlington National Cemetery
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/|| United States Army|
Army National Guard
|Years of service||1937–1979|
|Unit||65th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Korean War (DOW)
|Awards|| Silver Star (2)|
Master Sergeant Pedro Rodríguez (January 3, 1912 – October 19, 1999) was a U.S. Army soldier from Puerto Rico who earned two Silver Stars within a seven-day period during the Korean War. He is one of the few U.S. Army soldiers and perhaps the only Puerto Rican soldier other than Brigadier General Antonio Rodríguez Balinas, Second Lieutenant Vidal Rodriguez-Amaro, and Sergeant First Class Felix G. Nieves to receive more than one Silver Star during the Korean War. Rodríguez served in the 65th Infantry Regiment during both World War II and the Korean War; the 65th Infantry was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014.
Rodríguez was born Lajas, Puerto Rico into a poor family. Rodríguez did not have a formal education. His father owned an ox cart and earned a living by delivering goods to the town's merchants. Rodríguez rose early in the morning to help his father. Together they went to the railroad station, where they loaded the goods onto their ox cart and then delivered them. When he was 14 years old, his father died and he had to take over the ox cart and the financial responsibility of his family. The economic situation became so bad that in 1937, when he was 25 years old, he joined the Puerto Rico National Guard.
World War II
Rodríguez was assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment, the all Puerto Rican Regiment and was stationed in Panama. When World War II broke out, the 65th Infantry was sent to North Africa. On September 1944, his company landed in Marseilles, France, and marched north into Germany without any major incident.
After the war, the 65th Infantry was stationed in Puerto Rico. The 65th was activated to the U.S. Army was deployed to Korea attached to the 3rd Infantry Division, upon the outbreak of the Korean War on August 26, 1950. By the time the "Borinqueneers", as the 65th was known, reached Korea, Rodríguez had been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
- First Silver Star
Sgt. Rodríguez was a member of Company F and on March 24, 1951, he led his unit to secure Hill 476. A camouflaged enemy machine gun opened fire on them and Sgt. Rodríguez led a squad with fixed bayonets on an assault on the area from which the gunfire came from. The enemy fled leaving their supplies behind. For his actions, Sgt. Rodríguez was awarded his first Silver Star Medal.
- 2nd Silver Star Medal
A week later on March 31, his company was attacking Hill 398, near Choksong-Myon, when they came under an enemy mortar barrage. The enemy pinned down and inflicted heavy casualties on the lead platoon. Sgt. Rodríguez was ordered to assist the stalled unit and led his platoon in an assault that routed the enemy. Sgt. Rodríguez was awarded a second Silver Star Medal.
Silver Star citations
Other U.S. army soldier to receive more than one Silver Star for actions during the Korean War include First Lieutenant Romeo H. Bucknell Jr., First Lieutenant Smith B. Chamberlain, Second Lieutenant Robert H. Coldren, First Lieutenant Charles H. Fleming, Colonel David Haskell Hackworth, First Lieutenant Jerimiah V. Hayhurst, First Lieutenant Raymond W. King, Captain Edward A. Konek, Sergeant First Class Felix G. Nieves, Second Lieutenant Hans G. Olsen, Second Lieutenant Vidal Rodriguez-Amaro, Brigadier General Antonio Rodríguez Balinas, and Lieutenant Colonel Howard B. Sinclair.
Organization:HEADQUARTERS 3D INFANTRY DIVISION
G.O. # 196 – 17 June 1951
Organization:HEADQUARTERS 3D INFANTRY DIVISION
G.O. # 261 – 8 July 1951
MSG. Rodríguez retired from the Army with the rank of Master Sergeant and went to work as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Puerto Rico. In 1979, Rodríguez went to live at the Soldier's and Airmen's Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. In 1977, MSG. Rodríguez had a stroke and other medical complications including the loss of his left leg. MSG. Pedro Rodríguez died on October 19, 1999, at the age of 88, from a heart attack. He was buried with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery. He was married to Asuncion Toro with whom he had five children.
Military awards and decorations
Among Rodríguez's decorations were the following:
|Badge||Combat Infantryman Badge|
|1st Row||Silver Star|
|2nd Row||Purple Heart with three oak leaf cluster||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze service stars||World War II Victory Medal|
|3rd Row||National Defense Service Medal||Korean Service Medal||United Nations Korea Medal|
|4th Row||Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation||Meritorious Unit Commendation||Army Presidential Unit Citation|
Foreign Medal The Bravery Gold Medal of Greece was given by the Government of Greece to the 65th Infantry Regiment and to the members of the regiment who fought in the Korean War.
Congressional Gold Medal
|You can see a on YouTube|
On June 10, 2014, President Barack Obama, signed the legislation known as "The Borinqueneers CGM Bill" at an official ceremony. The Bill honors the 65th Infantry Regiment with the Congressional Gold Medal.
- "Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor. Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own"; by : Greg Boudonck; ISBN 1497421837 Search this book on .; ISBN 978-1497421837 Search this book on .
Other articles of the topics Puerto Rico AND World War II : Jaime Sabater Sr., César Luis González
Other articles of the topic Puerto Rico : UPR Law School Building, Puerto Rico Highway 690, Orlando Fernández, José L. Santiago, Evelio Otero Jr., Steven Ehricks, Humberto Acosta-Rosario
Other articles of the topic World War II : John Michael Bermingham, Donald W. Wolf, Paul G. Baker, Joseph Williams Vance Jr., Eugene Morland Key, Grady A. Dugas, M.D., Milton F. Pavlic
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- List of Puerto Ricans
- List of Puerto Rican military personnel
- 65th Infantry Regiment
- Puerto Ricans in World War II
- Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal
- Puerto Rico Herald
- Korean War Double Hero Reflects on Life
- Williams, Rudi (2004-03-25). "Home for Heros - Profiles". United States Department of Defense (defense.gov). Retrieved 2021-02-06.
- Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry
- "Silver Star - Korean War - Army, A-L". Retrieved 2021-02-12.
- Rodríguez's 1st Silver Star medal citation
- Rodríguez's 2nd Silver Star medal citation
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Obama honors Puerto Rican Infantry Regiment with Congressional Gold Medal, Washington Post, June 10, 2014.
- Dan Friedman, "Puerto Rico's Borinqueneers recognized with Congressional Gold Medal," New York Daily News, June 11, 2014.
- Obama awards Borinqueneers Congressional Medal of Honor, NBC News, June 10, 2014.
- Richard Payerchin, "President Obama to honor Army's Puerto Rican regiment the Borinqueneers," The Morning Journal, June 9, 2014.
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