Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Professor says 44 Latinos earned Medal of Honor

44 Latinos have earned Medal of Honor, professor says
MYSA by Elaine Ayala, eayala

Lino Garcia Jr., professor emeritus of Spanish literature at the University of Texas-Pan American, long has written about the history of Hispanics in the U.S. military.

This year, in time for Veterans Day, he has penned a new esssay on the subject that says the number of Latino Medal of Honor recipients now stands at 44. The first recipient was Joseph H. de Castro in 1863 for his service at Gettysburg.

His research also has revealed little known military facts, primarily that Hispanic — Spanish, Tejano, Mexican and North, Central and South American — soldiers have served in the U.S. armed forces from the American Revolution to the war in Afghanistan.

Garcia, an eighth-generation Texan, says that in the Civil War, 9,000 Hispanics served on both the Union Army and the Confederacy. The Union Army, in fact, organized 20 companies made up of Tejano Cavalry.

Hispanics also served with Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 and World War I. They served in huge numbers during World War II, which produced 13 Hispanic Medal of Honor winners, four of them from Texas. Lucien Adams of Port Arthur and Cleto Rodriguez of San Marcos were two of them.

The Korean War produced eight Latino Medal of Honor recipients, including two from Texas. The Vietnam War, in which a disproportionate number of Latinos served, had seven Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients, three from Texas. Among them was Roy P. Benavidez of Corpus Christi.

To honor them and all who served in the military, the U. S. Military Veterans Parade Association will put on its 12th annual Veterans Parade Saturday, Nov. 12. It will start at noon on Alamo Plaza, take a right on Commerce Street and end on San Saba downtown.

This year, the group will dedicate its annual event to the late Jose A. Hinojosa, a Korean War veteran and former POW. Hinojosa was among several former prisoners of war in the U. S. Military Veterans Parade Association, said President Delia A. Guajardo.

Visit the association’s site here, and read an older version of Professor Garcia’s Medal of Honor essay here.

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