Hero of Korean War awarded Bronze Star
In a ceremony touched with emotion and respect, a hero was remembered and honored at the Cayey armory. Second Lt. Manuel Rodriguez, Co. G, 65th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement while serving in the Korean War. The Bronze Star Medal was presented to his son Manuel as the late second lieutenant’s wife observed.
Brig. Gen. Antonio Vicens, commander of the 92nd Infantry Brigade (Separate), was on hand to present the medal.
“I continue to stress the accomplishments and sacrifice of those who served before us,” said Vicens. “By remembering the history of the 65th Infantry, our soldiers march towards a ready future.”
Maj. Jose D. Cintron, commander of the 1-65th Infantry Battalion. presented Mr. Rodriguez with a framed copy of the “Borinqueneers,” a commemorative painting of the 65th Regiment during the Korean conflict.
“This is a gesture of gratitude and respect on behalf of the past, present, and future members of the 65thInfantry Regiment,” said Cintron.
Mr. Rodriguez, who was two years old at the time of his father’s death, described the second lieutenant as told to him by his mother.
“My father was totally dedicated to his family and to his parents. He was somebody who cared about people,” said Rodriguez. He was humble, intelligent, patriotic and always very proud that he served in the Army.”
Second Lt. Rodriguez was awarded for his actions, which took place during the afternoon of October 27, 1952, on a hill referred to as “Jackson Heights”, in Korea. According to accounts, the roof of the bunker in which Second Lt. Rodriguez had established his command post caught fire as a result of an enemy mortar and artillery barrage. When nearby mortar ammunition ignited, he disregarded his personal safety during hostile fire to fight the flames. When several rounds of the mortar ammunition began to explode he remained for a considerable period of time in the hazardous area extinguishing the flaming ammunition until he was assured the flames were completely put out. Later, while moving along his men to check their safety, he was mortally wounded by incoming hostile mortar fire. The Army credits Lt. Rodriguez’ outstanding heroism and courage for the extinguishing of the flaming ammunition before any friendly personnel were injured.
At the closing of the ceremony, the hymn of the 65th Inf. Reg. was sung by the soldiers of the 1-65th Inf. Batt.
Written by PFC. Edward Robles, Army Public Affairs Office