Local News

Mar 17, 2014 5:12 PM

Corpus Christi Native Will be Awarded Medal of Honor

CORPUS CHRISTI - A graduate of Miller High School is about to become one of the latest recipients of the Medal of Honor.

Retired Army Master Sergeant Jose Rodela will be presented with this nation's highest honor for valor in combat for his actions during the Vietnam War.

Rodela enlisted in the Army in 1955 right after his high school graduation. He served in the special forces where he commanded a company of Cambodians. He's being honored for his actions in September 1969 when his company came under attack by a superior North Vietnamese force.

Despite being wounded by shrapnel, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to help his wounded troops. He pushed his men into defensive positions where they were able to fend off the attackers during an 18-hour long firefight.

Rodela credits the survival of his company to his advanced knowledge of first aid techniques. Thirty-three of his men were wounded and eleven died.

"I'm glad I've been selected. It's a beautiful thing, it goes with you until the day you die," says Rodela of receiving the honor.

He's a recipient of the the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, among many other decorations.

Rodela now lives in San Antonio.

The nomination for Rodela's Medal of Honor comes from a Pentagon review of all nominations after claims service members were passed over due to Hispanic or Jewish heritage.

A total of 24 men will receive the award on Tuesday from President Obama. Unfortunately, only three of the nominees are still alive.

For more information on the Medal of Honor nominees: http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/valor24/

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