Local News

Mar 18, 2014 8:29 AM by Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS

Local Veteran Receives Highest National Honor

CORPUS CHRISTI - While serving in Vietnam, one local veteran's unit ran into a larger force of communist troops.

His life-saving actions on that fateful day, nearly four decades ago, will finally be honored today.

Master Sergeant Jose Rodela will receive the nation's highest military award today, the Medal of Honor.

Rodela's Medal of Honor citation said that even though he was badly hurt by shrapnel, he risked his life to help his wounded troops.

He pushed his men into defensive positions, and after an 18-hour battle, they finally fought off the attackers.

Rodela said although serving with his men is the greatest honor he's ever had, it means a lot to be chosen.

"I'm glad that I've been selected. It's a beautiful thing, you know," said Rodela. "It goes in with you till the day you die."

A Pentagon review said many veterans, including Rodela, were initally denied the honor because of their Hispanic or Jewish heritage.

That's something Rodela's son just couldn't believe.

"That kind of broke my heart at first, when I first heard about it," said Albert Rodela. "But still...We're all still proud of him."

Rodela is one of twenty-four veterans being presented with the Medal of Honor this afternoon. Only three of those, including Rodela, are still alive today.

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