Engineer Soldier Awarded Hawaii Medal of Honor
May 5, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- (Apr. 30, 2010) -- Family, friends, Soldiers, and loved ones honored the late Staff Sgt. Oscar D. Medina at the 84th Engineer Battalion headquarters here, as his spouse was given the Hawaii Medal of Honor on his behalf, Apr. 30.
"Everyone here, I thank you for doing this for Oscar," said Beate Medina, wife of Staff Sgt. Oscar Medina. "I know in my heart that this would be a proud moment for Oscar."
Medina, a construction equipment repairman, deployed to Iraq in January of 2004 with the 84th Eng. Bn., and was on patrol on May 1, when his convoy was ambushed. Medina and his Soldiers fought the enemy valiantly, but the 32-year-old Medina was killed from the fusillade of rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for valor.
"What constitutes a hero'" asked guest speaker Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. "(Medina) was a young man who wasn\'t born in America, but cherished this country so much that he made the decision to selflessly serve as an American Soldier. Staff Sgt. Medina displayed uncommon heroism as his convoy was attacked during that patrol in Iraq....he was killed during the firefight, and he's buried in Punchbowl Cemetery here in Honolulu."
The Hawaii State Legislature conceived the Hawaii Medal of Honor in 2004 as a way to express their deep appreciation to the loved ones of military members who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation. State Representative Mark Takai was on hand for the ceremony, and thanked Beate for traveling all the way to Hawaii from Texas for the ceremony.
"With this medal comes the recognition that you and your family will always be members of our o'hana," Takai said. "On behalf of my 75 colleagues in the state legislature, and all the people in Hawaii, thank you, Beate, for your service and sacrifice."
Medina, a native of Cali, Columbia, moved to the United States when he was eight years old. He was raised in Chicago, and joined the Army in 1992. Soldiers who knew him said he was an incredible Soldier and a warrior.
"I was with (Medina) when he was killed, and there are about five or six of us left in the unit who knew him," said Staff Sgt. Adam Wahineokai, a native of Kane'ohe, Hawaii. "Oscar was very motivated, loved being happy and cheering people up. We could always count on him to put a smile on our faces."
Medina is survived by his wife and son, Daniel Vargas.