Medal of Honor citation marker instills warrior ethos
June 30, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Company C, 264th Medical Battalion unveiled a Medal of Honor citation marker honoring retired Lt. Col. Alfred Rascon during a ceremony June 17.
â€śOne of the core competencies of our companyâ€™s mission is to instill warrior ethos into our Soldiers,â€ť said Capt. Edilberto Santos, company commander.
â€śWe are unveiling a Medal of Honor citation marker within the Charlie Company footprint. The purpose of such marker is akin to embedding the Army values in the Soldierization process.â€ť
The marker is placed next to a sidewalk outside the Company C headquarters. Santos said during their training, thousands of Soldiers will walk by, stop and read the citation.
â€śThey will learn of one example of how they are a part of the profession of Arms,â€ť the captain said.
â€śWhen I was deciding which Medal of Honor recipient citation to display, I came across one that moved me to my core,â€ť said Santos, who was in charge of selecting a citation for the marker. â€śAs I read the actions of one paratrooper platoon medic on March 16, 1966, I knew this was the one " then-Specialist Fourth Class Alfred Rascon.â€ť
â€śIt is a humbling experience to have something like that for me,â€ť said Rascon, who was the guest speaker for the unveiling ceremony. â€śIt does not reflect me, it reflects all Honor recipients.
Most of all, it represents the medics who have given their lives for what they do every day, to go out and take care who needs to be taken care of.â€ť
Rascon enlisted in the Army in 1963 and trained as a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston. In May 1965, his unit deployed to the Republic of Vietnam where his brigade was the first major ground combat unit to arrive.
Rasconâ€™s actions on the battlefield on March 16, 1966 earned him the nationsâ€™ highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
While assigned as a medic to the Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), his platoon came under heavy enemy attack and several Soldiers were wounded.
Ignoring directions to stay behind shelter until covering fire could be provided, Rascon tried to reach the severely wounded machine-gunner, but was driven back by gunfire. He finally jumped to his feet, ignoring flying bullets and exploding grenades, to reach his comrade.
To protect him from further injury, Rascon put his body between the wounded Soldier and enemy machine guns, sustaining numerous shrapnel injuries and serious wound to the hip.
Disregarding his serious wounds he dragged the Soldier from the fire-raked trail. Hearing the second machine-gunner yell that he was running out of ammunition, Rascon, under heavy enemy fire, crawled back to the wounded Soldier and stripped him of his bandoleers of ammunition, giving them to the machine gunner who continued his firing.
In searching for more wounded, he saw the point grenadier being wounded by small arms fire and grenades. Rascon reached him and again used his body to cover him, again absorbing the full force of grenade explosions, and once again critically wounded by shrapnel but saving the Soldierâ€™s life.
â€śI am very humbled, very honored to come back to this lovely warm place, and honored to receive a monument that reflects everybody, especially the combat medics,â€ť Rascon said.
After the Vietnam war, Rascon received a commission in the U.S. Army Reserve and was also appointed as the 10th director of the Selective Service System.
He returned to the Army in 2002 and served as a medical service officer with the Army Surgeon Generalâ€™s office and deployed to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.