Master Sgt. Jose Rodelo, U.S. Army, Retired, was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment during a private ceremony on Jan. 15, at VFW Post 8541, San Antonio, Texas, hosted by Maj. Gen. Eric P. Wendt, the commanding general of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg.
Master Sgt. Rodela was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, on June 15, 1937. In 1955, at the age of 17, he followed two friends and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He joined U.S. Special Forces in the early 1960s. The majority of his 20 years of service was spent in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
His first assignment with the Green Berets was with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), whose main area of operations was in Vietnam. Rising to the rank of sergeant first class, Rodela served with Detachment B-36 (MIKE FORCE), Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Rodela was the company commander of the only group of Cambodians integrated into III Corps Mobile Strike (MIKE) Force. He was not only the commander, but also responsible for recruitment and training for the company.
Master Sgt. Rodela retired from the U.S. Army in 1975 with 20 years of service. He joined the U.S. Post Office in San Antonio, Texas, working as a mail handler from 1976-1978.
Rodela was presented the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014, for his valorous actions on Sept. 1, 1969, while serving as the company commander in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. Rodela commanded his company throughout 18 hours of continuous contact when his battalion was attacked and taking heavy casualties. Throughout the battle, in spite of his wounds, Rodela repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to attend to the fallen and eliminate an enemy rocket position.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Rodela received the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf cluster, Air Medal with "V" Device, Army Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Silver Clasp and one Loop, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star, Korea Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Special Forces Tab, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with "60" Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation First Class, Republic of Vietnam Special Forces Honorary Jump Wings, Columbian Army Parachutist Badge.
Rodela resides in San Antonio.