SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — A 25th Infantry Division Soldier was recognized for his heroic actions during a Soldier’s Medal Award Ceremony, July 19, 2023.
The ceremony was held to honor U.S. Army Spc. Rene J. Rodriguez, an El Paso, Texas native and combat medic assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, for his acts of heroism on Oct. 20, 2022.
Leaving Schofield Barracks that afternoon, Rodriguez was heading to the North Shore to enjoy the weekend, when he noticed a group of bystanders outside of a coffee shop in Wahiawa, surrounding a woman being violently assaulted. With a bias for action and complete disregard for his own safety, Rodriguez made the split-second decision to intervene. Putting himself between the attacker and the woman, Rodriguez took the brunt of the attack allowing the woman to seek safety in his vehicle. Rodriguez was successfully able to protect the woman and get her to safety until law enforcement and emergency services arrived.
A witness of the events reported Rodriguez’s selfless act to his chain of command. Without contact with the witness, his chain of command would not have known about the incident.
“Without question, Spc. Rodriguez risked his life to save the life of another,” said U.S. Army Col. Robert Shaw, the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division commander. “Spc. Rodriguez did what was right, helping a Hawaiian woman he didn’t know. There were others there that day who did not act, but Rene Rodriguez did.”
“This honor is a testament to the bravery and sacrifice displayed by Soldiers who have come before me, as well as those who serve alongside me,” said Rodriguez. “Receiving the Soldier’s Medal is a humbling experience that reminds me of the values we hold dear as Soldiers: courage, selflessness and dedication to the greater good.”
Introduced in July 1926, the Soldier’s Medal is the highest Army individual decoration honor a Soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat event. Over 18,500 Soldiers have received the decoration since its inception.
“There are only 241 Soldiers in the Regular Army who’ve been awarded the Soldier’s Medal — about one-twentieth of 1 percent of all Soldiers on active duty,” said Shaw. “Spc. Rodriguez, as the citation reads, you are absolutely a great credit to our division and our Army, and we all owe you a debt of gratitude.”
In accepting the medal, Rodriguez thanked his family and leadership for their continued support.
“I am deeply grateful to my family for their love, understanding, and unwavering support throughout my military journey,” said Rodriguez. “I extend my sincere thanks to my mentors and leaders, whose guidance and wisdom have shaped me as a Soldier. I will continue to serve with dedication and uphold the values that this award represents.”
Rodriguez’s Soldier Medal citation reads as follows:
For heroism involving voluntary risk of life not involving conflict with an armed enemy while serving with the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. On October 20, 2022, in the vicinity of Wahiawa, Hawaii, Specialist Rene J. Rodriguez, with complete disregard for his own safety, swiftly moved to protect a woman enduring a violent assault. Recognizing the woman’s risk of serious injury or death, Specialist Rodriguez, with no regard for himself, moved through a crowd of bystanders observing the assault and intentionally positioned himself between the victim and the attacker. Using his body as a shield, he endured numerous strikes from the assailant while moving the woman into his vehicle in an effort to depart the scene. He continued to protect the woman until law enforcement arrived at the scene. Absent Specialist Rodriguez’s selfless act despite great danger to himself, the victim may have been grievously injured or killed. By his demonstrated heroism and gallantry in risking his life to save another, Specialist Rodriguez’s actions reflect great credit upon himself, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.