Medal of Honor Recipient 2-8-2000
"About 34 years after a bloody incident in
Vietnam, Army Medic Spc4 Alfred Rascon
was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions taken to save 3 wounded comrades
during a furious firefight, himself taking grenade shrapnel and a bullet meant for them.
The names of those comrades are: Ray Compton, 55, his former Platoon Sergeant
(Who recommended Mr Rascon for the MOH, but for some reason the recommend-
ation got tangled in Red Tape); then Pfc Neil Haffey, and then Pfc Larry Gibson.
Miles of Red Tape had to be cut to
receive the MOH, and it was through the
assistance of men in his platoon, plus the help of the soldiers he rescued, that the
award was finally bestowed upon Mr Rascon in the White House. In presenting
the Medal of Honor, Mr Clinton said: "On that distant day, in that faraway place,
this man gave everything he had, utterly and selflessly, to protect his platoon mates".
As he received the medal earned for his heroic action in Military Service, Mr .
Rascon smiled and fought to keep his composure before an audience of military
leaders, lawmakers, and Vietnam War Veterans. Rascon, now 54 years old,
became the 3430th Person and the 39th Hispanic American, and only the third
Mexican immigrant to win the nation's highest military honor."
Above - Cleveland Plain Dealer 2/9/2000
(Partially quoted from by Lisa Hoffman
of Scripps Howard Services, see below for a more detailed artticle by her!)
The following are other Articles I found
concerning Alfred Rascon; they have
some redundancy, however there are enough differences in the articles to be
worthy of mention!
Here's More By Randall Mikkelsen from Reuters News Service
"WASHINGTON — A Mexican-born U.S. soldier who threw himself on
comrades to shield them from grenade blasts during "10 minutes of pure hell"
in Vietnam received America's highest military honor Tuesday.
Alfred Rascon, an Army airborne medic during the Vietnam War, was awarded
the Medal of Honor by President Clinton in a White House ceremony attended
by soldiers whose lives he saved in a battle on March 16, 1966, and who
campaigned for his belated recognition.
"This man gave everything he had, utterly and selflessly, to protect
mates and the nation he was still not yet a citizen of," Clinton said at the award
ceremony. "Thank you for reminding us that being an American has nothing to
do with the place of your birth, the color of your skin, the language of your parents,
or the way you worship God . . . it comes straight from the heart," Clinton said.
Rascon, in an Army dress uniform, asked his eight platoon mates at the
to stand, and several responded with a misty-eyed, thumbs-up salute. "What you
see before you is common valor that was done every day," Rascon said.
"I'm deeply grateful to be here."
Clinton has often used ceremonies honoring Americans for their
to underscore his theme of social tolerance. He said Tuesday about one-fifth of
the more than 3,400 Medal of Honor recipients since 1861 have been immigrants,
as are 60,000 current members of the military. Rascon became a citizen in 1967.
Rascon, 54, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and emigrated as a child with
family to California. Enlisting at age 17 with, Clinton said, an intention to "give
something back to this country," Rascon joined the first Army combat unit sent
to Vietnam, the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
It was in a helicopter assault by the unit that Rascon performed the feats
won him recognition on Tuesday. "In his words, it was '10 minutes of pure hell,' "
Clinton said. Rascon's platoon was caught up in a firefight while trying to help
another platoon that was pinned down. Rascon was hit by a bullet that ripped
along his back near his spine while he tried to help a fatally wounded soldier
lying in the open on a trail, then braved enemy fire to bring ammunition from
the soldier to another machine gunner, Larry Gibson. A grenade landed near
Rascon, ripping open his mouth. When another grenade landed near fellow
soldier Neil Haffey, Rascon threw himself on him and absorbed the blast with
his own body. He did the same to protect squad sergeant Ray Compton.
"Then, barely able to walk, bleeding from his ears and nose, he ran
a machine gun that the enemy was about to capture. The extra firepower kept
the enemy from advancing, and Alfred Rascon saved his platoon," Clinton said.
Rascon left active duty in 1976, after a second Vietnam tour, this time as
officer. He currently works as inspector general of the U.S. Selective Service
Although Rascon had been recommended for the award shortly after the
the paperwork had gone astray."
More: Medal Recipient Lauded for 'Rare Quality'
By Steve Vogel Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, February 9, 2000:
Alfred Rascon, a soft-spoken Army medic who saved his platoon during a
firefight in a Vietnamese jungle 34 years ago, was awarded the nation's highest
honor yesterday by President Clinton at an emotional White House ceremony.
The Howard County resident received the Medal of Honor as teary-eyed Army
mates, who credit their lives to Rascon and fought for years to get him the
honor, looked on.
"The honor's not really mine," said Rascon, wearing his Army
and recognizing his platoon mates after Clinton draped the medal around his
shoulders. "It ends up [belonging to] those that were with me that day."
Yesterday's ceremony climaxed a story of an extraordinary act of heroism
fell afoul of bureaucracy.
"Under any circumstances, a Medal of Honor ceremony is an event of
importance," Clinton told an East Room audience packed with military leaders,
Cabinet secretaries and members of Congress, as well as Rascon's wife, Carol,
and children, Amanda, 11, and Alan, 8. "Today it is especially so, for the rare
quality of heroism on display that long-ago day in 1966 [and] for the long,
patient wait for recognition."
Rascon, 54, who serves as inspector general for the Selective Service
in Arlington, was not even a U.S. citizen that day. The native of Chihuahua,
Mexico, was raised by immigrant parents in the town of Oxnard, north of
Los Angeles. Rascon joined the Army as a way to pay back his adopted country.
"You have taught us once again that being American has nothing to do
place of birth, racial, ethnic origin or religious faith," Clinton said. "It comes
straight from the heart. And your heart, sir, is an extraordinary gift to your country."
Rascon's unit, a reconnaissance platoon for the 173rd Airborne Brigade's
Battalion, 503rd Regiment, was moving forward through the jungle on March 16,
1966, in Long Khanh Province to assist a besieged battalion when it was itself
ambushed. In the intense firefight that followed, Clinton noted, "Alfred was
Hearing cries from the wounded and ignoring orders to stay put, Rascon
through machine gun fire and grenade blasts and began treating wounded soldiers.
Twice he threw himself on top of other soldiers to shield them from incoming
grenades, and each time was himself hit by shrapnel.
Despite his wounds, Rascon managed to retrieve an abandoned machine gun
and ammunition. "The extra firepower kept the enemy from advancing, and
Alfred Rascon saved his platoon," Clinton said.
Rascon's own wounds were so serious that he was given last rites, Clinton noted.
Sgt. Ray Compton, one of the soldiers Rascon saved, recommended that
receive the Medal of Honor. But the paperwork never advanced for consideration.
When platoon members learned of the oversight a decade ago, they began a long
campaign to get Rascon the medal. Initial efforts were rejected because too much
time had passed.
Rascon's fellow soldiers received a salute from Clinton, who credited them
battling red tape to get Rascon's medal. "His platoon mates persisted, showing
as much loyalty to him as he showed to them," Clinton said.
At Rascon's home in Laurel on Monday evening, "sky soldiers"
from the 173rd
Airborne Brigade gathered for food and drinks. It was the first time some had
seen each other since Vietnam, and there were shouts and ribbing as new faces
walked into the kitchen.
"It's the homecoming we never had," said Larry Gibson, the
who used the ammunition retrieved by Rascon to hold off the enemy, who flew
in from Washington state.
"There's a bond when something like that happens," Gibson said.
"I don't know
if winning the Super Bowl or World Series can come close to the bond we feel."
They laughed at photographs showing them as much younger, in some cases
much thinner, than the 50-plus-year-old men in the living room. But there
was a sadness, too, a realization that the men in the photographs were very
young to have experienced what they did.
"The war's with them every day," said Carol Rascon. "What I
think is great is
that they can still laugh."
Earlier that day, several of them had gone with Rascon to the Vietnam
Memorial for a private visit. On one of the panels, they found the names of Pfc.
William Thompson, a machine gunner whom Rascon tried unsuccessfully to save,
and Pfc. Jerry Lewis, a carrot-topped kid killed instantly by a grenade in the same
"I look at my kids and see what I have, and I owe it all to Al," Compton said. ::"
Another Fantastic Story with details of Alfred Rascon's Actions,
written on Veteran's Day 1999:
Medal of Honor for Vietnam Medic From Md.
By Steve Vogel Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, November 11, 1999
Rascon did that day a third of a century ago when his Army platoon was pinned
during a fierce firefight in a Vietnamese jungle. Rascon, a medic, dashed through machine gun fire
and grenade blasts to treat the wounded. Twice he jumped on top of wounded soldiers to save them
from grenades, taking the shrapnel himself. He was shot as he shielded another soldier. A grenade
exploded in his face, but he raced forward to retrieve an abandoned machine gun, saving the platoon
from being overrun.
Rascon's actions on March 16, 1966, are remarkable, even by the standards
of the Medal of Honor.
But getting Rascon the medal has been a battle in itself after the original recommendation that he
receive it was lost and efforts to correct the oversight foundered for years in the Pentagon bureaucracy.
Now, on Veterans Day, Rascon is on the verge of receiving the Medal of
Honor. Papers were sent
this week to President Clinton to award the nation's highest military honor to Rascon, who was born
into poverty in Mexico and now serves as inspector general for the Selective Service System in Arlington.
Rascon, a 54-year-old soft-spoken Laurel resident with an easy wit, is
uncomfortable about the pending
honor. "It has nothing to do with me," said Rascon, forever known as "Doc" to his fellow soldiers.
"It's just a matter of me doing what I had to do that day, like any other day. It just so happens it was
a bad day."
But to Ray Compton and Neil Haffey, platoon mates who with other veterans
pushed for years for
Rascon's medal, it is a personal matter, as personal as it gets.
"I have a beautiful wife. I have four children and four
grandchildren," Haffey said. "I wouldn't have
any of that without Doc. I was dead."
Compton said: "You have to pay your debts. If you feel like you owe somebody your life, it's forever."
It was a debt Rascon figured he owed that prompted him to join the Army.
Not long after he was born
in 1945, his parents left the Mexican state of Chihuahua for California, where they worked as laborers
and raised their only child in the town of Oxnard, north of Los Angeles.
There was no money for college, so Rascon badgered his parents to sign an
age waiver and let him
enlist in the Army at 17. Though not citizens, Rascon and his family were legal permanent residents,
and he had always thought of himself as an American. This was how he could pay his country back.
After finishing jump school and being trained as a medic, Rascon was sent
to Okinawa in 1964 to join
the 173rd Airborne Brigade, created the previous year as a fire brigade for Southeast Asia.
In May 1965, it was the first Army combat unit sent to South Vietnam.
For Rascon, at 19 a kid like the other paratroopers, there was no
foreboding, only excitement.
Almost immediately, the 173rd was engaged in deadly search-and-destroy missions, and Rascon's
unit – the reconnaissance platoon for the headquarters company of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Regiment –
was in the thick of it.
In March 1966, the 173rd was launched on Operation Silver City, a
helicopter assault aimed at clearing
the enemy from an area near the Song Be River in Long Khanh Province.
The platoon awoke March 16 to the sounds of a massive firefight in the
distance. The brigade's 2nd
Battalion had been surrounded by a reinforced North Vietnamese Army regiment and was being attacked
from all directions. The fighting was desperate – according to soldiers, the NVA chained machine gunners
to trees to ensure they would fight until the bitter end.
The 1st Battalion was sent to assist, and the recon platoon hurried toward the battle.
After several hours, Compton, the squad sergeant and point man, brought
the recon platoon to a halt.
Through the thick jungle, he'd spotted enemy soldiers about 20 yards ahead, nearly close enough to spit
on. They were NVA regulars, wearing dark green uniforms with khaki pants and pith helmets. Compton
reported the possible ambush to the platoon commander.
Haffey, a private first class, was ordered to fire his grenade launcher at
the NVA position. The North
Vietnamese responded with a ferocious barrage from machine guns and rifle grenades. To Haffey, it
looked like it was snowing fire.
Rascon could hear cries for a medic from up front, about 25 yards in front
of the main body of the platoon.
Rascon started forward and kept going despite calls from Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Cooke, the platoon
commander: "Stay down and keep out of the way, Doc, or you're going to get killed."
As he edged forward, Rascon saw that Pfc. William Thompson, a machine
gunner, had been hit and
was lying exposed on a trail, next to his M-60 machine gun and two boxes of extra ammo. Rascon
reached Thompson and lay behind him, unable to get to his wounds. He could feel Thompson quivering
as he was hit again by enemy fire.
Rascon crawled over Thompson, putting his own body in the path of the
incoming fire. Almost immediately,
Rascon was hit by shrapnel from a grenade. Then he felt a stinging pain, as if someone were slapping him.
A bullet had hit him in the hip, ripped through him parallel to his spine and come out by his shoulder blade.
Rascon dragged Thompson off the trail. By the time they reached the cover of the jungle, the soldier was dead.
Behind him, Rascon could hear Pfc. Larry Gibson, the other machine gunner,
yelling that he was running
out of ammunition. Gibson was bleeding, and Rascon crawled over to check him. "Get the hell out of here,
Doc. I'm okay," Gibson said.
But the wounded medic moved forward to Thompson's body. Rascon grabbed two
bandoliers of machine
gun bullets from Thompson's chest and brought them to Gibson, who was able to resume life-saving covering fire.
As Rascon searched for more soldiers to treat, a grenade exploded in front
of him, throwing shrapnel in his
face. Seconds later, another grenade ripped his mouth open.
"Oh, my God, my face is gone," Rascon thought. He could see
blood spurting out, and it scared him.
But he calmed himself. "You've got to take care of your people," he thought.
Rascon saw Haffey get hit, and then several grenades landed near him.
Haffey saw the grenades, too, and resigned himself to death. Then he felt
a body on top of him.
It was Doc. The grenades exploded, and Rascon took the blast. Rascon could hardly walk, and the
pain was intense, but it seemed irrelevant. He began treating Haffey's bullet wound. "Neil, you're
going to be okay," Rascon said. "Everything's fine. We're all going to make it."
Compton had seen Rascon jump on top of Haffey and catch the blast. He knew
they both must have
been killed. But suddenly Rascon was next to him, examining Compton's wounds. Then he felt Rascon's
weight on top of him, knocking him to the ground.
Rascon had spotted another grenade coming in and had jumped on top of
Compton. The medic had lost
his hearing and was bleeding from the ears and nose. Rascon started to check Compton's condition.
The sergeant was incredulous. "Get your ass to the back," Compton gasped.
Rascon instead turned to Thompson's machine gun, still lying in the trail
with two boxes of ammunition.
NVA soldiers were inching toward it.
Haffey saw a blur run by; it was Doc. He was back on the trail, exposed to
enemy fire, dragging the
machine gun and ammunition off the trail so another soldier could take them.
With the additional firepower, the tide turned. The NVA broke off the fight, and the jungle grew quiet.
Rascon treated the wounded until others forcibly dragged him back. They
reached a clearing zone,
where the wounded and dead were being flown out in helicopters. Rascon's arms were draped over the
shoulders of two soldiers. Rascon noticed a photographer coming toward him. He didn't want to be embarrassed.
"I'm going to walk," Rascon told the soldiers.
Rascon walked two or three steps, then fell back in the arms of his fellow soldiers.
"Common valor was a common-day issue there every day, especially on
that day," Rascon says. "Everybody
was a hero, because everyone was doing whatever they had to do to try to save their friends."
But those who saw Rascon's actions that day had no doubt that he merited the Medal of Honor.
"It did not surprise me, because that was Doc," said Gibson. "What surprised me was that he lived through it."
Compton recommended Rascon for the medal within days of the action, but in
the confusion of the
escalating war, it was not advanced up the chain of command. Instead, Rascon received the Silver Star.
Rascon was evacuated to Japan and underwent months of treatment for wounds
that pain him to this day.
He went to school, earning a commission as an officer, and rejoined the Army in 1969, volunteering in 1972
for a second tour in Vietnam as an adviser.
After leaving the Army, Rascon settled in Maryland in 1983 and began a law
enforcement career with
various Justice Department agencies. He met his wife, Carol, at Justice, and they have raised two
children, Amanda, 11, Alan, 8.
It was not until the early 1990s, when he began contacting his old platoon
mates, that Rascon learned
he had been nominated for the Medal of Honor.
"How does it feel to be a Congressional Medal of Honor winner?"
Compton asked him in their first
conversation since leaving Vietnam.
"I don't know," Rascon replied.
Compton was outraged. "It's almost like what he did for us went unnoticed," he said.
Compton located other platoon members, including Haffey and Gibson, and
they went to work
resubmitting the nomination.
They ran into resistance from the Army Decorations Board, which, following
regulations, turned it down
because too much time had passed.
Eventually, Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.), an advocate for Vietnam veterans,
took up the case, along with the
Society of the 173rd Airborne Association.
Evans was frustrated with the Pentagon's refusal to reconsider cases with
obvious merit or serious
errors in processing.
"The Pentagon saw Al Rascon's case as setting a precedent they didn't
like, and they were going to
fight it every step of the way," Evans said.
Evans pushed the case to the White House, handing Clinton a package of
material about the case at
a social function in 1997.
Support for Rascon's case built as higher-ranking Army officials reviewed
a fuller account of the action.
Finally, the Pentagon recommended in May that Rascon receive the medal, and Defense Secretary
William S. Cohen approved the measure last week. */Remember this is the week before Veteran's Day 1999!-"NightScribe" /*
Compton, Haffey, Gibson and other members of the platoon plan to be
present later this year when
Rascon receives the medal. Duty, honor and country will have come full circle.
"These guys were not going to give up," Rascon said. "Most
of all, it's the honor of how much they
care for me. That, to this day, dumbfounds me."
"Awesome Folks, this is truly Awesome!!!!"-Nightscribe
Here is an Article from the "Star Online":
Red tape trail leads to Medal of Honor
OXNARD ORIGINS: Buddies witness as comrade gets award for heroic deeds.
By Lisa Hoffman, of Scripps Howard News Service Wednesday February 9, 2000
WASHINGTON -- On a single bloody morning early in the Vietnam War, Army
Rascon, formerly of Oxnard, shielded three wounded comrades with his body during a furious
firefight, taking grenade shrapnel and a bullet meant for them.
On Tuesday, nearly 34 years and miles of red tape later, Rascon received
the Medal of Honor
at a White House ceremony, thanks to the efforts of two of those buddies and others in his
platoon who wanted to see "Doc" finally get the recognition he so valiantly earned.
"On that distant day, in that faraway place, this man gave everything
he had, utterly and
selflessly, to protect his platoon mates," President Clinton said, as Rascon smiled slightly
and fought to keep his composure before an audience of the nation's highest military
leaders, lawmakers and Vietnam War veterans.
Rascon became the 3,430th person, the 39th Hispanic-American and only the
immigrant to win the nation's highest military honor.
As nine of his former platoon mates watched proudly, the soft-spoken
Rascon dismissed his
acts as nothing more than "common valor that was done every day." Any honor belongs to
those he served with, said Rascon, 54.
Don't tell that to Ray Compton, 55, Rascon's former platoon sergeant and
now a district
manager for Ralston Purina in Evansville, Ind. Compton was one of the wounded soldiers Spec.
4 Rascon shielded from enemy machine-gun fire that day. The other soldier present at the
White House on Tuesday was then-Pfc. Neil Haffey, now a firefighter in East Orange, N.J.
"It's because of him I'm here today," said Compton, who soon
after the battle recommended
Rascon for the nation's highest military honor.
But Rascon, who eventually went back to Vietnam for another tour and now
general for the U.S. Selective Service System in Washington, never received it. Clinton
said the recommendation somehow "got lost in a thicket of red tape."
When Rascon's buddies learned six years ago that he had been overlooked,
they launched a
campaign to get him that recognition. With the help of Rep. Lane Evans, D.-Ill., who buttonholed
Clinton at a social event and lobbied the president on Rascon's behalf, the Army last year agreed.
Rascon traveled a long, hard road to the East Room and the award.
Born in poverty in 1945 in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Rascon grew up
in Los Angeles and
Oxnard, where his parents emigrated to work as laborers shortly after he was born. With no
money for college, Rascon's parents eventually gave in to Rascon's wishes and let their only
child enlist in the Army at 17.
Not yet an American citizen, Rascon trained to be a paratrooper and a
medic. In 1965, as part
of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the first Army combat outfit to go to South Vietnam, Rascon's
unit was the reconnaissance platoon for the headquarters company of the 1st Battalion,
503rd Regiment. They saw heavy combat from the start. He was just 20.
On March 16, 1966, the platoon was part of Operation Silver City to roust
the enemy from a
key river area in Long Khanh province. Coming upon enemy soldiers, Compton ordered a
private to fire his grenade launcher at them. All hell broke loose in return.
Ignoring his platoon commander's orders to stay down and out of the way,
about 25 yards ahead, where machine gunner Pfc. William Thompson lay severely wounded
and exposed to enemy fire. Next to him were his M-60 machine gun and two boxes of ammunition.
As enemy fire spat all around, Rascon crawled over Thompson and put his
own body between the
badly wounded private and a North Vietnamese machine gunner. Rascon was hit immediately by shrapnel, then by a bullet that slammed into his hip, tore through him and exited his shoulder blade.
Undeterred, Rascon dragged Thompson toward jungle cover. But Thompson died before they made it.
Then, Rascon heard Pfc. Larry Gibson, also wounded, holler for more
ammunition. Rascon retrieved
the dead soldier's much-needed ammo and gave it to Gibson. Again, Rascon was hit by shrapnel,
this time in the face. Then another piece of metal struck, this time tearing a hole in his mouth.
Blood spurted around him.
Though petrified and barely able to walk, Rascon turned next to Haffey,
just as another grenade arced toward them and hit 5 feet away. Rascon threw himself on Haffey,
taking another hit of shrapnel meant for a buddy.
Then, as he tended to Compton's wounds, Rascon spotted another incoming
jumped on Compton to protect him.
Rascon braved more harm to retrieve Thompson's machine gun and ammunition.
firepower turned the tide of the battle, Clinton said at the ceremony.
Rascon refused any medical aid until he was loaded into an evacuation
helicopter. He was in
such bad shape that a chaplain gave him last rites.
But Rascon survived. Awarded the Silver Star and other combat medals, he
left the Army in
May 1966, went to college for a bachelor's degree in business administration, and became a
U.S. citizen in 1967.
Soon after, he signed up for Army officer candidate school and was
commissioned a second
lieutenant in 1970. He returned for a second tour in Vietnam.
Once retired from the Army, Rascon worked for a variety of federal
then became the internal watchdog for the Selective Service.
He is married, has two children and lives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.
-- Lisa Hoffman is a reporter for Scripps Howard News Service.
WASHINGTON - His Army uniform aglow with ribbons and his eyes
trained on the floor, Alfred
Rascon seemed embarrassed to be at the White House yesterday receiving lavish praise -
much less America's highest military honor.
Only after President Clinton draped the Medal of Honor around his neck did
a smile play across
Rascon's face. He had glanced at the men he covered with his body in a Vietnamese jungle 34 years
ago to absorb grenade blasts and shrapnel that would have killed them and almost killed him.
Within days of his battlefield bravery, Rascon was recommended for the
Medal of Honor by the
men he saved. The paperwork was lost, as Clinton said, "in a thicket of red tape," and Rascon
received the Silver Star instead.
"The honor is not really mine," Rascon said. "It ends up
being those who were with me that day."
He asked the guys from his platoon to stand up, and they did, tears welling in their eyes.
The former Army medic accepted his medal and saluted the commander in chief who presented it.
It was a glorious moment long denied to Rascon, 54, the son of Mexican
joined the Army out of love for his adopted homeland.
Rascon was so badly wounded that last rites were administered. He
at an Army hospital in Japan and was discharged in May 1966.
Rascon went on to graduate from college and the Army's Infantry Officer Candidate School.
The reader may also enjoy the following, which is a sterling
example of the
heart of an Immigrant Patriot!
The following Testimony was provided to a Senate Subcommittee by Alfred Rascon last year:
"Testimony of Alfred Rascon concerning “The
Contribution of Immigrants to America’s
Armed Forces” before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration on May 26, 1999
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, had my parents not made the
difficult decision to immigrate
from Mexico to the United States, when I was a young boy, I would not be before you today.
I want to personally thank you Senator Abraham not only for this
opportunity but for other opportunities
in which you have highlighted the distinguished service to the country of immigrants in the military and
other fields. If it wasn’t for your initiatives many people would not be aware of the contributions of
immigrants, not only in the military but the contributions immigrants as a whole have made to the country.
So for this and for the many things you have done for immigrants, on behalf of immigrants across this
nation, I want to thank you.
Although by birth immigrants are from other nations, they have served and
continue to serve with pride
and great distinction in the U.S. armed forces. The U.S. military affords immigrants the opportunity to
demonstrate their commitment to this great nation, with some making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
When I began attending grade school in Southern California, I could not
speak a word of English.
I spent my youth wanting to assimilate into America. I gradually learned to speak English, even
without an accent. Learning English was a difficult task because other than in school, Spanish was
the language in my home and community.
Living near three military bases and watching conveys head for their port
of debarkation, on their way
to the Korean war, I developed a fascination with the military. In fact, at the age of seven, I made a
parachute and jumped off the roof of our home. In military airborne jargon, my chute had a total
malfunction and I streamed in, resulting in a broken wrist.
As soon as I graduated from high school, at the age of 17, I joined the
military. Being underage,
I pressured my parents into signing the age waiver. I volunteered to be a paratrooper, my first love.
My first bad jump, at the age of 7, did not deter me. As a Legal Permanent Resident of this great
country, I wanted to give back something to this country and its citizens, for the opportunities it had
given me and my parents."
Wonderful testimony from a Great Patriot!
Congressional Authority for the award was granted in Sect 553 of HR1401 as follows:
"SEC. 553. AUTHORITY FOR AWARD OF MEDAL OF HONOR TO ALFRED RASCON
FOR VALOR DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT. (a) Waiver of Time Limitations.--Notwithstanding
the time limitations specified in section 3744 of title 10, United States Code, or any other time limitation
with respect to the awarding of certain medals to persons who served in the Army, the President may
award the Medal of Honor under section 3741 of that title to Alfred Rascon, of Laurel, Maryland, for
the acts of valor described in subsection (b). (b) Action Described.--The acts of valor referred to in
subsection (a) are the actions of Alfred Rascon on March 16, 1966, as an Army medic, serving in the
grade of Specialist Four in the Republic of Vietnam with the Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters
Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), during a combat operation
known as Silver City." Note: HR1401 Bill Passed the Senate May 27, 1999. Attest: GARY SISCO,
Secretary. Amended via item 26 on June 8, 1999; Passed the House of Representatives June 14, 1999. Attest: JEFF TRANDAHL, Clerk.
Aug 6, 1999 Conference Report for S.1059 (2.9
Meg file, so I put the quote here)
Authorizing "Waiver of Time Limitations for Awards to certain persons":
"NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000"
SUBTITLE G--DECORATIONS, AWARDS, AND COMMENDATIONS
Waiver of time limitations for award of certain decorations to certain persons (sec. 561)
The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 551) that would waive the statutory time limitations
for the award of military decorations to certain individuals who have been recommended by the service
concerned for these awards. The House amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 551).
The Senate recedes with an amendment that would merge the two provisions so as to include all award
recommendations that have received a favorable recommendation from the service secretary concerned.
Authority for award of Medal of Honor to Alfred Rascon for valor during the Vietnam conflict (sec. 562)
The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 562) that would waive the statutory time limits and authorize
the President to award the Medal of Honor to Alfred Rascon, of Laurel, Maryland for valor during the
Vietnam conflict. The House amendment contained an identical provision (sec. 553). The conference
agreement includes this provision."
Oct 5 1999: Final Approval by the Senate results in Public
Law 106-65 /s.1059;
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000;
Subtitle G--Decorations, Awards, and Commendations: Applicable Sections:
Sec. 561. Waiver of time limitations for award of certain decorations to certain persons.
Sec. 562. Authority for award of Medal of Honor to Alfred Rascon for valor during Vietnam conflict.
Sec. 563. Elimination of current backlog of requests for replacement of military decorations.
I put the appropriate citation here from Publc Law 106-65: ST-G: Sec 562:
SEC. 562. AUTHORITY FOR AWARD OF MEDAL OF HONOR TO ALFRED RASCON
FOR VALOR DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT.
(a) Waiver of Time Limitations.--Notwithstanding the time limitations specified in section 3744
of title 10, United States Code, or any other time limitation with respect to the awarding of
certain medals to persons who served in the Army, the President may award the Medal of Honor
under section 3741 of that title to Alfred Rascon, of Laurel, Maryland, for the acts of valor described
in subsection (b).
(b) Action Described.--The acts of valor referred to in subsection (a) are the actions of Alfred Rascon
on March 16, 1966, as an Army medic, serving in the grade of Specialist Four in the Republic of
Vietnam with the Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry,
173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate), during a combat operation known as Silver City.
Special reference Infosite: Medal of Honor Citations
Albert Rascon's Citation, as rendered with the Medal of Honor, on Feb 8, 2000.
More Pictures of Rascon
Other Interesting MOH References:
1. Code of Federal Regulations: 32 CFR 578.4
2. United States Code: 10 USC Sections
Content Credits: Cleveland Plain Dealer 2/9/00 National News; U.S.
Senate Judiciary Page, House.Gov,
Deseret News, Star On Line, Philly News, and Washington Post.
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