Perhaps Sunday is the most fitting day for a story like this, and while it may not be some firestorm of breaking, controversial news, it is certainly important. Earlier this year, Army Pvt. Miguel A. Vera was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Korean War, leading to his giving the last full measure. This week, as Stars and Stripes reports with a full photo gallery, he was finally returned home with full honors and laid to rest at the sacred ground of Arlington.
Army Pvt. Miguel A. Vera was among 24 soldiers from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars who received the Medal of Honor in March after being previously overlooked because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds.
Vera, who was born in Puerto Rico, was just 17 when he joined the Army. He was serving as an automatic rifleman with Company F, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division in Chorwon, Korea, when he was killed at the Battle of Old Baldy on Sept. 21, 1952.
Even though he was suffering from injuries from a previous battle, Vera voluntarily left the aid station to join his unit in an assault on a well-fortified enemy position on a hill. When he and his men were with 20 yards of the spot, they were suddenly trapped by heavy mortar, artillery and small-arms fire, according to the official citation.
The company retreated, but Vera volunteered to stay behind to provide cover fire. When they returned later that morning, they found Vera dead in the same position, facing the enemy.
Vera’s nephew, Jose Ramon Rodriguez, a Marine veteran himself, received the flag. Full honors were rendered. Be sure to check out the S&S photos of this long overdue, wonderful event. Here’s just one of them.