Alfred V Rascon
Alfred was born on the 10th of September, 1945 in Chihuahua, Mexico and his family, himself and his family, emigrated to the United States in search of a better life. The moved to Oxnard, California, which is where he would go to school and graduated from high school in 1963. He also enlisted in the US Army in 1963 and went to Fort Ord in California for his Basic Training. Alfred then went to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for his basic and specialist medical training, which once completed he volunteered for airborne training at Fort Benning in Georgia. Soon after, Alfred was stationed in Okinawa with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and his unit then deployed to the Republic of Vietnam in May of 1965. He was a medic for a platoon of paratroopers that were the first major ground combat unit of the US Army to enter War Zone D and destroy enemy base camps. It was his actions here that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The citation reads:
Specialist Four Alfred Rascon, distinguished himself by a series of extraordinarily courageous acts on March 16, 1966, while assigned as a medic to the Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate). While moving to reinforce its sister battalion under intense enemy attack, the Reconnaissance Platoon came under heavy fire from a numerically superior enemy force. The intense enemy fire from crew-served weapons and grenades severely wounded several point squad soldiers. Specialist Rascon, ignoring directions to stay behind shelter until covering fire could be provided, made his way forward. He repeatedly tried to reach the severely wounded point machine-gunner laying on an open enemy trail, but was driven back each time by the withering fire. Disregarding his personal safety, he jumped to his feet, ignoring flying bullets and exploding grenades to reach his comrade. To protect him from further wounds, he intentionally placed his body between the soldier and enemy machine guns, sustaining numerous shrapnel injuries and a serious wound to the hip. Disregarding his serious wounds he dragged the larger soldier from the fire-raked trail. Hearing the second machine-gunner yell that he was running out of ammunition, Specialist Rascon, under heavy enemy fire crawled back to the wounded machine-gunner stripping him of his bandoleers of ammunition, giving them to the machine-gunner who continued his suppressive fire. Specialist Rascon fearing the abandoned machine gun, its ammunition and spare barrel could fall into enemy hands made his way to retrieve them. On the way, he was wounded in the face and torso by grenade fragments, but disregarded these wounds to recover the abandoned machine gun, ammunition and spare barrel items, enabling another soldier to provide added suppressive fire to the pinned-down squad. In searching for the wounded, he saw the point grenadier being wounded by small arms fire and grenades being thrown at him. Disregarding his own life and his numerous wounds, Specialist Rascon reached and covered him with his body absorbing the blasts from the exploding grenades, and saving the soldier's life, but sustaining additional wounds to his body. While making his way to the wounded point squad leader, grenades were hurled at the sergeant. Again, in complete disregard for his own life, he reached and covered the sergeant with his body, absorbing the full force of the grenade explosions. Once more Specialist Rascon was critically wounded by shrapnel, but disregarded his own wounds to continue to search and aid the wounded. Severely wounded, he remained on the battlefield, inspiring his fellow soldiers to continue the battle. After the enemy broke contact, he disregarded aid for himself, instead treating the wounded and directing their evacuation. Only after being placed on the evacuation helicopter did he allow aid to be given to him. Specialist Rascon's extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire, his heroism in rescuing the wounded, and his gallantry by repeatedly risking his own life for his fellow soldiers are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Alfred was wounded so badly that he had actually been read his last rites that day. He was transferred to Johnson Army Hospital in Japan and spent six months recovering and for some reason, his nomination for the Medal of Honor did not go through and he instead received the Silver Star. Alfred was also discharged from active duty Army in May and remained in the Army Reserves. He was able to attend college and also became a naturalized US citizen in 1967.
Alfred returned to active duty Army and graduated from Infantry Officers Candidate School in 1970 and commissioned as a second lieutenant. He returned to Vietnam as a military advisor for his second deployment and several years later, was discharged from active duty as a captain. While in the Army Reserve, Alfred accepted the position of US Army military liaison officer in the Republic of Panama, as well as several positions within the Department of Justice. Once his time in the Reserve was up, Alfred attended a 173rd Airborne Brigade reunion and his comrades learned that he had never received the Medal of Honor. Former platoon members took action and with the help of Congressman Lane Evans from Illinois, a packet with information on Alfred was given to President Clinton in 1997. The Pentagon was convinced to reopen the case and on the 8th of February, 2000, Alfred received the Medal of Honor from President Clinton in a ceremony at the White House.
Two years later, Alfred was confirmed by the US Senate as the 10th director of the Selective Service System under President Bush, which he served as until 2003. Alfred returned to the Army Reserve on the 1st of September, 2002 as a major in the Army Medical Service Corps. He served in both Afghanistan and Iraq as the individual mobilization augmentee to the Surgeon General's Office until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 2008. The Army renamed their medic training school at Fort Campbell the Alfred V Rascon School of Combat Medicine and Alfred Velazquez Rascon currently resides in Laurel, Maryland with his family.