ROK Drop

Avatar of BillBy on December 24th, 2013 at 8:08 am

Medal of Honor recipient Rudy Hernandez dead at 82

After his service in the Army was complete, Hernandez worked for the Veterans Administration.

Cpl. Rudy Hernandez cheated death on the battlefields of Korea 62 years ago. But the Medal of Honor recipient and Fayetteville resident couldn’t live forever. The 82-year-old Hernandez died early Saturday at Womack Army Medical Center, according to friends.Rodolfo Hernandez

Cpl. Hernandez was honored last month as grand marshal of Fayetteville’s Veterans Day Parade.

He rode the parade route in a Korean War-era jeep, waving alongside Gov. Pat McCrory.

But shortly thereafter, Cpl. Hernandez was diagnosed with cancer and several other ailments, said friend Steve Sosa, a retired Army major who serves as president of the Rudy Hernandez Chapter of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association.

Mr. Sosa said he last saw Cpl. Hernandez in the intensive care unit of Womack on Friday.

At the time, doctors were hopeful, he said. But Cpl. Hernandez passed away about 1:30 a.m.

“Rudy was quite a gentleman in war and peace,” Mr. Sosa said. “He was a soldier’s soldier. Everybody loved Rudy Hernandez.”

Cpl. Hernandez, the son of a Californian migrant farm worker, is survived by his wife, Denzil, and three children from an earlier marriage.

He moved to Fayetteville in March 1980 after spending his post-war years working as a veterans benefit counselor in Los Angeles.

Cpl. Hernandez was awarded the Medal of Honor in April 1952 by President Harry S. Truman in a ceremony held in the White House Rose Garden.

Following the award, Cpl. Hernandez became a counselor to wounded veterans of Korean and Vietnam wars, working for the Veterans Administration.- Stars and Stripes

Cpl. Hernandez’s MOH citation read-

Cpl. Hernandez, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy.

His platoon, in defensive positions on Hill 420, came under ruthless attack by a numerically superior and fanatical hostile force, accompanied by heavy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire which inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon.

His comrades were forced to withdraw due to lack of ammunition but Cpl. Hernandez, although wounded in an exchange of grenades, continued to deliver deadly fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants until a ruptured cartridge rendered his rifle inoperative.

Immediately leaving his position, Cpl. Hernandez rushed the enemy armed only with rifle and bayonet.

Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground.

The indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding courage, and tenacious devotion to duty clearly demonstrated by Cpl. Hernandez reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

RIP Cpl. Rudy Hernandez.

  • John in NY
    8:28 am on December 24th, 2013 1

    Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground.

    Wow, that’s badass. Thank you for your service, hero.

  • setnaffa
    9:08 am on December 24th, 2013 2

    NEVER give up just because the odds look bad. EARN what folks like Cpl. Rudy Hernandez sacrificed to give you.

    From Wikipedia:

    “His platoon was ordered to defend Hill 420, located near Wonton-ni. On May 31, 1951, his platoon was the object of a numerically superior enemy counterattack. A close-quarters firefight broke out when enemy troops surged up the hill and inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon. Hernandez was wounded during the attack, but was able to fire upon the rushing enemy troops. After his rifle ruptured, he continued attacking the enemy with his bayonet. His attack enabled his comrades to regroup and take back the hill.

    A grenade explosion that blew away part of his brain knocked him unconscious. Hernandez, who had received grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds, appeared dead to the first medic who reached him, Keith Oates. Oates realized, however, that Hernandez was still alive when he saw him move his fingers. Hernandez woke up a month later in a military hospital, unable to move his arms or legs or to talk.”

  • iSGT(RET)
    9:28 am on December 24th, 2013 3

    Now this is the definition of a HERO, too bad we have corrupted the definition and image by calling every soldier a hero when the word patriot fits better

  • 2ID Doc
    9:42 am on December 24th, 2013 4

    Something I have noticed, I have read maybe a hundred or more Medal of Honor citations from WWI to Afghanistan and I have noticed that the majority are earned by E-1 to E-5. It’s not a rule, but I have seen few E-9s and maybe one or two General officers. I suppose it is because as a rule the lower enlisted are at the front of the battle and end up in situations like Cpl. Hendandez. Recently I read of another Medal of Honor winner from Korea who after his rifle was damaged, took his entrenching tool and killed several more of the enemy. Of course you couldn’t do that with the newer (and much lighter) design.

  • setnaffa
    11:27 am on December 24th, 2013 5

    The difference in size and musculature of the GIs in Vietnam and Afghanistan is noticeable. The newer crop of heroes and/or patriots might be able to use the newer entrenching tool or even a BIC pen to the same effect as the older crop…

    Remember Audie Murphy singlehandedly turned back a light battalion. Today’s troops are every bit as capable. May God protect them from needing to earn such a medal.

  • Glans
    12:27 pm on December 24th, 2013 6

    A very brave man. Requiescat in pace.


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