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Lt. Col. Alfred Rascon

Date of Award: February 8, 2000
Conflict: Vietnam War
Branch: U.S. Army

Lt. Col. Alfred Rascon portraitFollowing graduation from high school, Alfred Rascon enlisted into the Army and was assigned as a medic with the Headquarters Company, Medical Platoon, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. His unit was originally stationed in Okinawa in 1964, and with the outbreak of Vietnam, they were relocated to the Republic of Vietnam in May of 1965. As the first major ground combat unit of the United States Army to serve there, the brigade was the first to go into the war zones to destroy enemy base camps and to introduce the use of small, long-range patrols.

Rascon was later assigned as a medic with a Reconnaissance Platoon of the 173rd Airborne, formed to help another battalion that had fallen under hostile enemy fire near Long Khanh Province. Upon the units’ arrival on March 16, 1966, the superiorly manned enemy forces wiped out many soldiers in both regiments, however Rascon fearlessly braved intense fire to render aid to his wounded comrades, even covering bodies to absorb grenade blasts that sent shrapnel flying everywhere. During his heroic efforts, Rascon was severely wounded, and was not expected to make it back home alive. It was 34 years after he risked his life before Rascon would be honored with the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton.

Citation: “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.”

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