Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Who is Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace?
Captain Humbert Roque ”Rocky” Versace was a part of the USMA Class of 1959. He distinguished himself through acts of extraordinary heroism while serving as an S-2 Adviser during the Vietnam War from October 29, 1963- September 26, 1965. He is the U.S. Army’s only Medal of Honor Recipient from the Vietnam War whose remains have not been located and returned by the communist Vietnamese. “Friends of Rocky Versace,” a veterans organization, aims to continue to tell Rocky’s story of faith, valor and ultimate sacrifice.
Actions During the Vietnam War
While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. Although severely wounded in the knee and back, CPT Versace fought fearlessly and continued to fire at enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the overwhelming Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition.
Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered Prisoner of War status. Native villagers recounted their experiences of witnessing Versace being held captive as, “The worse the captives treated him, the more he smiled and the more convinced he became at denouncing Communism and professing his Christian faith.”
Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy’s exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated POW cage, shackled in irons for extended periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced rations. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America.
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