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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Cleto L Rodriguez

  • Rank: Technical Sergeant (rank at time of action: Private)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 148th Infantry,
    37th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 9, 1945
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Paco Railroad Station, Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands
He was an automatic rifleman when his unit attacked the strongly defended Paco Railroad Station during the battle for Manila, Philippine Islands. While making a frontal assault across an open field, his platoon was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire. On his own initiative, he left the platoon, accompanied by a comrade, and continued forward to a house 60 yards from the objective. Although under constant enemy observation, the two men remained in this position for an hour, firing at targets of opportunity, killing more than 35 hostile soldiers, and wounding many more. Moving closer to the station and discovering a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes, they opened heavy fire, killed more than 40, and stopped all subsequent attempts to man the emplacements. Enemy fire became more intense as they advanced to within 20 yards of the station. Then, covered by his companion, Pvt. Rodriguez boldly moved up to the building and threw five grenades through a doorway, killing seven Japanese, destroying a 20-mm gun, and wrecking a heavy machine gun. With their ammunition running low, the two men started to return to the American lines, alternately providing covering fire for each other's withdrawal. During this movement, Pvt. Rodriguez' companion was killed. In 2 and one half hours of fierce fighting the intrepid team killed more than 82 Japanese, completely disorganized their defense, and paved the way for the subsequent overwhelming defeat of the enemy at this strongpoint. Two days later, Pvt. Rodriguez again enabled his comrades to advance when he singlehandedly killed six Japanese and destroyed a well-placed 20-mm gun. By his outstanding skill with his weapon, gallant determination to destroy the enemy, and heroic courage in the face of tremendous odds, Pvt. Rodriguez, on two occasions, materially aided the advance of our troops in Manila.
Medal of Honor Recipient Cleto L. Rodriguez
Medal of Honor Recipient Cleto L. Rodriguez
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: October 12, 1945
    The White House, presented by Pres. Harry S. Truman
  • Born: April 26, 1923, San Marcos, Hays County, TX, United States
  • Died: December 7, 1990, San Antonio, TX, United States
  • Buried: Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery (MH) (A1-700), San Antonio, TX, United States

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