American Hero: Richard E. Cavazos
He was awarded his 1st Distinguished Service Cross, 1st Silver Star, & 1st Purple Heart while serving as a 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneer in Korea.
A Mexican-American, Richard Cavazos was born in Texas and excelled in the ROTC program while attending college at Texas Tech. His first Army combat assignment was as a young Borinqueneer officer in Korea. There, he earned the admiration and respect of the Puerto Rican soldiers in the segregated unit, and became known as a true soldiers' officer.
Later, he attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the British Staff College and the Armed Forces Staff College.
In 1967, Cavazos commanded 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry, in Vietnam. His valiant leadership of that unit in the attack at Loc Ninh earned him a second Distinguished Service Cross. After Vietnam, Cavazos served as commander, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and commander, 9th Infantry Division. In 1980, he became the innovative commander of III Corps. In 1982, Cavazos assumed command of the U.S. Army Forces Command and earned his fourth star, making him the first Hispanic four-star general in the Army. His early support for the National Training Center and his involvement in the development of the Battle Command Training Program enormously influenced and advanced the Army's warfighting capabilities.
The Distinguished Service Cross in our nation's 2nd highest military award for individual heroism. As a lieutenant with the Borinqueneers in Korea, the general's first Distinguished Service Cross citation reads as follows:
"The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Richard E. Cavazos (O-64593), First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while as Company Commander of Company E, 2d Battalion, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. First Lieutenant Cavazos distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Sagimak, Korea, on the night of 14 June 1953. On that date, Lieutenant Cavazos led his men in a raid on the entrenched enemy upon whom heavy casualties were inflicted. When a heavy barrage was laid on the position by the enemy, Lieutenant Cavazos withdrew the company and regrouped his men. Lieutenant Cavazos three times led the company through the heavy barrage in assaults on the enemy position, each time destroying vital enemy equipment and personnel. When the United Nations element was ordered to withdraw, Lieutenant Cavazos remained alone on the enemy outpost to search the area for missing men. Exposed to heavy hostile fire, Lieutenant Cavazos located five men who had been wounded in the action. He evacuated them, one at a time, to a point on the reverse slope of the hill from which they could be removed to the safety of the friendly lines. Lieutenant Cavazos then made two more trips between the United Nations position and the enemy-held hill searching for casualties and evacuating scattered groups of men who had become confused. Not until he was assured that the hill was cleared did he allow treatment of his own wounds sustained during the action."
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