Fernando Luis García

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Fernando Luis García
Fernando Luis Garcia.JPG  A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
PFC Fernando Luis Garcia
First Puerto Rican Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1929-10-14)October 14, 1929
Utuado, Puerto Rico
Died September 5, 1952(1952-09-05) (aged 22)
KIA in Korea
Place of burial Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1951-1952
Rank USMC-E2.svg
Private First Class
Unit 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards Medal of Honor ribbon.svg Medal of Honor
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart Medal

Fernando Luis García (October 14, 1929 – September 5, 1952), was a United States Marine Corps private first class who was killed in action during the Korean War and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty on September 5, 1952. He was the first of nine Puerto Rican servicemen to be awarded the Medal of Honor and is the only Marine to be awarded the medal.

Biography[edit]

García (birth name: Fernando Luis García Ledesma [note 1]) was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico where he received his primary and secondary education. He moved to San Juan where he was hired by the Texas Company as a file clerk.[1]

U.S. Marine Corps[edit]

Korean War[edit]

On September 19, 1951, García joined the United States Marines Corps and received his recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After he graduated from "boot camp", he was promoted to private first class in December[2] and was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for more training before being sent to Korea in March 1952.

García was a member of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. On the night of his death, he and his company were posted about one mile from the enemy lines at "Outpost Bruce" in the "Bunker Hill" area.[3] Chinese soldiers were attacking with artillery, mortars, and grenades. García was wounded and getting hand grenades from his acting platoon sergeant when an enemy grenade landed near them.[4] García covered the grenade with his body, sacrificing himself to save the life of his fellow Marine who was wounded by the blast. García died instantly. For this heroic action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.[2]

García's remains were never recovered.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

On October 25, 1953, PFC García's parents were presented his Medal of Honor at a ceremony held in the Utuado City Hall.

Moh right.gif
The President of the United States in the name of U.S. Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to:

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS FERNANDO L. GARCIA
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a member of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on September 5, 1952. While participating in the defense of a combat outpost located more than one mile forward of the main line of resistance during a savage night attack by a fanatical enemy force employing grenades, mortars and artillery, Private First Class Garcia, although suffering painful wounds, moved through the intense hall of hostile fire to a supply point to secure more hand grenades. Quick to act when a hostile grenade landed nearby, endangering the life of another Marine, as well as his own, he unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and immediately threw his body upon the deadly missile, receiving the full impact of the explosion. His great personal valor and cool decision in the face of almost certain death sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Military awards[edit]

García's decorations and awards include:[5]

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal Navy Unit Commendation National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with two 316" bronze campaign stars Republic of Korea Presidential Citation United Nations Service Medal

In memory[edit]

El Monumento de la Recordación
  • There is a headstone with García's name in the Puerto Rico National Cemetery in the city of Bayamón, Puerto Rico.[6]
  • On February 5, 1959 the United States Marines Corps named a military camp in Vieques, Puerto Rico, "Camp García" in his honor.[7]
  • The United States Navy named the García class of ships in his honor, with the lead ship in the class (USS Garcia) bearing his name, as well.[8]
  • His name is inscribed in "El Monumento de la Recordación" (Monument of Remembrance), dedicated to Puerto Rico's fallen soldiers and situated in front of the Capitol Building in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • His name is also inscribed in the "Wall of the Missing" located in the National Memorial of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, which honors the Medal of Honor recipients whose bodies have never been recovered.[9] A monument commemorating his actions stands in his hometown of Utuado, Puerto Rico.
  • On November 11, 2008, the Government of Puerto Rico unveiled in the Capitol Rotunda the oil portrait of PFC Fernando Luis García.[10]
  • The American Legion Post 42 in Utuado, Puerto Rico was named American Legion Auxiliary, 42 Pfc Fernando Luis Garcia [11] and a low income housing project, the Caserío Fernando Luis García in Utuado, is also named after García.[12]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is García and the second or maternal family name is Ledesma.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor: Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own"; by Greg Boudonck (Author); ASIN: B00J12MXUS
  2. ^ a b [ http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/G-I/Garcia_FL.aspx Marine Corps History Division]
  3. ^ Marine Corps History and Museum Division, Korean War Commemorative Series, 2001, Dept. of Defense-50th Anniversary of Korean War- "Stalemate, U.S. Marines from Bunker Hill to Hook" by Bernard Nalty
  4. ^ Marine Corps History Division http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/Pages/Who's%20Who/G-I/Garcia_FL.aspx
  5. ^ Decorations information was obtained from "Who's Who in Marine Corps History"; History Division, United States Marine Corps.
  6. ^ Puerto Rico National Cemetery
  7. ^ Camp Garcia Closes; AFWTF, VC-8 to Disestablish
  8. ^ USS Garcia
  9. ^ "National Memorial of the Pacific". Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  10. ^ 5th Marine Regiment - 3rd Battalion
  11. ^ American Legion Auxiliary 42 Pfc Fernando Luis Garcia.
  12. ^ Caserio Fernando Luis Garcia

Further reading[edit]

  • Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory, and Honor. Fighting to Defend a Nation Not Completely Their Own; by : Greg Boudonck; ISBN 978-1497421837