Jose F. Valdez
|Jose F. Valdez|
PFC Jose F. Valdez, Medal of Honor recipient
January 3, 1925|
Gobernador, New Mexico
|Died||February 17, 1945
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1944 - 1945|
|Rank||Private First Class|
3d Infantry Division
|Battles/wars||World War II (Colmar Pocket)|
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Private First Class Jose F. Valdez (January 3, 1925 - February 17, 1945) was a United States Army soldier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor — the United States' highest military decoration — for his actions near Rosenkranz, France, in the Battle of the Colmar Pocket during World War II.
Valdez was a Mexican-American born and raised in Gobernador, New Mexico (today a ghost town). Though he never lived in Utah, he joined the United States Army upon the outbreak of World War II at a recruiting station in Pleasant Grove, Utah in June 1944 (thus officially listed as a Utah Medal of Honor recipient). After completing his basic training, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division.
World War II
The 3rd Infantry Division, which was under the command of Major General John W. O'Daniel, fought from North Africa through Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany during World War II. On January 23, 1945, the 3rd Infantry Division was attacking German forces in Alsace as part of the Allied offensive to collapse the Colmar Pocket.
On January 25, 1945, Valdez was on patrol with 5 of his fellow soldiers at a small railway station near Rosenkranz, France, (counterattack. An enemy tank was headed towards the patrol and Valdez, upon his own initiative, opened fire against the tank with his automatic rifle, action which made the tank withdraw. After Valdez killed 3 enemy soldiers in a firefight, the Germans ordered a full attack and sent in two companies of infantrymen.) when unexpectedly they confronted an enemy
Valdez offered to cover the members of his patrol when the platoon leader ordered a withdrawal. He fired upon the approaching enemy and his patrol members were able to reach American lines. Valdez was wounded and was able to drag himself back to American lines, however, he died three weeks later from his wounds.
Medal of Honor citation
Awards and recognitions
- Medal of Honor
- Purple Heart
- American Campaign Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- French Croix de guerre
- French Croix de guerre Fourragère
- Valdez was buried with full military honors in the Santa Fe National Cemetery located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- USNS Private Jose F. Valdez (T-AG-169), a technical research ship in operation during the 1960s.
- Valdez Elementary School, an elementary School dedicated in north Denver, Colorado.
- PFC Jose F. Valdez Memorial Highway, a 106-mile stretch of U.S. Route 64, from Tierra Amarilla to Bloomfield, in San Juan County, New Mexico.
- Jose F. Valdez U.S. Army Reserve Center, located in Pleasant Grove, Utah, headquarters of the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion.
- A memorial to Valdez was dedicated in Gobernador, New Mexico, in 2002.
- A memorial at All Veterans Memorial Park in Berg Park, New Mexico, was dedicated in 2009 honoring three northwest New Mexico residents who received the Medal of Honor; Valdez, USMC LCpl. Kenneth Lee Worley, and Army SSG Franklin D. Miller.
- List of Medal of Honor recipients for World War II
- Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients
- Hispanic Americans in World War II
- NM Resident join Army in UT
- Medal of Honor Citation
- Santa Fe National Cemetery
- Find a grave
- USNS Jose F. Valdez
- Valdez Elementary School
- Final Agenda[permanent dead link]
- New Mexico to honor 3rd ID WWII Medal of Honor Recipient
- Watch on the Rhine, August, 2002
- Valdez memorial
- Memorial 'Is a Legacy That Will Go on'