Salvador J. Lara

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Salvador J. Lara
SalvadorJLara243px.jpg
Nickname(s)Chavo[1]
BornJuly 11, 1920
Riverside, California
DiedSeptember 1, 1945(1945-09-01) (aged 25)
near Aprilia, Italy
Buried
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
RankStaff Sergeant
Unit180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division
602d Ordnance Armament Maintenance Battalion
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsMedal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart

Staff Sergeant Salvador J. Lara (July 11, 1920 – September 1, 1945) was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and recipient of the Medal of Honor.[2] He was of Mexican-American descent.[3]

Background[edit]

Lara was born in Riverside, California[4] and raised in the neighborhood of Casa Blanca. He was the son of Juan and Isabel (Herrera) Lara, and worked in Riverside's citrus production before enlisting with the United States Army in Los Angeles on July 29, 1942.[5] He never married, and had no children.[1]

In May 1944 Lara was wounded in action during the Italian campaign while serving as the squad leader of a rifle squad.[6] Despite his injuries, he continued to lead his squad taking multiple enemy strongholds. Lara's hometown newspaper reported his injury was sustained at the Anzio beachhead,[7] which is about 10 miles (16 km) from Aprilia, the location of Lara's Medal of Honor citation.

Lara died on September 1, 1945, shortly after World War II ended, while serving with the 602d Ordnance Armament Maintenance Battalion in Europe.[8]

Medal of Honor[edit]

Lara's brother Alfonzo accepted the Medal of Honor on behalf of his late brother during a White House ceremony on March 18, 2014.

Members of Lara's family received the Medal of Honor flag from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a March 19, 2014, ceremony when Lara was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. They received the actual medal from President Barack Obama at the White House on March 18, 2014.[9]

The award came through the Defense Authorization Act, which called for a review of Jewish and Hispanic veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.[10]

According to Lara's U.S. Army biography:[2]

Then-Pfc. Salvador Lara was bestowed the Medal of Honor to recognize his valorous actions in Aprilia, Italy, May 27–28, 1944. During the fight, May 27, he aggressively led his rifle squad in neutralizing multiple enemy strong points and inflicting large numbers of casualties on the enemy. The next morning, as his company resumed the attack, Lara sustained a severe leg wound, but did not stop to receive first aid. Lara continued his exemplary performance until he captured his objective.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Lara's awards include:[11]

Combat Infantry Badge.svg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
Badge Combat Infantryman Badge
1st row Medal of Honor
(upgraded from the Distinguished Service Cross)
Bronze Star Purple Heart
with 1 Oak leaf cluster
2nd row Army Good Conduct Medal European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
with 2 Campaign stars
World War II Victory Medal

In Memoriam[edit]

Gravesite, Lorraine American Cemetery, France

Lara's burial monument is located at Plot F Row 17 Grave 33 of the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in Saint-Avold, Moselle, France, a site administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission.[1]

The SSgt. Salvador J. Lara Casa Blanca Library in Riverside, opened in 2003, is named in Lara's honor.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Robinson, Alicia (25 February 2015). "RIVERSIDE: Family thrilled by honor for World War II vet". The Press Enterprise. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Staff Sergeant Salvador J. Lara Medal of Honor Biography".
  3. ^ "Six Southern California Army veterans are among Medal of Honor recipients". San Bernardino Sun. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  4. ^ Santschi, Darrell R. (February 23, 2014). "Riverside men to get top honor: Jesus S. Duran and Salvador J. Lara will be awarded the Medal of Honor". The Press-Enterprise.
  5. ^ "Sgt. S. J. Lara Awarded DSC". Riverside Daily Press. 12 February 1945. p. 12.
  6. ^ "Salvador J. Lara". American Battle Monuments Commission. Archived from the original on 16 May 2022. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Riversider Wounded On Anzio Beachhead". Vol. LIX, no. 150. Riverside Daily Press. 23 June 1944.
  8. ^ "World War II SSgt. Salvador Lara Receives Posthumous Medal of Honor Nearly 70 Years Later". American Battle Monuments Commission. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  9. ^ Hood, David (March 20, 2014). "Two Days of Honor End on a Strong Note". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California. p. A2.
  10. ^ Daniel Rothberg (2014-02-21). "Obama will award Medal of Honor to 24 overlooked Army veterans". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  11. ^ "Lara, Salvador J., S/Sgt". army.togetherweserved.com. Retrieved December 6, 2020.

External links[edit]