Medal of Honor Roll Call: Joseph C. Rodriguez

Then-Staff Sgt. Joseph C. Rodriguez with his future wife Miss Rose Aranda on Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" program.

As we look each week at the Medal of Honor heroes, so many were killed in action and most leave military service with their hitch was over. This week’s hero, Joseph C. Rodriguez earned his MOH one horrid day in Korea as a private and when he went home he was a staff sergeant, who made the Army his career and he retired a colonel. What also made his homecoming unique was his appearance on the “You Bet Your Life” program hosted by Groucho Marx.


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Joseph C. Rodriguez

Organization:  U.S. Army, Company F, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division  Place and date:  Near Munye-ri, Korea, 21 May 1951 Entered service at:  California  Place of Birth:  San Bernardino, CA

Citation: Sgt. Rodriguez, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. Sgt. Rodriguez, an assistant squad leader of the 2d Platoon, was participating in an attack against a fanatical hostile force occupying well-fortified positions on rugged commanding terrain, when his squad’s advance was halted within approximately 60 yards by a withering barrage of automatic weapons and small-arms fire from 5 emplacements directly to the front and right and left flanks, together with grenades which the enemy rolled down the hill toward the advancing troops. Fully aware of the odds against him, Sgt. Rodriguez leaped to his feet, dashed 60 yards up the fire-swept slope, and, after lobbing grenades into the first foxhole with deadly accuracy, ran around the left flank, silenced an automatic weapon with 2 grenades and continued his whirlwind assault to the top of the peak, wiping out 2 more foxholes and then, reaching the right flank, he tossed grenades into the remaining emplacement, destroying the gun and annihilating its crew. Sgt. Rodriguez’ intrepid actions exacted a toll of 15 enemy dead and, as a result of his incredible display of valor, the defense of the opposition was broken, and the enemy routed, and the strategic strongpoint secured. His unflinching courage under fire and inspirational devotion to duty reflect highest credit on himself and uphold the honored traditions of the military service.


Watch this video of Joseph C. Rodriguez:

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