CLETO L. RODRIGUEZ Biography - Military related figures


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Name: Cleto L. Rodriguez                                                             
Born: 26 April 1923 San Marcos, Texas                                               
Died: 7 December 1990 San Antonio, Texas                                             
Technical Sergeant Cleto L. Rodriguez (April 26, 1923 - December 7, 1990) was an     
American who served in both the U.S. Army and in the U.S. Air Force and received     
the Medal of Honor for actions in Manila, Philippine Islands during World War II.   
He was born and lived in San Marcos, Texas until his parents died when he was       
nine years old. After the death of his parents he was sent to live with             
relatives in San Antonio, Texas. As a boy he worked for the Gunter Hotel as a       
newsboy. He enlisted in the United States Army in early 1944 where he served as     
a Private in Company B, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.                     
In Manila on February 9, 1945 Cleto's platoon was ordered to initiate an             
offensive assault against the Paco Railroad Station that was being held by the       
Japanese. While crossing an open field in front of the railroad station his         
platoon was stopped 100 yards from the railroad station by intense Japanese         
gunfire. Without being ordered to do so Cleto and a fellow soldier, Private         
First Class John N. Reese, Jr., left the platoon and continued forward under         
heavy Japanese gunfire until they made it to a house 60 yards from the railroad     
station. The two soldiers remained in their position for an hour while firing at     
targets of opportunity, killing 35 Japanese soldiers and wounding many others.       
After an hour the 2 soldiers moved forward towards the railroad station where       
they discovered a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes.     
Cleto and his fellow soldier opened heavy fire and killed more than 40 Japanese     
soldiers and stopped any other attempts to reach the pillboxes. The enemy fire       
increased as the two soldiers came within 20 yards of the railroad station.         
Cleto's comrade provided cover fire while he moved up to the railroad station       
where he threw 5 grenades through a doorway killing 7 Japanese soldiers and         
destroying a 20-mm gun and wrecking a heavy machine gun. With their ammunition       
running low the 2 soldiers made their way back to their platoon while each took     
turns providing cover fire for the other to move. During the return back to         
their platoon PFC Reese was killed. During the 2½ hours of fighting the two         
soldiers killed more than 82 Japanese soldiers and completely disorganized the       
defense of the railroad station which paved the way for U.S. soldiers               
overwhelming the railroad station in victory. Two days later Cleto again enabled     
his platoon to advance when he single-handedly killed 6 Japanese soldiers and       
destroyed a well placed 20-mm gun. As a result of these actions both Rodriguez       
and Reese were awarded the Medal of Honor for their determination to destroy the     
enemy and courage in the face of tremendous odds.