San Marcos native Cleto Rodríguez was born in 1923. Rodríguez joined the Army in 1944 and was soon serving as a rifleman with the 148th Infantry in the Philippines. In 1945, during the fierce month-long Battle for Manila, Rodríguez and a fellow soldier played key roles in regaining a heavily defended railroad station from the Japanese. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honor for their "gallant determination" and "heroic courage in the face of tremendous odds." Rodríguez was the fifth Mexican American ever to earn this honor—and one of fourteen Texans who earned it during World War II. More»

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President Harry S. Truman presents Cleto Rodríguez with the Medal of Honor on the White House Lawn, October 12, 1945. Signal Corps photograph.