SAN ANTONIO -- The White House announced Friday that President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War next month. Only three of the recipients are still alive, and two of them live in San Antonio.
One of the recipients who lives in Military City USA is Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela. The other Alamo City recipient is Spc. 4 Santiago Erevia.
“I said, 'Well, if I’m going to stand here and get killed, I might as well fight for my life,” Erevia said.
More than 40 years later, Erevia said he still has vivid memories of when he and his platoon came under heavy fire.
“I got close enough to where I could lob a grenade to where the foxhole was,” Erevia said.
Erevia single-handedly destroyed four enemy bunkers and then returned to aid his fellow wounded soldiers. His bravery earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military honor.
“Well, I said, ‘I’m not going to get the Medal of Honor, so I guess I have to settle on what they give me,’ but I was proud to get the Distinguished Service Cross."
In 2002, Congress ordered a review of war records for Jewish and Hispanic veterans to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor weren’t denied it because of prejudice.
When KENS 5 asked Erevia if he felt he was overlooked because he was Hispanic, he said: “I thought about that, yeah, quite a bit.”
Decades later, Erevia will soon be able to add one more deserved medal to his distinguished collection.