May 4, 2010

Michael Castaneda Pena

Mike Castaneda Pena, Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on November 6, 1924. He joined the U. S. Army as an infantryman in 1941 when he was 16 years old and served in both World War II and the Korean War. On the evening of Sept. 4, 1950, near Waegwan, Korea, his unit was fiercely attacked. During the course of the counter-attack, Pena realized that their ammunition was running out, and ordered his unit to retreat. He then manned a machine-gun to cover their withdrawal and single-handedly held back the enemy until morning when his position was overrun and he was killed. Michael Pena received the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2014.

Citation  
For acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a member of Company F, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Waegwan, Korea, on 4 September 1950. That evening, under cover of darkness and a dreary mist, an enemy battalion moved to within a few yards of Master Sergeant Pena’s platoon. Recognizing the enemy’s approach, Master Sergeant Pena and his men opened fire, but the enemy’s sudden emergence and accurate, point blank fire forced the friendly troops to withdraw. Master Sergeant Pena rapidly reorganized his men and led them in a counterattack which succeeded in regaining the positions they had just lost. He and his men quickly established a defensive perimeter and laid down devastating fire, but enemy troops continued to hurl themselves at the defenses in overwhelming numbers. Realizing that their scarce supply of ammunition would soon make their positions untenable, Master Sergeant Pena ordered his men to fall back and manned a machinegun to cover their withdrawal. He singlehandedly held back the enemy until the early hours of the following morning when his position was overrun and he was killed. Master Sergeant Pena’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

GPS Coordinates
28° 59.939, -095° 57.800

Section 8
Cedarvale Bay City Cemetery
Bay City

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