Roles Of Mexican Americans In Korean War  

Strangely, not many people know that Mexican Americans had an important role to play in the Korean War, just like their role during the Second World War. In fact, many of the Mexican Americans, who fought in the war, were part of the 65th Infantry Regiment. This regiment was an all-Hispanic unit of the US army.


It on 25th August 1950 when the 3rd Infantry Division of the 65th Infantry Regiment left for Korea via Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal. The division reached Pusan, Korea on September 23rd. The US army was already fighting the invading North Korean army during that time. The 65th Infantry Regiment immediately saw action on arriving. Its task was to drive the North Korean army back. And, the regiment was actually quite successful in fulfilling its duties.

Then some time in the latter half of October 1950, even the Chinese army joined the fray. Unfortunately, the 1st Marine Division of the US army was outnumbered and it was forced to withdraw. Once again the 65th Infantry Regiment came to the rescue. Its task was to protect the 1st Marine Division, so that it could reach safety. It was finally on 24th December 1950 that the division set sail from Hungnam. However, this was not the end of the war for the division.

Once again in the later half of January, in 1951, the Division was given the responsibility of holding the invading Chinese army from reaching Seoul, which is the capital of Korea. This war began on 31st January 1951 and lasted for three days. The division was successful in driving away the Chinese, but before that it managed to kill 5,905 Chinese soldiers and captured another 2,086.

For its courageous service in the Korean War, the 65th Infantry Division was awarded 4 Distinguished Service Cross, 125 Silver Stars, 2 Korean Presidential Unit Citations, one Greek Gold Medal for Bravery and the US Presidential and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

It goes without saying that Mexican Americans were very much part of the Korean War and showed their patriotism by fighting for their nation's honor and prestige. Most of the battles that these soldiers fought in took place in mountains and hostile terrains, with freezing temperatures. However, this did not deter them and they kept pushing the enemy armies away.

Just like in the Second World War, the Mexican Americans once again took to the battle front and came away proud. Many of the soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor for their courage at the battlefields. One such soldier was Corporal Rodolfo P. Hernandez. He was awarded the medal for his courage and selfless act that took place on 31st May 1951. Hernandez's platoon was under attack and had suffered many casualties. The platoon was forced to withdraw from the battlefront, as it did not have ammunition. However, Hernandez, who was injured due to a grenade, continued firing at the on coming enemy army until a burst cartridge many his rifle useless. On seeing this, he charged towards the oncoming soldiers with a bayonet and managed to kill six of them before becoming unconscious due to injuries. His attack helped his platoon to retake the ground that it had lost and also stopped the enemy soldiers' progress for some time.

Similar to Hernandez there are several stories about the bravery of Mexican American soldiers in the Korean War. You just have to take time to read these stories to realize what an important role these soldiers played in the Korean War, and how many of them laid down their lives while trying to help their brothers soldiers.

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