The Early Years
(12 Jul 1921 -
27 Jan 1942)

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(28 Jan 1942 -
1 Aug 1943)

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(2 Aug 1943 -
31 Jul 2006)

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2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert "Pete" Hughes, Jr.
(12 Jul 1921 - 1 Aug 1943)

29 Texans Win Medal of Honor
Armistice Day Observance Honors Men Who Gained Highest Award

On this, the 27th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities during World War I, Texas stops with the nation to pay humble homage to all the heroes of World War II - and in particular to the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the Lone Star state.

Twenty-nine of the select and courageous few who have been awarded the nation's highest decoration for brave actions "above and beyond the call of duty" during the conflict just ended are Texans. Five of the men so honored are San Antonians.

Fifteen Die

The medal has been awarded posthumously to 15 of the heroes, while one winner is still reported missing in action. Four Texas marines who have all lost their lives in battle have received the medal. One naval officer and one seaman have been honored.

Col. Neel E. Kearby was the first San Antonian to receive the Medal of Honor. The colonel, whose wife and three sons make their home at 1408 W. Mulberry Ave., has been missing in action since March 5, 1944. He was cited for his actions in shooting down six enemy planes over Wewak, New Guinea, Oct. 11, 1943.

Photos on page 20.

Leading Fighter

At the time Kearby disappeared he was leading fighter pilot in the Southwest Pacific. Col. Kearby is credited with the destruction of 21 Japanese planes in action in the Pacific. His record was tied with that of the late Maj. Richard Bong, another Congressional Medal of Honor winner, when he failed to return.

Second San Antonian to received [sic - receive] the medal was Marine Staff Sgt. William James Bordelon. The decoration was presented to the mother of the first enlisted marine from Texas to win the award during a formal sunset review June 17, 1944, in Alamo Stadium.

 Bordelon was killed during the assault on Japanese-held Tarawa Nov. 20, 1943. He was cited for his courageous deeds before he fell mortally wounded in action on that date.

The C.M.H. was also awarded posthumously to 2nd.Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes, a B-24 Liberator pilot. Hughes lost his life Aug. 1, 1943, when with full knowledge of the risk involved, he piloted his gasoline-leaking heavy bomber over the flaming target of the Ploesti oil refineries in Rumania.

The ship had been severely damaged when Hughes reached the target area; already a blazing inferno. Rather than jeopardize the formation and success of the mission made from bases in North Africa, Lt. Hughes continued over the target. The medal was presented to his widow, who resides at 156 Halliday St.

Leads Paratroops

Another San Antonian to received [sic - receive] the medal posthumously is Lt.Col. Robert G. Cole. With a fallen soldier's bayonet-fixed rifle Cole let a parachute infantry battalion in a bayonet charge five days after D-Day in France.

Col. Cole was killed in action in Holland Sept. 18, 1944. The medal was presented to his mother, Mrs. Clara H. Cole, 307 E. Evergreen St., Oct. 30, 1944. His wife and son reside at 108 E. Wildwood Drive.

Last San Antonian and the only living holder of the medal from this city is Sgt. Cleto Rodriguez. Rodriquez was personally decorated by the President during a ceremony in Washington, Oct. 6, 1945.

Kill 300 Japs

Rodriguez and a companion are credited with killing 300 Japs in Manila while serving with the 37th Infantry Division. The sergeant and Miss Flora Muniz, his childhood sweetheart, will be married Sunday in a ceremony at Sam Fernando Cathedral.

Other marines from Texas to win the Medal of Honor include Sgt. William G. Harrell of Rio Grande City, 1st.Lt. William Dean Hawkins of El Paso, who fought and died with Bordelon; and Pfc. Charles H. Roan of Claude. All received the decoration posthumously.

Navy Members

Comdr. Samuel David Dealey of Dallas and Seaman ( John David Hutchins, Rt. 2, Box 187, East Bernard, are the two navy members. Comdr. Dealy is the only Texas naval winner living.

Army winners from this state who lost their lives in action are 1st.Lt. Jack W. Mathis, air corps, San Angelo; 2nd.Lt. Thomas W. Fowler, armored forces, Wichita Falls; Staff Sgt. George D. Keathley, 85th Inf. Division, Olney; 2nd.Lt. James L. Harris, armored infantry, Hillsboro; 1st.Lt. Jack L. Knight, 124th Cav. Regt, Weatherford; Tech ( Truman Kimbro, combat engineers, Houston, and Pfc. Herman C. Wallace, combat engineers, Lubbock.

Living Members

Living members of the army holding the decoration are Col. John R. Kane, air corps, McGregor; 2nd.Lt. John C. Morgan, air corps; Sgt. James M. Logan, 36th Infantry Division, Luling; 1st.Lt. James H. Fields, 4th Armored Division, Houston; Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams, 3rd. Infantry Division, Port Arthur; 1st.Lt. Audie L. Murphy, 3rd. Infantry Division, Farmersville; Sgt. Jose M. Lopez, 2nd. Infantry Division, Brownsville; 1st.Lt. Eli Whiteley, 3rd. Infantry Division, Georgetown; Pfc. Silvestre S. Herrera, 36th Division, El Paso; Pfc. George B. Turner, 14th Armored Division, Longview; 1st.Lt. Turney W. Leonard, 833rd. Tank Destroyer Bn.

Source: Personal papers. Newspaper article from Page 1-A of the San Antonio Express, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA, dated Sunday, 11 Nov 1945. Second Page.

Created: August 06, 2008

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