Lake County News | California

Wednesday
Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Home News Veterans

Veterans

CalVet honors Medal of Honor recipients Alvarado, Duran, Gomez, Gandara and Lara with special ceremony

The California Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday honored five Medal of Honor recipients whom received this recognition posthumously from President Barack Obama with a very special ceremony on the West Steps of the State Capitol.

Honored and recognized on the occasion of their having received these long overdue Medals of Honor were Specialist Fourth Class Leonard L. Alvarado; Sergeant Jesus S. Duran; Sergeant First Class Eduardo C. Gomez; Private Joe Gandara and Private First Class Salvador J. Lara.

“These Medals of Honor have been a long time coming and I am most pleased that such a regrettable oversight is finally being addressed,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “These men fought for our country and their fellow soldiers with bravery, commitment and patriotism and now their descendants can receive comfort in knowing they descend from authentic American heroes.”

More than 200 people gathered to witness the honors rendered to the families of these five Medal of Honor recipients.

Also on hand to honor Alvarado, Duran, Gomez, Gandara and Lara were Captain James Taylor, U.S. Army (Ret) Medal of Honor Recipient; Brigadier General Sylvia R. Crockett, California Military Department; the Honorable Richard D. Roth, California State Senate; the Honorable Rocky Chavez, California State Assembly; and the Most Reverend Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento.

The California Military Department provided the appropriate music and Captain Sonya Moore, California Military Department lead the attendees in a heartfelt rendition of the national anthem.

Following the presentation of Senate/Assembly Joint Resolutions, letters from Gov. Jerry Brown and Secretary Gravett and a California state flag, the family members of these valiant five Medal of Honor recipients were welcomed at CalVet headquarters for the unveiling of the names on CalVet’s Medal of Honor Wall.

These five Californians, who served our country valiantly during World War II, the Korean War and War in Vietnam, originally received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award.

In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice for being Jewish American and Hispanic American.

This review discovered that the records of several soldiers displayed the criteria making them worthy of the Medal of Honor.

Recognized during the ceremony were:

  • Specialist Fourth Class Leonard L. Alvarado will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.
  • Sergeant Jesus S. Duran will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as an acting M-60 machine gunner in Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam, on April 10, 1969.
  • Sergeant First Class Eduardo C. Gomez will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Tabu-dong, Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.
  • Private Joe Gandara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.
  • Private First Class Salvador J. Lara will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as the Squad Leader of a rifle squad with 2d Platoon, Company L, 180th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Aprilia, Italy, on May 27 and 28, 1944.

 Following the ceremony, family members and special guests were treated to a delicious lunch in CalVet’s Medal of Honor Hall sponsored by the California Veterans Benefit Fund.

 

State controller, CalVet secretary partner to reunite 95,000 veterans with unclaimed property

SACRAMENTO – After running data and cross-referencing files, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has identified more than 95,000 California veterans, o...

Yamada reappointed to Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) has been reappointed to the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs by Speaker Toni Atkins.

“I am delighted to return to...

Gerber graduates from basic training

SAN ANTONIO – Air Force Airman Daniel J. Gerber graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an inte...

Thompson amendment addressing VA backlog passes House

WASHINGTON D.C. – A bipartisan amendment co-authored by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) that provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with additional resources to ...

Page 5 of 80