CORSICANA, Texas — It was a long time in coming, but Sgt. Candelario Garcia Jr. was reinterred Thursday in a special area of the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery reserved for those who have received the nation’s highest award.
Garcia, who died six months ago, received a posthumous Medal of Honor three months ago for actions taken during the Vietnam War 45 years ago. He is only the second Medal of Honor recipient buried at the cemetery.
His reinterment was recognized with full honors by the U.S. Army honor guard. His siblings represented the family at the ceremony. As part of the reinterment, Garcia received a new headstone recognizing his award, lithochromed in gold lettering.
Corsicana resident Garcia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an acting Team Leader for Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Brigade,1st Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Lai Khe, Republic of Vietnam on December 8, 1968, according to the U.S. Army report.
According to the Army:
On that day, while conducting reconnaissance, Sgt. Garcia and his platoon discovered communication wire and other signs of an enemy base camp leading into a densely vegetated area. As the men advanced, they came under intense fire. Several men were hit and trapped in the open. Ignoring a hail of hostile bullets, Sergeant Garcia crawled to within ten meters of a machine-gun bunker, leaped to his feet and ran directly at the fortification, firing his rifle as he charged. Sergeant Garcia jammed two hand grenades into the gun port and then placed the muzzle of his weapon inside, killing all four occupants. Continuing to expose himself to intense enemy fire, Sergeant Garcia raced fifteen meters to another bunker and killed its three defenders with hand grenades and rifle fire. After again braving the enemies’ barrage in order to rescue two casualties, he joined his company in an assault which overran the remaining enemy positions. Sergeant Garcia’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness 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.
Garcia and 23 other U.S. soldiers received Medals of Honor from President Barack Obama on March 18 in a mass ceremony to recognize soldiers who might have been overlooked for the highest honor because of their skin color or religious affiliation. Most of them were African American, Hispanic or Jewish.