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Big Red One Vets To Get Medal Of Honor

KSAL Staff - March 15, 2014 8:12 am

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Two Fort Riley 1st Infantry Division veterans will receive the military’s highest award for heroism, the Medal Of Honor.

According to Fort Riley, Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel and Sgt. Candelario Garcia, are among the 24 soldiers set to receive the Medal of Honor at a March 18 ceremony at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.

The 24 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans were recognized with Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award. After a re-evaluation of the soldiers’ records and additional supporting evidence, the DSCs were upgraded to Medals of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for gallantry and valorous actions.

The March 18 event is set to be the largest Medal of Honor ceremony in history.

Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, a native of Queens, N.Y., served in Company H, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Inf. Div. Nietzel is being recognized for his valorous actions in Heistern, Germany, on Nov. 18, 1944. When an enemy assault threatened to overrun his unit’s position, Nietzel selflessly covered for the retreating members of his squad, expending all his ammunition and holding his post until he was killed by an enemy hand grenade.

Sgt. Candelario Garcia, a native of Corsicana, Texas, served in Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. Garcia distinguished himself Dec. 8, 1968, as a team leader during a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Lai Khe, Vietnam. Garcia destroyed two enemy machine-gun positions in an attempt to aid casualties that were in the open and under fire. Garcia then rejoined his company in a successful assault on the remaining enemy positions. Garcia died Jan. 10, 2013, in Corsicana.

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, the 1st Inf. Div.’s senior noncommissioned officer, is set to accept the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Garcia and his family. Grinston is one of two active-duty Soldiers accepting the Medal of Honor for those who have passed away.

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