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Hispanics in the Military~Medal of Honor


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Philip Bazaar, Ordinary Seaman, Massachusetts, USS Santiago de Cuba, United States Navy. Place and Date of Action: Assault on Fort Fisher, January 15, 1865, Place of Birth: Chile, South America.


Joseph H. De Castro, Corporal, Company I, 19th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and Date of Action: At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1863.  Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts. De Castro was the first Hispanic-American Medal of Honor recipient.

Rank and Organization: Corporal, Company I
19th Massachusetts Infantry.
Place and Date: At Gettysburg, Pa., 3 July 1863.
Birth: Boston, Mass. Date of Issue: 1 December 1864.
Capture of flag of 19th Virginia regiment. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery during his regiment's attack and repulse of elements of Pickett's Charge on the Third Day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (July 3, 1863). His Medal was issued on December 1, 1864. He was one of seven 19th Massachusetts Infantry soldiers to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the War.


John Ortega, Seaman, Pennsylvania. USS Saratoga, United States Navy. Place and Date of Action: USS Saratoga, December 1865. Born 1840. Place of Birth: Spain. In 1864, Ortega became the first Hispanic sailor Medal of Honor recipient.




When the colonies on the East Coast of what became the United States rebelled against England, Hispanics played a pivotal role. As Governor of the Louisiana Territory, General Bernardo de Gálvez sent money, rifles, and other supplies to General George Washington. Latinos also raised special collections to aid the fight for independence.

Captain Jorge Farragut came to the U.S. from the Spanish Island of Minorca to fight against the British. Captain Farragut fought in the Revolution, then in the War of 1812, as part of the U.S. Navy.


As they did in the Revolutionary War, Hispanics have served proudly in each war and conflict entered by this nation. In the course of service, 38 Latinos have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor conferred for military bravery.

In the Civil War, David Glasgow Farragut, son of Jorge Farragut, won fame as a Union hero by blocking Southern ports. His contributions prompted Congress to create the title of Rear Admiral to reward him for his valor.

Federico Fernández Cavada, a Lieutenant Colonel for the Union, fought bravely at Gettysburg, Rafael Chacón also served with the Union and earned the rank of Major. Santos Benavidez fought for the Confederacy. His rank of Colonel was the highest of any Mexican-American army officer in the Civil War.

More than 400,000 Hispanics served the U.S. during World War II. About 25,000 served in the Persian Gulf War.


Contributor: bgill
Created: May 28, 2007 · Modified: May 29, 2007

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