Private Macario (Marcario) García, USA (November 27, 1944)

GarciaMarcarioMacario García (some sources say “Marcario”; the former is on his tombstone) was born on January 20, 1920 in Villa de Castaño, Mexico. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1924 and they settled in Sugar Land, Texas.

García was working as a farm hand and held only a grade-school education when he was drafted for service in the United States Army on November 11, 1942. He was not yet an American citizen. He was trained as an infantryman, and went to war with Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.

The 4th Infantry Division’s first action was landing on Utah Beach on D-Day. After fighting their way across France, they entered Germany and engaged in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. On November 27, 1944, while García was just a Private but acting as a squad leader, he refused evacuation after being wounded and used his rifle and hand grenades to single-handedly destroy two Nazi machine gun positions.

García had been promoted to Staff Sergeant by September 1945 when President Harry S. Truman decorated him with the Medal of Honor, making him the first Mexican immigrant to be so recognized.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (G-L):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)

GARCIA, MARCARIO

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 22d Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Grosshau, Germany, 27 November 1944. Entered service at: Sugarland, Tex. G.O. No.: 74, 1 September 1945

Citation: While an acting squad leader of Company B, 22d Infantry, on 27 November 1944, near Grosshau, Germany, he single-handedly assaulted 2 enemy machinegun emplacements. Attacking prepared positions on a wooded hill, which could be approached only through meager cover, his company was pinned down by intense machinegun fire and subjected to a concentrated artillery and mortar barrage. Although painfully wounded, he refused to be evacuated and on his own initiative crawled forward alone until he reached a position near an enemy emplacement. Hurling grenades, he boldly assaulted the position, destroyed the gun, and with his rifle killed 3 of the enemy who attempted to escape. When he rejoined his company, a second machinegun opened fire and again the intrepid soldier went forward, utterly disregarding his own safety. He stormed the position and destroyed the gun, killed 3 more Germans, and captured 4 prisoners. He fought on with his unit until the objective was taken and only then did he permit himself to be removed for medical care. S/Sgt. (then private) Garcia’s conspicuous heroism, his inspiring, courageous conduct, and his complete disregard for his personal safety wiped out 2 enemy emplacements and enabled his company to advance and secure its objective.

García became a naturalized American citizen on June 25, 1947. He worked for twenty-five years as a counselor for his comrades in the Veterans Administration. García lost his life due to injuries suffered in an automobile accident on December 24, 1972; he was just 52 years old. He is buried in the Houston National Cemetery.

The present-day 4th Infantry Division is based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

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