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Marcario (Macario) Garcia
Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1920-01-20)January 20, 1920
Died December 24, 1972(1972-12-24) (aged 52)
Place of birth Villa de Castaño, Mexico
Place of death Houston, Texas
Place of burial Houston National Cemetery,
Houston, Texas
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service United States Army: 1942-1945,
United States Army Reserve: 1946-1972
Rank Command Sergeant Major
Unit Company B, 22d Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart

Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia[1] also known as Macario Garcia [note 1] (January 20, 1920 – December 24, 1972) was the first Mexican immigrant to receive the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military decoration. He received the award for his heroic actions as a soldier during World War II.

Early yearsEdit

Garcia was born in Villa de Castaño, Mexico. In 1924, Garcia's family immigrated to the United States in search of a better way of life. He lived in Sugar Land, Texas where he worked as a cotton farmer.

Upon the outbreak of World War II, Garcia joined the United States Army at a recruiting station in his adopted hometown in November 1942.[2] He was assigned to Company B, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.

World War IIEdit

On November 27, 1944, Garcia was the squad leader of his platoon which found itself engaged in combat against the German troops in the vicinity of Grosshau, Germany. Realizing that his company could not advance because it was pinned down by enemy machine gun fire, Garcia, on his own initiative, went alone and destroyed two enemy emplacements and captured four prisoners. Despite being wounded himself, he continued to fight on with his unit until the objective was taken.

Medal of Honor citationEdit

Marcario Garcia
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, US Army B Company 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Grosshau, Germany---November 27, 1944.
Entered service at: Sugarland, Texas
Born: January 20, 1920, Villa de Castano, Mexico
G.O. # 74 September 1, 1945.
Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia, Company B, 22nd Infantry, in action involving actual conflict with the enemy in the vicinity of Grosshau, Germany, 27 November 1944. While an acting squad leader, he single-handedly assaulted two enemy machine gun emplacements. Attacking prepared positions on a wooded hill, which could be approached only through meager cover. His company was pinned down by intense machine-gun 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 three of the enemy who attempted to escape. When he rejoined his company, a second machine-gun opened fire and again the intrepid soldier went forward, utterly disregarding his own safety. He stormed the position and destroyed the gun, killed three more Germans, and captured four 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 Pvt.) Garcia's conspicuous heroism, his inspiring, courageous conduct, and his complete disregard for his personal safety wiped out two enemy emplacements and enabled his company to advance and secure its objective.[1][3]

Honors and discriminationEdit

Truman and Garcia

President Truman bestows the Medal of Honor on Garcia

On August 23, 1945, the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman presented Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia with the Medal of Honor at a ceremony in the White House. A month after he was awarded the Medal of Honor, Garcia was denied service at a restaurant located in a town just a few miles south of Houston because he was Hispanic. Garcia was beaten with a bat by the owner. No one was arrested and no charges were initially filed it was only after Walter Winchell cover the incident and labeled Sugarland the most racist city in America that charges were filed. Then the incident was covered by the news media and caused an uproar amongst the Hispanic community who rallied to his aid. The nation was made aware as to the discriminatory policies that Hispanics were subject to as an indirect result of the trial of which Garcia was eventually acquitted.[4]

Later yearsEdit

García became an American citizen on June 25, 1947 and earned a high school diploma in 1951. On May 18, 1952, he married Alicia Reyes with whom he had three children. For twenty-five years he worked as a counselor in the Veterans' Administration.[4]

On the evening of November 21, 1963, Marcario Garcia greeted President John F. Kennedy at the door of the Rice Ballroom in Houston Texas. The ballroom was filled with a diverse crowd of attendees that included Hispanic World War II veterans, Civil Rights advocates and future political activists. The president spoke of U.S. and Latin American Foreign Policy and the importance of recognition and acknowledgement of Hispanic organizations like the United Latin American Citizens (ULAC). Speaking in fluent Spanish, Mrs. Kennedy offered words of inspiration, encouragement and hope. The unprecedented meeting by an American President and First Lady addressing Hispanic minorities is considered by many to be the emergence of the Latino vote in the United States. The day after this historic meeting Kennedy was dead.

Garcia died on December 24, 1972, from the injuries which he received as a result of a car accident. He was buried with full military honors in the Houston National Cemetery in Houston, Texas. The local government of Houston honored his memory by naming a middle school after him as well as renaming part of 69th Street in Houston "S/SGT Marcario Garcia Street". In 1983 Vice President George Bush dedicated Houston's new Macario García Army Reserve Center, and in 1994 a Sugar Land middle school was named in García's honor.[4]

Awards and recognitionsEdit

Among Staff Sergeant Marcario Garcia's decorations and medals were the following:

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars Bronze Star ribbon.svg Purple Heart BAR.svg
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
<center>Medal of Honor
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal

Foreign award

  • Mérito Militar - Mexico

See alsoEdit


  1. It should be noted that his "Medal of Honor citation" and some websites referrer to the subject as "Marcario" while in some other websites the subject is referred to as "Macario"


Further readingEdit

The following books make references to Marcario Garcia's exploits.

  • Medal of Honor: Historical Facts And Figures, page 167, by Ron Owens
  • The Battle of Hurtgen Forest (West Wall Series) (West Wall), page 133, by Charles Whiting
  • The Quest for Tejano Identity in San Antonio, Texas, 1913-2000 (Latino Communities: Emerging Voices—Political, Social, Cultural and Legal Issues), page 56, by Jr., Richard Buitron and Richard Buitron
  • ÁRaza Sí! ÁGuerra No!: Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam War Era, page 36, by Lorena Oropeza
  • Moon Handbooks Charleston and Savannah (Moon Handbooks), page 115, by Mike Sigalas

External linksEdit

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