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Soldier from Wharton County was true hero

By Victoria Advocate
March 2, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated March 1, 2014 at 9:02 p.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

Growing up in the Mexican barrio of Newgulf in Wharton County, we had some knowledge of the heroic actions of Mike Pena. He enlisted in the Army at 16 years of age and went to fight the Japanese in the Pacific Islands. He was twice wounded in the battlefield and received several medals and decorations for demonstrating valor.

Mike re-enlisted during the Korean War and was killed in action fighting the enemy. He was decorated again posthumously with The Distinguished Service Cross. His body was sent home and buried at Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City.

More than 63 years later, the Congressional Medal of Honor is being awarded to Mike for showing valor, bravery and honor, this time for engaging the enemy in Korea and going above and beyond the call of duty.

Mike and most of the Mexican Americans of Newgulf and around Texas during the 50s and beyond experienced a lot of racial prejudice just for being born Hispanic.

And Mike was also denied the Medal of Honor 63 years ago because of prejudice.

As kids living in Newgulf, most of us knew Mike was a war hero. We just didn't know how great a hero he truly was.

A. C. Robles, Victoria

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