Soldier Spotlight: Private First Class Demensio Rivera

Biography

Medal of Honor nominee Demensio Rivera, was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, April 29, 1933.

He joined the U.S. Army, Sept. 26, 1950, in New York.

Then-Pvt. Demensio Rivera is being recognized for his actions at Changyongni, Korea, May 22-23, 1951. When the outpost area occupied by his platoon was assaulted during the night, Rivera, an automatic rifleman, held his forward position tenaciously, although exposed to very heavy fire. When his rifle became inoperative, Rivera employed his pistol and grenades, and eventually fought the enemy hand-to-hand and forced them back.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Rivera received the Distinguished Service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Citation for Distinguished Service Cross

Pfc. Demensio Rivera, received the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

Rivera distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces at Changyong-ni, Korea, May 22-23, 1951. When the outpost area occupied by his platoon was assaulted during the night, Rivera, an automatic rifleman, held his forward position tenaciously, although exposed to very heavy fire. With his automatic rifle, he delivered a continuous and devastating fire at the approaching enemy until this weapon became inoperative, whereupon he employed his pistol and grenades and stopped the enemy within a few feet of his position.

During a renewed attack, he fought the enemy hand-to-hand and forced them back. Finally, as an overwhelming number of the enemy closed in on him, he killed four of them with his only remaining grenade, although they were in such close proximity he was severely wounded by the same explosion. When his position was retaken, he was recovered, seriously wounded, and lying with the bodies of the four enemy dead or dying.

Rivera’s fearless performance was a major factor in successfully repulsing the enemy’s attacks.

Citation represents Soldier’s rank at time of action

Medal of Honor

Rivera is set to receive the Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony at the White House on March 18.

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