1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

MEDAL OF HONOR

Macario Garcia

Company B 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

 

 

A colorized photo of Macario Garcia taken without his Medal of Honor

 

 

Note: The information presented here for Macario Garcia's military service is from the best available research as of June 2017.
The 1st Battalion website does not have access to Garcia's personal records or to a certified copy of his service details.
A request has been sent to the National Personnel Records Center asking for copies of Garcia's service files in an attempt
to document his service accurately and completely. Should the NPRC furnish additional details or correct details presented here
such information will be added to this presentation.

 

The enlistment record for Macario Garcia indicates that he was drafted into the Army on November 11, 1942
at Houston, Texas. His home of residence was listed as Fort Bend, Texas. His year of birth was listed as 1920
and place of birth as Mexico. He tood five feet five inches tall and weighed 123 pounds. His education level
was listed as Grammar School and his civilian occupation was listed as Farm hands, general farms. At the time
of his induction he was single with no dependents and was not a US citizen.

He received a week of indoctrination at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. On November 21, 1942 he was
assigned to Company B 51st Training Battalion at Camp Robinson, Arkansas for Basic Training.
1

After his initial training he spent most of 1943 at Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of a demonstration team at
Officers Candidate School, conducting live-fire demonstrations of Infantry weapons to the candidates.
2

In April 1944 Garcia was shipped to England and was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Replacement pool.
As the 22nd Infantry Regiment sustained heavy casualties in the days following the D-Day landing, replacements
were needed by the Regiment and sent to the 22nd Infantry in batches from England. Garcia was sent in one of
those batches to Company B 22nd Infantry on June 17, 1944. He was assigned to 2nd Platoon.

 

 

Above: A page from the Morning Report for Company B 22nd Infantry of June 29, 1944.
The bottom entry shows that "25 Enlisted Men were assigned to and joined the Company
from Headquarters 4th Infantry Division Army Postal Office #4 US Army on June 17, 1944
see copy roster attached."

 

 

 

 

Above: The attached roster to the Morning Report posted above which lists the
25 Enlisted Men assigned to Company B 22nd Infantry on June 17, 1944.
Macario Garcia's name is eighth from the top.

 

 

Garcia was wounded in Normandy on June 19. 3 One report states he refused evacuation and
returned to his unit the next day. Another report indicates he returned to his Company on July 12.
A third report states his recovery took four months and he did not rejoin his Company until a month
before his Medal of Honor action.
4

At some time Garcia became a scout employed by Company B. A scout ranged ahead of the Company
sometimes alone but usually in concert with one or more other scouts.

The best description of Garcia's actions in combat are from his official biographers Robert and Katherine Bailey.
In the passages below the authors relate episodes to illustrate the kind of soldier Garcia was. The Lieutenant Tony Bizarro
mentioned in the passages was Garcia's Platoon Leader in 2nd Platoon of Company B. Bizarro was highly decorated
and retired as a Major. Parts of Bizarro's phone conversations with author Robert Bailey are in the following passages.

 

(September 16, 1944)

Along GERMANY'S SIEGFRIED LINE, Macario Garcia, Private First Class, aka 'acting Sergeant', Company B,
1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, as 1st Scout was given the mission of obtaining information
concerning German troops opposing his company. He moved forward into enemy territory and for a period of three hours
made observations of German activity. Although he was in danger of discovery at any time by enemy patrols or outpost troops,
he escaped detection and returned to his company with vital information concerning the location and disposition of
German troops. The results of his reconnaissance contributed materially to the subsequent successful operations of
his company. He was awarded the Bronze Star for this brave action and was cited for an outstanding accomplishment
that reflects credit upon himself and the military service.

This was not a one time event for RFC Macario Garcia. "He was always well forward." A few days after this Bronze Star
action, 1st Scout, PFC Macario Garcia was about five hundred yards forward when an American tank, not believing a friendly
could be that far forward, fired into Macario's position and wounded him. He did not receive a Purple Heart; it was
a friendly fire incident.
5

 

(September 30, 1944)

Garcia's commanding officer told him to get up there about 500 yards. Macario and his buddy, Jefferies, moved away
from the company and stretched out on the ground. Macario saw a camouflaged machine gun nest and told Jeffries to stay put.
Macario crawled around and out flanked the German position, cut the phone line and then slipped up behind the German and
took him prisoner. For this, PFC Macario Garcia, 1st Scout, Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry
Division was awarded a second Bronze Star (Oak Leaf Cluster). During this couple of hours of scouting he was almost wounded
again when the Germans opened fire, and a bullet went through his boot just missing his big toe.

Lt. Tony Bizzaro said, "Garcia and Jeffries [Jeffrey] were two of the best scouts I have ever seen. They had just plain guts,"
and they were always well forward.

Major Bizzaro often choked up when he talked about Macario, and told Robert, "There was nothing Macario would not do
for his buddies." He told Robert that Macario Garcia was the best soldier in the U. S. Army. When Robert asked him how he
could say that, Major Bizzaro replied, "It was nothing you could explain; there was just something about the way Macario moved
and went into attack."
6

In another scouting incident, PFC Macario Garcia and PFC Charles Jeffries went forward with their B-A-R's thirty yards
in advance of their platoon and about the same distance from each other. Three machine gun positions were reduced by
one of these scouts opening fire to draw fire, while the second was working around to the flank of the gun, firing, and then
an assault squad of about fifteen men attacked the gun with a steady rush of fire superiority. During these skirmishes
all Germans manning the machine gun nests were killed. This team was a force to be reckoned with.
7

 

(November 27, 1944)

Col. Lanham again ordered the gap between the 2nd and 3rd Battalions to be closed. "This time Lieutenant Dickenson's
Baker Company received the assignment. Baker Company's attack never really got started. German machine-gun crossfire
and artillery stopped the Company cold on the open ground that Charlie Company had easily crossed the day before.
This day the open field turned into a meat grinder. Lieutenant Dickenson and two other officers were wounded leading the attack,
and Lieutenant Tony Bizzaro, one of the two remaining officers, assumed command. Seventeen of the eighteen men in the
1st Platoon were killed or wounded when caught in the killing ground of an open area. When 3rd Platoon tried to cross the same field,
it suffered almost the same treatment, with only twelve coming back."

(Website Ed.: Casualty lists for November 27, 1944 indicate that Garcia's Company suffered a total of six killed
and twenty-nine wounded on that day.)

The bloodletting stopped only when the Germans sent Charlie Company's wounded from the previous day's fighting back
to the American lines. "Assisting the German medic responsible for taking the wounded back was Tech 5 Bishop, who had
awakened in the morning to find Germans all around him. He was put to work caring for American wounded, and when
the Baker Company attacked stalled, both sides held their fire while the two medics carried five wounded soldiers into
the American lines. Then the attack resumed."

Now Baker Company was only about thirty strong. Second Platoon "attempted to slip a squad at a time across the field.
Ten men [including Private First Class Macario Garcia and Charles Edwards] got within twenty yards of the woods
before a machine gun pinned them down."

Macario Garcia watched his buddy, Charles Edwards, stagger backwards with a "round, white hole in his forehead,"
and saw that tragic look on his face when a man realizes in that brief instance between life and death that he has been had.
Macario's memory was etched with the sight of Edwards' "life blood spurting out in rhythmic, ebbing flow."
(A newspaper article from July 11, 1950, by Louis Blackburn)

Macario's luck ran out when he was spun around, knocked to the ground and felt the flash of pain in his right shoulder
like the prick of sharp knives and felt his blood bathe the right side of his body. Even so, he calculated the cost in blood and
human life that had been poured out over the past sixteen days for this few square miles. This was the day the fate of his
brothers fell on his shoulders. He summoned all his resolve and strength and managed to crawl into the underbrush,
while the German machine gunner and riflemen tried to finish him off. He sortied up the hill and through the woods,
captured two Germans and took them down the hill. He then went back up after the machine gun. As he proceeded,
he faced off with a German rifleman. Although hit in the arm during the exchange, Macario delivered the lethal shot.

He then killed the two Germans manning the machine gun in the fortified bunker with two shots of his M-1 and killed
three more trying to escape. He tossed in a grenade to be certain the gunners were dead. Inside the bunker he opened their
blue tunics and saw their shrapnel riddled bodies; his nostrils filled with acrid burnt gun powder, and he became nauseated; yet,
he felt elated about completing the mission. He broke the machine gun, striking it against a tree.

Macario went back down the hill to call his company up when another machine gun opened fire, killing and wounding more
of his squad. Macario disappeared into the woods, maneuvering to find the gun and got the jump on another German rifleman,
who "threw up his hands" and "babbled a pleading torrent of German, fear welling in his throat." Not a wanton killer, Macario
did not squeeze the trigger. He took the prisoner toward the company, and turned back up the hill toward the machine gun.
Suddenly, a sniper fired three shots that pinged head high into an oak tree. Macario fell on his face and rolled behind the trunk.
He crouched there like a hunted animal. trying to figure out what to do next. His "plight was reduced to basic mathematics -
it was me or the machine gunner! And the odds were all in his favor." While contemplating, German artillery whistled
overhead seeking to decimate his buddies (Kill 'Em Like Rabbits, as told to Zarko Franks)

Macario now noticed the blood in his boots, the pain in his shoulder and the weakness crawling over his body. As enemy fire
continued into his position he thought to himself, "I can either die here or die trying." The trajectory of the incoming artillery
became so low that the tree tops exploded, raining down shards of wood and steel shrapnel on his position, killing the sniper.
Macario bolted out from behind the tree, and to his dismay ran smack dab into two more Germans which he took prisoner.
He watched as they made their way down the hill.

He did not know how much strength he had left, but it would have to be enough. He nursed one thought, "You have to get
that machine gun. You have to knock it out!" He sortied toward the sound of the second machine gun and in about 15 minutes
got into position just as they were changing the sizzling hot barrel.

He noticed how young and handsome the gunners were, and wondered about their families or perhaps a girl waiting back
home, and then remembered Edwards, his own pain, and his other dead buddies. Surprised, the gunners swung around
towards Macario, and Macario began firing, not knowing how many rounds he fired, but he recalled it "felt like
killing rabbits in a pen." (Kill 'Em Like Rabbits, as told to Zarko Franks)

He pitched a grenade and the pain shot down his arm to his finger tips. The grenade missed its target. He moved within
twelve yards, and even with the injured shoulder, he did not miss. Macario Garcia then scoured the hill to make sure
there were no more machine gun nests.

The remainder of Baker Company charged up the hill upon Easy Company's arrival, and the gunners of the third
machine gun nest and other Germans scattered in wild flight over the hill.

When Col. Lanham heard the hill had been taken and of the deeds of PFC Macario Garcia and his refusal of medical care
until the enemy was finally driven from that hill, he exclaimed, "I will see to it that he receives the Medal of Honor!"

 

Above: An entry at 7:10 p.m. from the Daily Action Journal of the 22nd Infantry for November 28, 1944 monitoring communications in the Regiment.
The entry records that the Plans Officer of 1st Battalion (Red-5) called the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Colonel Lanham (S-6)
to give Lanham the name of the man who commited the heroic act. The Plans Officer gave Lanham Macario Garcia's name, service number
and actual rank. The Plans Officer also stated that Garcia was an acting Staff Sergeant of 2nd Platoon of B Company at the time.
Lanham then said to get two witnesses to Garcia's act because Lanham was going to put Garcia
in for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Courtesy of John Tomawski

 

 

Above: An entry at 8:25 p.m. from the Daily Action Journal of the 22nd Infantry for November 28, 1944 monitoring communications in the Regiment.
The entry records that the Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division, Major General Barton (G-6) called the Commanding Officer of the
Regiment, Colonel Lanham (S-6) to ask about the situation. After informing Barton of the situation Lanham then told him of the act of Private First
Class Garcia of B Company who was already shot through the leg and alone volunteered to get 2 enemy machine gun nests that were up on a hill
and shooting up B Company. Lanham further recounted how Garcia went up the hill alone and captured both machine guns and killed their crews.
Lanam then said he would put Garcia in for the Congressional Medal of Honor and General Barton (G-6) agreed that Garcia should get the medal.

Courtesy of John Tomawski

 

 

Garcia was evacuated to the field hospital for surgery and then sent to England for almost six weeks where he received
blood transfusions and convalesced.
8

 

Garcia, still a Private First Class, rejoined Baker Company on the front line in January 1945 near the end of the
Battle of the Bulge and was offered a battlefield commission which he refused. Captain Bizzaro said,
"Well, no more acting anything. You are promoted to Staff Sergeant!" Captain Bizzaro then put his arm around
Macario's shoulder and said those unforgettable words, "Garcia, I have recommended you for the Medal of Honor
for wiping out those machine guns near Grosshau."

Garcia was rotated back to the States in March 1945, after having served on the front line for one-hundred eighty days
as 1st scout for Company B, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
9

 

 

Above: A section of the After Action Report of the 22nd Infantry for the month of November 1944.
Macario Garcia is mentioned by name in the report.

Courtesy of John Tomawski

 

 

Above: The description of the events of November 27, 1944 in the history of the 22nd Infantry
in World War II as written by the Chaplain of the Regiment. Garcia is mentioned by name in the report.

From HISTORY OF THE TWENTY-SECOND UNITED STATES INFANTRY in World War II
by Dr. William S. Boice Pub. 22nd Infantry Regiment Society 1959 pp. 73

 

 

 

Above: The citation for the award of the Medal of Honor to Macario Garcia

 

 

After his return to the United States Garcia was on duty at Fort Hood, Texas, training troops for the upcoming planned
invasion of Japan. While at Fort Hood Garcia was notified in July 1945 that he was to report to Washington, D.C. for
participation in an award ceremony where he would receive the Medal of Honor.
10

He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Tuman in a ceremony at the White House
on August 23, 1945.

Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia was discharged from the United States Army on October 8, 1945.

 

In January 1946 Macario Garcia was one of five Hispanic recipients of the Medal of Honor
who were invited to Mexico to receive awards by the Mexican Government. Garcia was first awarded
the Medalla al Mérito Militar (Medal of Military Merit) in a ceremony on one day and in a second ceremony
the next day he was awarded the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca (Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle.)

 

 

Above: Front page of the Mexico City newspaper El Universal for January 10, 1946
showing the recipients of medals by the Mexican government.

Photo from Seize Occupy and Defend The Priceless Legacy of Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia
by Robert Bailey and Katherine Bailey, Lulu Publishing 2014 pp. 157

 

 

Above: Mexican Secretary of National Defense Lieutenant General Francisco Luis Urquizo awards
Macario Garcia the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican Government January 1946.
Garcia is second from the right in the photo.

Photo from Seize Occupy and Defend The Priceless Legacy of Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia
by Robert Bailey and Katherine Bailey, Lulu Publishing 2014 pp. 157

 

 

 

In 1953 Garcia joined the United States Army Reserves.

In 1965 he was promoted to First Sergeant. In 1967 he was promoted to Sergeant Major. He would eventually attain the rank
of Command Sergeant Major. In 1968 "Mac" as he became known, volunteered to go to Vietnam where he would be assigned
to the 22nd Replacement Battalion at Cam Ranh Bay where he would spend six months counseling returning veterans on their
benefits upon returning to the states.
11

 

 

 

Macario Garcia's decorations

1st row: Medal of Honor

2nd row: Combat Infantryman Badge

3rd row left to right: Bronze Star Medal with V device and oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster,
Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with
four bronze service stars, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star,
Vietnam Service Medal, Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca, Medalla al Mérito Militar, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

4th row left to right: Expert Automatic Rifle, Sharpshooter Rifle, Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster,
Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm

Note: The above decorations are based on the best available research as of June 2017.

 

 

 

Above: Macario Garcia was also awarded the Belgian Fourragere

 

 

 

 

 

1 From an article by Chris Fernandez posted on the Dream Act-Texas website

2 Seize Occupy and Defend The Priceless Legacy of Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia
by Robert Bailey and Katherine Bailey, Lulu Publishing 2014 pp. 29

3 Ibid. pp. 34

4 NCO Journal November 14, 2013

5 Seize Occupy and Defend The Priceless Legacy of Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia
by Robert Bailey and Katherine Bailey, Lulu Publishing 2014 pp 103-104

6 Ibid. pp. 112-113

7 Ibid. pp. 116

8 Ibid. pp. 137-143

9 Ibid. pp. 147

10 Ibid. pp. 148

11 From an article by Chris Fernandez posted on the Dream Act-Texas website

 

 

 

 


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