Cpl. Rodolfo "Rudy" Hernandez was given a hero's farewell Monday when hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the fallen Medal of Honor recipient.There are now 77 surviving Medal of Honor recipients, ten of whom were awarded the medal for Korean War service.
Hernandez, who died Dec. 21 at age 82, was buried at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery in Spring Lake.
Hernandez earned the Medal of Honor in 1951 when, armed only with grenades and a bayonet and facing what believed to be a mortal head wound, he single-handedly charged into North Korean soldiers.
His actions spurred his fellow soldiers, who had been withdrawing, to attack. Hernandez was found the next day near death but surrounded by the bodies of six enemy soldiers who had been killed with the bayonet.
Hernandez is survived by his wife, Denzil Hernandez, and three children with his first wife, Bertha Hernandez.
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RODOLFO PEREZ HERNANDEZ
Corporal, US Army; Company G, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team
Born: 14 April 1931, Colton, California
Died: 21 December 2013, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Citation: Cpl. Hernandez, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy [near Wontong-ni, Korea, on 31 May 1951]. His platoon, in defensive positions on Hill 420, came under ruthless attack by a numerically superior and fanatical hostile force, accompanied by heavy artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire which inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon. His comrades were forced to withdraw due to lack of ammunition but Cpl. Hernandez, although wounded in an exchange of grenades, continued to deliver deadly fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants until a ruptured cartridge rendered his rifle inoperative. Immediately leaving his position, Cpl. Hernandez rushed the enemy armed only with rifle and bayonet. Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground. The indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding courage, and tenacious devotion to duty clearly demonstrated by Cpl. Hernandez reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.