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Medal of Honor Recipients

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on 29 August 2018

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Transcript of Medal of Honor Recipients

Medal of Honor Recipients
Manuel Mendoza, Staff Sergeant
Born in Miami, AZ, June 15th 1922
Joined the Army in Phoenix, AZ, November 1942
He earned his medal in WWII on October 4th, 1944
He fended off an enemy counter attack at Mt. Battaglia, Italy
He was already wounded in the arm and leg when he bravely went to the top of the ridge and used all weapons at his disposal to fight off the enemy force. After he forced the enemy retreat, he captured a fallen enemy soldier.
Compare and Contrast
In Common
U.S. Army
Put themselves in harms way for their fellow soldiers
Both cited: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."
Both medals were awarded posthumously
Both minorities
Characteristics of Medal Recipients
Honor, Courage, Patriotism, Citizenship, Sacrifice, Valor
Valor- Manuel Mendoza exemplifies valor with the way he showed fearlessness on the battlefield. Despite being wounded, running out of ammunition multiple times, being out in the open, and having the enemy approaching, Mendoza did what he had to do and kept fighting beyond what was expected. He showed great valor despite the close threat of the enemy.
Sacrifice- Matthew Leonard gave the ultimate sacrifice when he sacrificed his life to save his men. He put himself in enemy fire many times before he ultimately charged the enemy machine gun, disabling it but also sustaining deadly wounds. His sacrifice motivated his men to victory.
Matthew Leonard, Platoon Sergeant
Born in Eutaw, AL
Married his elementary school sweetheart, Lois. Together they had 5 children.
Joined the Army in Birmingham, AL in 1949
Served in the Korean War before earning his medal in Vietnam
He earned his medal on February 28th, 1967
When his superior officers were wounded, Leonard stepped up and took leadership, motivating his men to victory. He put himself in the line of fire and was hit in the hand by a bullet while saving a wounded companion. He continued putting himself in harm's way in order to lead the platoon. In a final act of bravery, he threw himself into the fire of an enemy machine gun and disabled it, protecting his men from it's fire. He continued firing on the enemy until he died from his wounds minutes later.
Different
Mendoza fought in WWII and Leonard fought in Vietnam
Leonard died in battle but Mendoza did not
Mendoza's medal was awarded by President Obama and Leonard's medal was awarded by President Johnson.
Leonard was from Alabama and Mendoza was from Arizona
Mendoza was a Staff Sergeant and Leonard was a Platoon Sergaent

In Memory of Valor


The scene opens on a shot of the Vietnam War memorial on a bright summer day. The camera narrows in, getting closer to the memorial and the visitors there. The camera focuses on one man in particular, an older Hispanic man [MENDOZA] as he looks closely at the names etched into the wall.
He comes to one name in particular “Matthew Leonard” and his fingers reach out to touch it. After he lightly brushes over the name, he looks up into the smooth face of the black glass monument. However, it is not his reflection looking back at him. It is the face of Matthew Leonard.

LEONARD:
(
Addressed to MENDOZA
)
I recognize that look. When did you serve?

MENDOZA: World War II. I fought in Italy with the Infantry at Mt. Battaglia.

MENDOZA gets a far-off look in his eyes and the screen fades into a flashback. The sounds of gunfire and grenade explosions gets louder as the screen fades in.
YOUNG MENDOZA and his fellow soldiers are resting between battles behind a hill when they hear the gunfire and mortars of the enemy counterattack. YOUNG MENDOZA looks pretty beat up with bandages on his arm and leg. He looks up at the sound of gun fire coming from over the hill.

YOUNG MENDOZA: What is that!

He climbs up the top of the hill and sees a force of 200 enemies with machine guns, flame throwers, and a variety of other weapons.

Throw me my gun!

Another soldier throws YOUNG MENDOZA a machine gun and YOUNG MENDOZA climbs the top of the hill, firing off his weapons. When his clip runs out, he goes to the mounted machine gun, takes it off his mount and shoots it at the enemy until it too is empty. The camera switches between shots of YOUNG MENDOZA shooting and the enemies going down. Finally, he runs out of ammo and starts throwing grenades at the enemy. We see the enemy force start to retreat.

YOUNG MENDOZA:

Jumps down from the top of the hill to his fellow soldiers.
We did it guys! They are turning tail like a bunch of wusses!

SOLDIER: No, you did it Sergeant Mendoza. Three cheers for the Arizona Kid!


All the other soldiers start to cheer and clap YOUNG MENDOZA on the back.
The scene fades out to utter silence as we come back to the previous scene with MENDOZA staring off into space and LEONARD is looking at MENDOZA as he thinks.

MENDOZA: I was fortunate to make it out of that with my life. Seems like you weren't so lucky.

LEONARD: No, I sure wasn’t. But I saved my men that day and that’s what counts.

LEONARD looks off into the distance past MENDOZA as the scene fades again.
The sounds of machine gun fire fill the room as we see YOUNG LEONARD crouched next the body of his fallen officer.
LEONARD:

He stands up and turns to his men.

Alright boys, now is the time to become men! We can’t let these commies win. They have already taken too much from us
(
he gestures to the fallen soldier
)
and I will not let them take any more!
SOLDIERS: YEAH!!!
Everyone breaks off to take positions and fire at the enemy. We can see LEONARD running between the soldiers giving orders and resupplying ammunition. There is a quick scene where he gets shot in the hand as he drags a wounded soldier behind the protective barrier. It barely phases him as he finishes dragging the soldier to safety.
SOLDIER: Look! They brought in the big guns!
The scene switches so we see the Viet Cong soldiers rolling up a big machine gun.
LEONARD:

Looks over to the machine gun with a slight look of fright. Then he steels his features into a hard grimace and speaks back to the soldier.

They won’t take us out that easy.

Before anybody has processed what he said, LEONARD jumps from behind the protections and runs straight at the machine gun, firing his own at it the whole way. We see LEONARD take several bullets as he runs forward, but he keeps running and firing. Suddenly the machine gun breaks down. Seeing this, LEONARD falls over and drags himself up against a tree. We see him firing bullets as he bleeds out from his wounds.
LEONARD:

With his breath coming in ragged bursts
.
Don’t let them take anything else from us.
LEONARD leans his head back, closes his eyes, and goes limp against the tree.
The scene fades out and back to LEONARD and MENDOZA at the Vietnam Memorial.


MENDOZA: Thank you for your sacrifice. I will always remember your valor.

MENDOZA does a slow and dramatic salute and LEONARD does the same.
The camera pans out to the mall as a whole with a final shot of the Washington Memorial as the sun flares behind it.
Full transcript