On Veteran's Day 2007
Back in the 1950s and 1960s my father and Macario Garcia used to have a beer together when they got a chance. Macario's older brother Carlos married Tomasita Martinez, whose father (Don Atanacio Martinez) was my Dad's compadre.
I wrote a chapter on Macario Garcia in my new book. It's titled "The Warrior."
Below is an article from the Fort Bend Eagle by Chris Fernandez:
Macario Garcia- Texas Historical Commission dedicates Historical Marker to A Real American Hero...
Macario Garcia was born on January 2, 1920, in Villa de Castaños, Coahuila, Mexico. His parents Josefa and Luciano Garcia were peasant farmers. The family became aware that a better life could be obtained in America. In October 1923, at the tender age of four, Macario, his older brother Carlos, his parents, and his Uncle Felix headed north to America. The Garcia family settled 70 miles East of San Antonio in the town of Waelder, Texas. In 1935 the Garcia family moved to Sugar Land, Texas where they found work on the Paul Schumann Ranch. Macario Garcia remained on the ranch until he was drafted into the Army.
Macario Garcia came from a poor family and was a migrant farm worker for most of his early childhood. Education was a luxury that most migrant families went without. They needed every able body with hands working the fields. Macario often missed school and only achieved the equivalent of a 3rd grade education. It was not uncommon for Hispanic migrant workers to receive a limited education before having to work full time. Once a migrant worker could read and write, and do arithmetic, their education was considered complete. Military records indicate that he earned seven dollars a week as a farm laborer and could speak, read, and write in both English and Spanish.
On November 11, 1942, at age of 22, Macario Garcia was inducted into the United States Army. Although Macario was not yet an American Citizen he proudly and readily served his adopted country. Macario would later state that he felt it was his obligation to do something for his new country. Mr. Garcia stood only 5 feet 5 inches, soon his heart would overshadow his stature. He was sent to Fort Sam Houston, located in Texas for a week of Army Indoctrination. November 21, 1942 Pvt. Garcia was assigned to Company B, 51st. Training Battalion in Camp Robinson Arkansas where he received his basic training.
D-Day the Invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944, on a 50 mile stretch of beach.
World War (WWII) 1944 the largest Military amphibious assault in history was launched.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the armies of both U.S. and Allied Forces; led the fight in liberating Europe from Nazi Germany and Chancellor Adolph Hitler’s death grip. The first waves of the U.S. 1st Army's 5th Corps were the first to land. First soldiers to land were engineers, men whose job was to rid the beaches of concrete stakes, mines, and other anti-invasion obstacles. The D-Day Invasion was supported by paratroopers, bombers, and warships.
Macario Garcia was involved in the single greatest show of military strategy know to mankind. Macario Garcia landed with the tank division led by General, George S. Patton, who had come across from Great Britain via the English Channel was now physically engaged with the enemy. Macario was injured during a tank battle days after his landing at Normandy. Pvt. Macario Garcia spent approximately 4 months recovering from his wounds. In October of the same year, Pvt. Garcia rejoined his company and was promoted to acting Squad Leader and then received a battlefield commendation to Sergeant. On November 27, 1944, Sergeant Macario Garcia single handedly destroyed 2 enemy emplacements near the town of Grosshau, Germany. Sergeant Garcia was injured on the shoulder and foot, but kept fighting. Macario Garcia fought until the mission was complete by finishing off the machine gun nests.
In August 23, 1945 President Harry S. Truman placed the highest honor a soldier can receive, The Congressional Medal of Honor, rested on the shoulders of one mighty soldier from the D-Day Invasion. The country of Mexico awarded him with their highest honor, Meritor Militar, the equivalent of the Medal of Honor. The ceremony took place in Mexico City on January 8, 1946. On June 25, 1947 Macario Garcia became an American Citizen. He earned his High School diploma in 1951 and in 1952 married.
In 1955 his wife Alicia gave birth to the first of three children, Carlos Roberto. In 1956 their only daughter was born, Maria Theresa. In 1960 the second son and last child, Rene Gustavo, was born.
In 1965 Macario Garcia was promoted to First Sergeant. In 1967 he was promoted to highest enlisted rank possible the rank of Sergeant Major. He would later receive an other promotion to Command Sergeant Major.
In 1963 Macario Garcia would meet and shake hands with President John F. Kennedy. He also attended a dinner during a LULAC affair in Houston, Texas on the eve of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas.
On August 25, 1965, Macario Garcia Day was declared in the city of Houston, Texas. 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.
On Christmas Eve, 1972, Macario Garcia was involved in a head on automobile collision that ultimately took his life. Macario Garcia never knew of the many honors that were given in his name.
This country owes a great debt of gratitude to the many soldiers that never came back from Normandy and that did not come back from WWI, Vietnam or Korea. The free and the brave gave so dearly, so that we could have the rights that so many take for granted everyday.
I would like to thank Lupe Garcia, brother of Macario Garcia for his time, insight and authorization of this page. Lupe Garcia is also a Veteran of the United States Navy and served under the JFK and LBJ Administration. Lupe Garcia is the speaker for the family and became proactive a few years after Macario's death. In his statement Mr. Garcia speaks on a major issue in America today. “It is a heartfelt pain that strikes me every time I see so many standing up in hatred against the Hispanic community. America is turning its back on a community that willingly gave up their sons so that all could enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that this country has to offer. It is hurtful and insulting when political leaders speak negatively about Immigrants and city officials across the country make laws turning away immigrants and criminalizing those just seeking a better life. We know that the infrastructure, social, and economic development of this country was founded by immigrants. “
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