The Eugene A. Obregon / Congressional Medal of Honor Campaign

Obie's Story

Eugene Obregon's ultimate sacrifice is but one example of the patriotism and loyalty demonstrated by the 59 Latino American recipients of the Medal of Honor. Latino Americans have, time and again, shown their devotion to our country and to the ideals on which it was founded.

But Eugene Obregon's story tells us something else about these Americans. It tells us that the divisions of race, religion or color have no place in an America in which a Latino from East Los Angeles can give his life for his friend - an Anglo from Texas. Truly, this is the brotherhood America is all about and the brotherhood we wish to celebrate..

Below is Obregon's story as as told by William D. Lansford from interviews and Marine records. The story appeared on page 18 of the July 2001 issue of "Leatherneck - Magazine of the Marines."


Un Cuento Americano

"An American Story --
Gene Obregon Served Because He Owed It to Our Country"

William Douglas Lansford

The kid from East Los Angeles sat on the loader's side of the light machinegun, the helmet pushed back on his head, his profile outlined against a background of Korean sky and mountains. Opposite him sat the gunner, his face mirroring this rare moment of peace atop a ridge overlooking the Naktong River. Despite days of repeated attacks, the Reds had failed to regain the ground the Marines took from them, but they soon would be back to try again. Minutes later a Marine photographer strolled b,y and moved by the young gunners' battle-weary faces, aimed his camera, freezing the moment forever.

PFCs Obregon and Summers, September 1950

PFCs Obregon and Summers, September 1950.

During the lull following the second battle of the Naktong, on this sweltering September day in 1950, Pfc. Ralph Summers and his assistant gunner, Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon, chatted, ate their C-rations, drank from their canteens, and generally did what Marines do when someone isn't trying to kill them. As darkness fell, both slid into the hole behind their gun to keep watch through the night. Like other men of George Company, 3d Battalion, Fifth Marines, they may have dreamed of home, of the lives they'd left behind. Neither dreamed that in 10 days they would assault a place called Inchon, and that 12 days later both would be caught in a storm of enemy fire, one to survive, the other to become a legend.

By any measure, G/3/5 has an extraordinary history, forged by extraordinary men. If Gene Obregon had not earned the Medal of Honor it's probable he would not stand out, but he did, and at a 50th anniversary reunion of George Co's graying warriors, a portrait of Obregon was prominently displayed beside the citation accompanying his award. That weekend, as the heroes of Pusan, Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir remembered, a story shrouded by the fogs of half a century gradually reappeared.

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