When former Green Beret, SFC Jose Rodela, who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in Vietnam, learned that his award was being upgraded to the Medal of Honor, many years later in 2014, he didn’t react very well. In fact, he wished that the government hadn’t brought up that fateful day at all. 

The war, and the memory of close friends who didn’t survive that 18-hour battle, still haunted the veteran. He preferred to leave the battle and its aftermath behind.

“I’m a little disturbed,” Rodela said at the time when he found out his medal was being upgraded. “I don’t like it, but I go along with it because of service to my country. I really wish they had left me alone, but I’m here and I’m going to give you the best I know.”

In 2002, Congress began scanning records of Black, Hispanic, and Jewish troops. It wanted to examine if there was any bias that would have prevented them from receiving the Medal of Honor in actions performed in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.