Marcario García was the first Mexican immigrant to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He was awarded the medal for his actions in Germany on November 27, 1944, while a member of the 4th Infantry Division.
García was born on January 20, 1920, in Villa de Castaños, Mexico in the state of Coahuila. In 1924, García’s family immigrated to the United States in search of a better way of life. Marcario lived in Sugar Land, Texas where he worked as a cotton farmer.
Following the U.S.’s entry into World War II, García joined the United States Army as a private at his adopted hometown’s recruiting station in November 1942. He was assigned to Company B, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
On November 27, 1944, near Grosshau, Germany, while an acting squad leader of Company B, 22d Infantry, García singlehandedly assaulted two enemy machine-gun emplacements.
His company was pinned down by intense machine-gun, as well as concentrated artillery and mortar, fire. Although painfully wounded, García refused to be evacuated and on his own initiative crawled forward alone through sparse cover until he reached a position near an enemy emplacement.
Hurling grenades, García led a one-man assault on the enemy machine-gun position and destroyed the gun. When three enemy soldiers attempted to flee, García cooly picked them all off with his rifle. When he rejoined his company, a second machine gun opened fire, and once again Garcia went forward, in complete disregard for his own safety. He stormed the position and destroyed the gun while killing three more Germans and capturing four others.
García fought on with his unit until their objective was secured. Only then did he accept to be removed for medical care.
On August 23, 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented Staff Sergeant García with the Medal of Honor at a ceremony in the White House.
Medal of Honor Citation:
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army B Company 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Grosshau, Germany—November 27, 1944.
Entered service at Sugarland, Texas
Born: January 20, 1920, Villa de Castano, Mexico
G.O. # 74 September 1, 1945.
“Staff Sergeant Marcario García, Company B, 22nd Infantry, in action involving actual conflict with the enemy in the vicinity of Grosshau, Germany, 27 November 1944. While an acting squad leader, he single-handedly assaulted two enemy machine-gun emplacements.
Attacking prepared positions on a wooded hill, which could be approached only through the meager cover. His company was pinned down by intense machine-gun fire and subjected to a concentrated artillery and mortar barrage. Although painfully wounded, he refused to be evacuated and on his own initiative crawled forward alone until he reached a position near an enemy emplacement. Hurling grenades, he boldly assaulted the position, destroyed the gun, and with his rifle killed three of the enemy who attempted to escape.
When he rejoined his company, a second machine-gun opened fire and again the intrepid soldier went forward, utterly disregarding his own safety. He stormed the position and destroyed the gun, killed three more Germans, and captured four prisoners. He fought on with his unit until the objective was taken and only then did he permit himself to be removed for medical care.
S/Sgt. (then Pvt.) García’s conspicuous heroism, his inspiring, courageous conduct, and his complete disregard for his personal safety wiped out two enemy emplacements and enabled his company to advance and secure its objective.”
A month after receiving the Medal of Honor, García was denied service at a restaurant in Sugar Land due to his being a Hispanic. To make matters worse, he was beaten with a baseball bat outside the establishment. Local authorities arrested García but kept postponing the trial until they finally dropped all charges.
García finally became a U.S. citizen in 1947 and received his high school diploma in 1951. He worked at the Veterans Administration (VA) as a counselor for 25 years. He died in 1972 in a car crash and was buried with full military honors in Houston National Cemetery.