A Brief Reminder Of The Role Of Hispanics In The U.S. Military

Modelo Especial recently highlighted Hispanics’ contribution to the U.S. Armed Services in an ad celebrating the service of Juan Rodriguez-Chavez. Many see this ad in the context of today’s political environment, and perhaps it was intended as such. However, this 30-second vignette highlights a tradition that extends to the formative days of our country.

The National Park Service recognizes that Hispanics have fought in every U.S. conflict from the American Revolution to the current Afghanistan War. Jorge Farragut, one of many Hispanics in uniform, served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Revolutionary War. His son, David, would go on to receive high honors in the Civil War:

After lashing himself to the rigging to keep from being flung overboard during the furious sea battle for Mobile Bay in 1864 during the Civil War, it was Admiral Farragut who determined the fate of the last sea port open to the Confederacy, sealing its fate, and preserving the Union.



“In fact, the rank of ‘Admiral’ in the U.S. Navy was created especially for Farragut to elevate him beyond any existing rank, and to celebrate his contribution of preserving the Union in the Civil War in the same way that the rank of ‘General Of The Armies’ was created for George Washington during the Revolutionary War.” 

To this day, inhabitants of Washington, D.C., can take the metro to Farragut North Station and can be seen having lunch in Farragut Square.

Overall, Hispanics have received 44 Medals of Honor as part of their service. One such recipient was Pvt. Marcelino Serna, born in Chihuahua, Mexico, who went on to become the most decorated soldier in World War I from Texas, and the first Hispanic winner of the Medal of Honor:

“Private Serna single-handedly captured 24 German soldiers in France. For his courageous efforts, Private Serna received the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, the Victory Medal with three bars, and two Purple Hearts.” 

Marcelino Serna, Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, Jorge Farragut, and his son David are just a few notable Hispanics you’ve probably never heard nor thought of when considering U.S. Military history. These contributions continue, and our country is increasingly looking to our Hispanic countrymen and women to serve. From a 2013 report, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Department of Defense spokesman, asserted that Hispanics comprised 11.4% of the active-duty military forces (more than 157,000 people). In 2011, 16.9% of all new recruits were Hispanic.

So, in this Memorial Day week, let’s take a moment to say “gracias” for their service. Raise a glass in their honor. Maybe a Modelo Especial.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications