b. 26/09/1929 Corozal, Puerto Rico. d. 29/03/1996 Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 28/04/1951 Kalma-Eri, Korea.
Juan E. Negrón Martínez= was born and raised in the town of Corozal, Puerto Rico. In March 1948, he entered the U.S. Army in San Juan and was assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment.
Upon the outbreak of the Korean War, the men of the 65th, now attached to the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, deployed to the Republic of Korea. They were among the first infantrymen to meet the enemy on the battlefield. After November 1950, they fought daily against units of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) after the Chinese entered the war on the North Korean side. One of the hardships suffered by the Puerto Ricans was the lack of warm clothing during the cold and harsh winters. Among the battles and operations in which the 65th participated was Operation Killer in January 1951, becoming the first regiment to cross the Han River in South Korea during the operation. In April 1951, the regiment participated in the Uijeonbu Corridor drives.
On April 28, 1951, Negrón’s unit came under heavy enemy attack. He was able to halt the enemy attack, despite the wounds which he received, by accurately throwing hand grenades at short range. For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest military decoration for heroism.
After the war, Negrón continued to serve in the military. Among the positions which he held were that of senior non-commissioned officer for the Directorate of Doctrine and inspector general in Thailand. Master Sergeant Negrón retired from the U.S. Army in 1971 after 23 years of service. Upon his retirement, he entered the federal service in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. On March 29, 1996, Negrón died in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
Negron’s Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a ceremony in the White House. It was presented to his daughter on March 18, 2014.
The award came through the National Defense Authorization Act which called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.
Negrón is among three other Puerto Ricans whose Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration in the United States. He also has the distinction of being one of nine Puerto Ricans and the only member of the 65th Infantry Regiment to be honored with the decoration.
Sergeant Juan E. Negron distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a member of Company L, 65th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Kalma-Eri, Korea on April 28, 1951. That afternoon, Sergeant Negron took up the most vulnerable position on his company’s exposed right flank after an enemy force had overrun a section of the line. When notified that elements of his company were withdrawing, Sergeant Negron refused to leave his exposed position, instead delivering withering fire at hostile troops who had broken through a road block. When the hostile troops approached his position, Sergeant Negron accurately hurled hand grenades at short range, halting their attack. Sergeant Negron held the position throughout the night while friendly forces organized and launched a counterattack. The next morning, after the enemy had been repulsed, friendly forces relieved Sergeant Negron and found the bodies of fifteen enemy soldiers surrounding his position. Sergeant Negron’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: SAN JUAN NATIONAL CEMETERY, BAYAMON, PUERTO RICO.
SECTION J, GRAVE 3160.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.