Salvador J Lara MOH

b. 11/07/1920 Riverside, California. d. 01/09/1945 France.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 27-28/05/1944 Aprilia, Italy.

Salvador J Lara MOH

Lara was born in Riverside, California and raised in the neighborhood of Casa Blanca. He was the son of Juan and Isabel (Herrera) Lara, and worked in Riverside’s citrus production before enlisting with the United States Army in Los Angeles on July 29, 1942. He never married, and had no children.

In May 1944 Lara was wounded in action during the Italian campaign while serving as the squad leader of a rifle squad. Despite his injuries, he continued to lead his squad taking multiple enemy strongholds. Lara’s hometown newspaper reported his injury was sustained at the Anzio beachhead, which is about 10 miles (16 km) from Aprilia, the location of Lara’s Medal of Honor citation.

Lara died on September 1, 1945, shortly after World War II ended, while serving with the 602d Ordnance Armament Maintenance Battalion in Europe.

Members of Lara’s family received the Medal of Honor flag from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in a March 19, 2014, ceremony when Lara was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. They received the actual medal from President Barack Obama at the White House on March 18, 2014. The award came through the Defense Authorization Act, which called for a review of Jewish and Hispanic 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.



Private First Class Salvador J. Lara distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as the Squad Leader of a rifle squad with 2d Platoon, Company L, 180th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Aprilia, Italy on May 27 and 28, 1944. On the afternoon of the 27th, Private First Class Lara aggressively led his rifle squad in neutralizing multiple enemy strongpoints and in inflicting large numbers of casualties on the enemy. Having taken his initial objective, Private First Class Lara noticed that the unit to his right was meeting stiff resistance from a large, well-entrenched enemy force in a deep ditch. Private First Class Lara quickly gathered three men and attacked a wide section of the enemy position, killing four, forcing fifteen others to surrender and causing two enemy mortar crews to abandon their weapons. His fearless and efficient performance enabled both his own unit and the unit to his right to continue to their objective. The next morning, as his company resumed the attack, Private First Class Lara sustained a severe leg wound, but did not stop to receive first aid. His company suffered heavy casualties as a result of withering machinegun fire coming from an enemy strongpoint on the right flank. After requesting permission to destroy the enemy machineguns armed only with a Browning Automatic Rifle, Private First Class Lara crawled alone toward the nearest machinegun. Despite his painful wound and the extreme danger of the task, he rose and fearlessly charged the nest, killing the crew members. Another machinegun opened fire on him, but he quickly neutralized this weapon with accurate fire from his Browning, killing three more of the enemy. His aggressive attack forced two other machinegun crews to flee their weapons. After rejoining his company, Private First Class Lara continued his exemplary performance until he captured his objective. Private First Class Lara’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.