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First Name: Jose

Last Name: Valdez

Birthplace: Gobernador, NM, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Pleasant Grove, UT
Middle Name: F.

Date of Birth: 03 January 1925

Date of Death: 17 February 1945

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1944 - 1945
Jose F. Valdez

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Jose F. Valdez

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private First Class Jose F. Valdez (3 January 1925 - 17 February 1945) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Jose F. Valdez was a Mexican-American born on 3 January 1925 in Gobernador, NM. He lived in Utah in the 1940s and upon the outbreak of World War II joined the U.S. Army at a recruiting station in Pleasant Grove, UT. After completing his basic training, he was assigned to the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

The 3rd Infantry Division, under the command of Major General John W. O'Daniel, was stationed in North Africa. Gen. O'Daniel led the division in battles in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and France. On 23 January 1945, the 3rd Infantry Division began its second offensive against Siegfried Line positions south of Zweibrücken, Germany. The Siegfried Line was a defense system stretching more than 392 miles with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. It went from Kleve on the border with the Netherlands, along the western border of the old German Empire as far as the town of Weil am Rhein on the border to Switzerland.

On 25 January 1945, Valdez was on patrol with 5 of his fellow soldiers in the vicinity of Rosenkrantz, France, when they unexpectedly confronted an enemy counterattack. An enemy tank was headed towards the patrol and Valdez, upon his own initiative, opened fire against the tank with his automatic rifle, which made the tank withdraw. After Valdez killed 3 enemy soldiers in a firefight, the Germans ordered a full attack and sent in two companies of infantrymen.

Valdez offered to cover the members of his patrol when the platoon leader ordered a withdrawal. He fired upon the approaching enemy and his patrol members were able to reach American lines. Valdez was wounded and although he was able to drag himself back to the American lines, he soon died from his wounds. For his heroism he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 7th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Rosenkrantz, France, 25 January 1945.

Citation: He was on outpost duty with 5 others when the enemy counterattacked with overwhelming strength. From his position near some woods 500 yards beyond the American lines he observed a hostile tank about 75 yards away, and raked it with automatic rifle fire until it withdrew. Soon afterward he saw 3 Germans stealthily approaching through the woods. Scorning cover as the enemy soldiers opened up with heavy automatic weapons fire from a range of 30 yards, he engaged in a fire fight with the attackers until he had killed all 3. The enemy quickly launched an attack with 2 full companies of infantrymen, blasting the patrol with murderous concentrations of automatic and rifle fire and beginning an encircling movement which forced the patrol leader to order a withdrawal. Despite the terrible odds, Pfc. Valdez immediately volunteered to cover the maneuver, and as the patrol 1 by 1 plunged through a hail of bullets toward the American lines, he fired burst after burst into the swarming enemy. Three of his companions were wounded in their dash for safety and he was struck by a bullet that entered his stomach and, passing through his body, emerged from his back. Overcoming agonizing pain, he regained control of himself and resumed his firing position, delivering a protective screen of bullets until all others of the patrol were safe. By field telephone he called for artillery and mortar fire on the Germans and corrected the range until he had shells falling within 50 yards of his position. For 15 minutes he refused to be dislodged by more than 200 of the enemy; then, seeing that the barrage had broken the counter attack, he dragged himself back to his own lines. He died later as a result of his wounds. Through his valiant, intrepid stand and at the cost of his own life, Pfc. Valdez made it possible for his comrades to escape, and was directly responsible for repulsing an attack by vastly superior enemy forces.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor

Purple Heart

American Campaign Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal

World War II Victory Medal

French Croix de guerre

Fourragère Cord, granted by France to the Third Infantry Division


The government honored the memory of Valdez by naming a technical research ship the USNS Private Jose F. Valdez (T-AG-169).

The local government of New Mexico honored his memory by designating a section of U.S. Hwy. 64 in San Juan County as PFC Jose F. Valdez Memorial Highway. A U.S. Army Reserve station, located in Pleasant Grove, UT, was named after him.

An elementary school was dedicated in his name in North Denver, CO.

Death and Burial

Private First Class Jose F. Valdez was killed in action on 17 February 1945. He was buried with full military honors at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM, in Section Q, Site 29.

Honoree ID: 1682   Created by: MHOH




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