Images: Valor 24: Master Sgt. Michael C. Peña [Image 2 of 5]
Medal of Honor candidate Master Sgt. Michael C. Peña was born in Newgulf, Texas, Nov. 6, 1924. Peña joined the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 1941, when he was just 16-years-old. He fought in both World War II and the Korean War. Peña is being recognized for his actions while serving with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry), 1st Cavalry Division on the evening of Sept. 4, 1950, near Waegwan, Korea, when his unit was fiercely attacked. Rapidly reorganizing his men, Peña led them in a counter-attack, regained the lost positions, and attempted to hold back the enemy. Despite the devastating fire laid by the friendly troops, the enemy continued to hurl themselves at the defenses in overwhelming numbers. During the course of the counter-attack, Peña realized that their ammunition was running out and ordered his unit to retreat. Peña then manned a machine-gun to cover their withdrawal. Single-handedly, he held back the enemy until the early hours of the following morning when his position was overrun, and he was killed. Michael David Peña will accept the Medal of Honor award from President Barack Obama on March 18, 2014, on behalf of his father. Peña was very young when his father was killed in action. He is a retired Navy senior chief petty officer. He’s been married to Regina Peña for over 33 years. He is a proud father of four sons and grandfather to two.