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Bakersfield, CA – Today at the White House, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Specialist Leonard L. Alvarado, a true American hero who answered the call to serve our nation, making the ultimate sacrifice while saving the lives of several of his fellow soldiers under enemy fire.

Mr. Alvarado was born in Bakersfield, CA on February 13, 1947, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in July of 1968. On August 12, 1969, Mr. Alvarado was serving as a rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) on a mission to fight back an enemy attack on a sister platoon in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam. Upon initially engaging with the enemy, Alvarado navigated through hostile fire and was wounded multiple times. After Mr. Alvarado reached his comrades and pulled them to safety, he kept fighting the barrage. By the end of the mission, Specialist Alvarado was killed in the line of duty.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) made the following statement on today’s Medal of Honor ceremony and recipient, Specialist Leonard Alvarado:

“Throughout our nation’s history of conflicts abroad, the men and women of our military have responded through acts of gallantry that define who we are. Specialist Leonard Alvarado exemplifies the highest values of selfless service for our military and citizens alike, and we remember and honor him today. Bakersfield, Kern County, California, and the United States of America are deeply grateful to Mr. Alvarado and his family for their sacrifice in defense of the freedoms we celebrate every day. I also want to honor all those whom President Obama will bestow the Medal of Honor to during today’s beautiful ceremony at the White House. May God bless the members of our military – past, present, and future – and may he bless the United States of America.”