TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - 99-year-old Margarito S. Ramirez is now not only a Legion of Honor holder and a knight, he is a recipient of the U.S. Military’s fourth highest honor - the Bronze Star. An award long over due.
“We found out during the ceremony that we had on April 11 that he was awarded the bronze star but he never received it,” said Rickey Ramirez, his daughter-in-law. “We put the paperwork in and they expedited it.”
There’s a much larger story here. Ramirez was on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. His captain was in the front of the boat, he didn’t think his captain was gonna die but he was the first want to get shot.
According to Ramirez, when that happened he threw his rifle over the side, he figured that there would be enough rifles on the beach, so he didn’t need his.
He wasn’t going out the front though, he went over the side and nearly drowned. He had all of his packs and everything on but he made it to shore.
Picture yourself in December 1944, at the Battle of the Bulge.
He had to actually fight every day for over two months, according to Ramirez they had to because they would be overrun if they didn’t. In one incident Ramirez remembered his unit escorting a group of German soldiers and this one officer kept dragging, walking too slow and so he (Ramirez) poked him in the rear end with his bayonet. And then he said, “I couldn’t keep up with him.”
At one point in the war, Ramirez ran out of ammunition and was throwing rocks at the enemy.
“You have to keep fighting or you’re dead,” according to this WWII veteran.
He was wounded by shrapnel in his hand, he said he just pulled the bone and metal out, wrapped it and kept fighting, due to this he got gangrene. It was like that for a week, then he spent six months recovering to try and save his hand.
Of the 750 soldiers that held the ground at Bernstein that day, only about 70 of them could continue battle. After this engagement in Bernstein, in the Hurricane Forest the German will to fight was broken.