Home New mexico united Governor Abbott Posthumously Awards Texas Legislature Medal of Honor to Two Servicemen | Oficina del Gobernador de Texas

Governor Abbott Posthumously Awards Texas Legislature Medal of Honor to Two Servicemen | Oficina del Gobernador de Texas


March 2, 2022 | Austin, TX | Press release

Governor Greg Abbott today posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Pvt. Marcelino Serna and U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Apprentice William Ray Flores. The Texas Legislative Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded to a member of the state or federal military forces by the State of Texas. The awards were accepted by members of Pvt. Respective families of Serna and Seaman Apprentice Flores. Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, the Adjutant General of Texas, joined Governor Abbott for the awards ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion.

“For their conspicuous bravery and selfless service, I have the distinct honor to present the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Pvt. Marcelino Serna and Seaman Apprentice William Ray Flores,” Governor Abbott said. We will never be able to repay the debt we owe these brave men for their selfless acts and the lives they saved, but today we honor their memory, their patriotism and their sacrifice. America is the brightest beacon of freedom the world has ever known because of all who honorably served in the uniform of the most powerful military in the history of the world.

“Thank you Governor Abbott for taking the time to honor these service members,” said Major General Norris. “It is a real pleasure to see the Texans receive the honors that are their due. The fighting spirit of these service members left a legacy of excellence that all leaders can recognize as we lead our formations today.”

Texas Senator Cesar Blanco appointed Pvt. Serna and Rep. Ray Lopez nominated Seaman Apprentice Flores for the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.

“As a fellow El Pasoan and veteran, it was an honor and a privilege to successfully nominate Pvt. Serna for the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor,” said Senator Blanco. decorated from Texas of World War I, this recognition is long overdue for Pvt. Serna. I am proud of Texas for taking the initiative to right an injustice and honor Pvt. Serna for his outstanding bravery and fearlessness in risking his life beyond the call of duty. I appreciate Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, the Legislative Medal of Honor Committee, fellow veterans, and especially the Serna family, for building and honored the legacy of Private Serna of the U.S. Army.I urge Congress to follow Texas’ lead and award Pvt. Serna the Congressional Medal of Honor.

US Army Pvt. Marcelino Serna was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a young man. He enlisted in the US Army at the age of 20 in 1917, the same year the United States entered World War I. Pvt. Serna had barely begun his training when he joined the 355th Infantry, 89th Division which went overseas.

A remarkable soldier, the soldier displayed exceptional ingenuity and courage during an engagement near the French town of Saint-Mihiel. During this encounter, the enemy shot down 12 members of his unit and he volunteered to scout the location of the machine gun on his own. Moving through heavy fire, he threw four hand grenades into the machine gun nest, killing six of the enemy combatants. He then took the eight survivors captive. Shortly afterwards, during the Meuse-Argonne campaign, he again volunteered for a solitary reconnaissance mission, wounding a German sniper with a shot from 200 meters, then following the wounded man into a trench. . Firing and throwing grenades in all directions to give the impression that he was part of a larger force, he immediately shot down three German soldiers, then attacked an enemy dugout, shooting down 26 others and capturing 24.

He single-handedly held the prisoners at gunpoint until other members of his unit arrived. Serna was wounded in the legs but served in combat until the end of the war. For his heroic actions, he was the most decorated Texan veteran of World War I, receiving several honors including two Purple Hearts. He became an American citizen in 1924 and settled in El Paso, Texas, where he resided until his death in 1992.

US Coast Guard Seaman Apprentice William Ray Flores was born in New Mexico in 1961. His family moved to the Fort Worth area when he was a child and he attended Western Hills High School in Benbrook, Texas. He left school early to enlist in the US Coast Guard at age 17. He served aboard the Blackthorn buoy, and on the night of January 28, 1980, the ship left Tampa, Florida, en route to his home. port of Galveston when it collided with a 600 foot tanker, the SS Capricorn.

The Blackthorn’s hull was damaged and the ship began to take on water and roll on its side. In a selfless act, Flores and another sailor found the locker that held the ship’s life jackets, and they began throwing jackets at their crewmates already in the water. As the Blackthorn sank, and after nearly everyone had abandoned ship, he stayed on board and attempted to rescue those still trapped below decks. He lost his life in the effort, along with 22 of his shipmates.