Tuesday, September 27, 2005
In Celebration of Valor: Cpl. Tibor Rubin
Thanks to the Power Line gents, I found this:
Mr. Tibor "Ted" Rubin got the Medal of Honor last Friday, as an attempt to correct a miscarriage of justice from long ago.
Rubin is a Holocaust survivor, having survived for 14 months in the Mauthausen concentration camp before being liberated by U.S. troops. Still a teenager, he emigrated to the United States, joined the Army, and insisted on being sent to fight in Korea in 1950. Rubin's actions in Korea in 1950 earned him a Medal of Honor recommendation from several of his commanding officers; ironically, they all died in combat shortly thereafter, and Rubin's sergeant refused to process the paperwork, not wanting to see a Jew earn the Medal of Honor.
Believe it or not, Rubin then went to earn a Medal of Honor all over again. He fought like a lion, more than once holding off an enemy force, battalion-strength or better, single-handedly. When he and the survivors of his unit were captured by the North Koreans, and forced to endure terrible prison conditions, Rubin's "training" (that's what he calls it) from the Holocaust helped him survive. Indeed, he risked his life repeatedly to sneak food to his fellow prisoners, many of whom credit him with saving their lives. As a Hungarian (who, at that time, had not yet acquired his American citizenship), he received an offer from the Chinese to be released and sent back to Hungary... which he turned down, saying that he would not abandon his comrades.
His Medal of Honor citation reads like a laundry-list of bravery and selflessness:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:(emphasis mine)
Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8 th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit's line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin's gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
For lots more, please see this article by James S. Robbins, and this tribute by the warriors at the Mudville Gazette.
He looks a little different now, but still every bit the hero:
Mazel tov, Corporal Rubin. You defended your adopted country as few ever could or would. May your bravery -- and love for your fellow man -- forever stand as a shining example to us all.