LCpl. Jose Francisco Jimenez
USCIS Nashville Field Office
Marine Lance Corporal Jose Francisco Jimenez was born on March 20, 1946, in Morelia, Mexico. He came to the United States in 1957 to live with his sister and mother, who worked at the Mexican Consulate. In 1964, he graduated from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in Eloy, Arizona. Four years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps because according to his sister, Pilar, he loved America and wanted to show his appreciation to the country that gave his family so much.
Lance Corporal Jimenez trained in California before being sent to Vietnam as a fire team leader in Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Dubbed “JoJo” by his fellow Marines, he was known for his courage, bravery, and dedication to doing the right thing at all times. That included risking his life on multiple occasions during his assignment to the Quang Nam Province.
On Aug. 28, 1969, Lance Corporal Jimenez’s unit received orders to take out a 50 mm anti-aircraft gun on Hill 381. The details of that battle were highlighted in a 2005 Memorial Day broadcast on a television program called “Horizon.” Alan Jones, a former member of Company K, said, “[Jimenez] was determined to go up there and bring the enemy down and get that gun. He took out quite a few of the enemy and kept on charging, even though he was being fired at. It was astonishing.”
His Medal of Honor citation, in part, reads:
“Shouting encouragement to his companions, L/Cpl. Jimenez continued his aggressive forward movement. He slowly maneuvered to within 10 feet of hostile soldiers who were firing automatic weapons from a trench and, in the face of vicious enemy fire, destroyed the position. Although he was by now the target of concentrated fire from hostile gunners intent upon halting his assault, L/Cpl. Jimenez continued to press forward. As he moved to attack another enemy soldier, he was mortally wounded. L/Cpl. Jimenez’ indomitable courage, aggressive fighting spirit and unfaltering devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service.”
Lance Corporal Jimenez’s mother, Basilia, buried him in Morelia, Mexico, on Sept. 6, 1969, but she could not afford to bring her son’s granite headstone to his gravesite. She stored it under her bed for 17 years, until veterans and volunteers raised money to deliver the headstone to Morelia and give Lance Corporal Jimenez the military burial he deserved.
Basilia died in 2010 and was buried in Glendale Memorial Park in Arizona. The Jimenez family long dreamed of bringing JoJo’s remains home, and with the help of Marine Corps Colonel Steven Weintraub, that dream eventually came true.
On Jan. 17, 2017, Lance Corporal Jimenez was laid to rest beside his mother’s grave in a ceremony with full military honors.