Pvt. Pedro Cano
USCIS Houston Field Office
U.S. Army Private Pedro Cano was born in 1920 in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon and grew up in Edinburg, Texas. He volunteered for service during World War II.
He received the Medal of Honor for his actions on December 2 and 3, 1944, with Company C, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, during a battle in Schevenhutte, Germany. His citation reads in part:
On the afternoon of the 2nd, American infantrymen launched an attack against German emplacements but were repulsed by enemy machinegun fire. Armed with a rocket launcher, Private Cano crawled through a densely mined area under heavy enemy fire and successfully reached a point within ten yards of the nearest emplacement. He quickly fired a rocket into the position, killing the two gunners and five supporting riflemen. Without hesitating, he fired into a second position, killing two more gunners, and proceeded to assault the position with hand grenades, killing several others and dispersing the rest. Then, when an adjacent company encountered heavy fire, Private Cano crossed his company front, crept to within fifteen yards of the nearest enemy emplacement and killed the two machine gunners with a rocket. With another round he killed two more gunners and destroyed a second gun. On the following day, his company renewed the attack and again encountered heavy machinegun fire. Private Cano, armed with his rocket launcher, again moved across fire-swept terrain and destroyed three enemy machineguns in succession, killing the six gunners. Private Cano’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
After the war, Private Cano initially received the Distinguished Service Cross on April 26, 1946. He had requested many times during combat (and even as early as 1935) to become a U.S. citizen. He naturalized in May 1946 and worked as a farm laborer in South Texas. He died in a traffic collision on June 24, 1952, leaving a wife and three children.
In 2014, President Barack Obama posthumously upgraded Private Cano’s Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002. That act called for a review of war records of certain Jewish and Hispanic veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice.
Private Cano is buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Edinburg.