Medal of Honor Recipient Ambrosio Guillen
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) is thankful for Ambrosio Guillen, a Marine Staff Sergeant who received the Medal of Honor in the Korean War. Our El Paso Veterans Home, in his hometown, is named in his honor. Today is the 69th anniversary of his death.
Guillen came from a Mexican immigrant father and a Native American mother. His family had strong American patriotism; of the eight Guillen boys, seven served in the Armed Forces. Ambrosio joined the Marines at age 17 with parental permission and served as an award-winning drill instructor with two honor platoons to his credit. He was then deployed to Korea during the outbreak of Communist hostilities between North and South Korea.
He had told his father, “Pappy, I want to be a Marine the rest of my life.”
In his Medal of Honor citation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower commends Guillen for his incredible leadership. Guillen’s platoon was guarding a forward outpost and they were attacked in the dark by an estimated two battalions of enemy forces, including mortar and artillery fire. Guillen exposed himself to the overwhelming barrage, despite personal danger. He directed his soldiers into fighting positions and rallied their spirits through his own courageous actions. He was wounded, but refused medical care until the enemy was defeated and made a disorderly retreat. Unfortunately, SSgt Guillen succumbed to his injuries within a few hours and died. Two days later, North and South Korea declared a cease-fire and the fighting ended.
The U.S. Army allowed his brother Pvt Ramon Guillen to return from duty in the Far East to escort Ambrosio’s body home to El Paso, where he was buried with full honors at Fort Bliss National Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor the following year, which was presented to his parents by Secretary of the Navy Charles S. Thomas.
His Medal of Honor disappeared but was recovered years later by his brother Ramon, and now resides in a glass case at Guillen Junior High School in El Paso, which was named after Ambrosio Guillen in 1972. In 2005, the Veterans Land Board opened a new Veterans home in El Paso and named it after SSgt Ambrosio Guillen.
This Veterans Home offers 160 Veterans a place to call home, along with 60 Alzheimer’s beds in a separate, secured unit. Created and operated exclusively for Texas Veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents, the Ambrosio Guillen home offers superior care that is Medicare and Medicaid certified. It offers a home with dignity and respect for all its Veteran residents.
The VLB thanks the Guillen family for their great patriotism, and for the courageous actions of Ambrosio Guillen in Korea in 1953, that saved many lives of his platoon members. His legacy lives on in El Paso and in the heart of every Texas Veteran.
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) is happy to provide any needed help for these American heroes. The mission for the VLB is “to ensure that we offer the very best package of Veterans benefits in the country and those of us who work for the VLB strive to meet those goals every day. For more than 70 years, we have had the honor to serve Veterans, Military Members and their families in Texas, and we look forward to keeping that promise in the years to come.” Call 1–800–252–8387, email VLBinfo@glo.texas.gov, or visit vlb.texas.gov to see the different benefits available.
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