Marcelino Serna: Extremely Thankful Soldier in World War

Marcelino Serna was still a Mexican resident when he defended the USA in World War. He was wise at combat zone methods, really felt faithful to his fellow soldiers, as well as his initiatives for the UNITED STATE conserved plenty of American lives.

After the battle he went back to stay in Texas, as well as in 1924, he met his desire for ending up being an USA resident.

Serna Early Life

Marcelino Serna was not yet 15 years of ages when he left the mining camp where his family members lived near Chihuahua, Mexico. He was incapable to discover job there, so he transferred to Mendez and after that Reynosa, Mexico, where he boarded a really primitive ferryboat solution for Hidalgo, Texas. He requested as well as obtained an “alien border crossing permit,” so his arrival was recorded by the Division of Business (September 18, 1911).

From Hidalgo, he relocated northwest to El Paso, Texas. There he obtained a task on the upkeep staff for the Atchison, Topeka as well as Santa Fe Railway. However the railway did not pay their upkeep individuals quite possibly, so when Serna read about better-paying work on sugar beetroot ranches near Denver, Colorado, he relocated north to function as component of a farming staff.

In 1917, the government authorities assembled males almost everywhere, searching for those that might be prepared for Globe Battle I. Serna was dealing with various other ranch workers in Colorado when he was quit. The authorities anticipated to hold the males up until they might examine their draft condition. However Serna understood his condition. He was a Mexican resident that desired for ending up being an American. He spoke out, claiming he would willingly get.

Draftees Sent to Kansas for Training

Distinguished Service Cross Distinguished Solution Cross

Serna as well as the others that were hired near Denver were sent out to Camp Funston in Kansas (component of Ft Riley). They experienced 3 weeks of training prior to being sent out overseas as privates in Business B, 355 th Infantry, 89 th Department.

There were several various other Mexican immigrants that aided combat Globe Battle I. (They were referred to as the Silent Ones.) Serna was just one of 67 soldiers in the device whose main language was Spanish. In the 1960 s, he was talked to by a press reporter from The El Paso Times (June 29, 1962). Serna clarified that just one of the males in the device was multilingual: “He was pretty busy keeping us all informed of what was going on.”

Serna Offered Choice

When Marcelino Serna’s documentation overtook him in France, a policeman asked him to report in. He was informed that due to the fact that he had not been an American resident, they would certainly supply him with orders to go back to Mexico– he really did not need to combat. Serna transformed the deal down; he adhered with the various other soldiers in his device, as well as he was devoted to combating for the nation he desired for calling house.

Fights ahead

His device took a trip to the eastern boundary of France, as well as among their very first fights happened in the town of Lucey. From there, they went north to Saint-Mihiel as well as battled their method eastern to Euvezin. Next off, they travelled northwest for the fateful as well as prolonged Meuse-Argonne offensive (September 26- November 11, 1918).

Serna’s valor as well as knowledge showed up early in this job. At Saint-Mihiel, hefty gatling gun fire peppered the device, eliminating twelve Americans. The leader required to recognize what awaited them, as well as Serna offered to look ahead as well as report back.

He left the various other males, running 10 feet approximately as well as dropping as the German shooter attempted to determine him. Gradually, he once more rose, ran a little bit and after that hid, making his method this way up until he was really near the German gatling gun nest. Throughout his technique, 2 bullets nicked his safety helmet yet neither passed through.

When he was close sufficient, Serna lobbed 4 explosives right into the safeguarded location where the Germans terminated. The blast eliminated 6 Germans, as well as Serna relocated as well as recorded the continuing to be 8 soldiers.

Marcelino Serna: A Hero Again

A comparable maneuver happened when they got to the Meuse-Argonne. A German sniper was comfortably as well as methodically selecting off American soldiers. Serna once more offered to look the location on his very own. He was a fracture fired with his Enfield rifle, as well as when he saw that the sniper belonged to a huge team of soldiers, he believed quick.

He understood if he might relocate swiftly, capturing as well as throwing explosives from various places, he could fool them right into believing he was just one of several. The ploy functioned. Serna eliminated 26 adversary soldiers throughout this fight. By now, the Germans were encouraged they were under fire by a much bigger pressure. After numerous hrs, they gave up, as well as Serna accompanied 24 German soldiers back to the Allied lines.

As he marched the hostages back, he came across Americans sent out in to back him up. A number of wished to perform the detainees right there. Serna declined their deal as well as stated that doing so would certainly breach the concepts of battle.

Good Luck Offers

Purple Heart. Authorization

With just 4 days up until when the Armistice was authorized, the battling was still hefty. Serna was captured in sniper fire, as well as both legs were severely wounded.

It was as well unsafe for various other males to progress to assist him, so temporarily, Serna lay there as if he were dead. When the circumstance silenced rather, as well as he had actually acquired some toughness, he utilized his Enfield rifle as a prop as well as functioned his method to risk-free region. Medics scheduled him to be carried to a military health center in France.


Though several honors were to comply with, one needs to think that one of the most interesting one was the medal he was provided straight by General John J. Pershing, the commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. Pershing dropped in to welcome the injured as well as to honor medals to those that were deserving. The greatest American battle medal, the Distinguished Solution Cross honor, was pinned on Serna’s tee shirt by Pershing himself.

Later on he existed with 2 French Croix de Guerre with hands honors. The very first was offered to him directly by the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, superior leader of the Allied Forces in Europe. He additionally obtained a French Médaille Militaire as well as an Italian Croce al Merito di Guerra a well as a French Celebratory Medal, a French St. Mihiel Medal, as well as a French Verdun Medal. This made him among one of the most extremely embellished soldiers in Texas background.

After the Battle

When he recuperated from his injuries as well as was released from the army (May 1919), he went back to El Paso as well as obtained a task at a neighborhood massacre residence, the Payton Packaging Business. When a setting opened up in the quartermaster division at Ft Happiness, he took it.

In 1922, he wed Simona Jiménez, as well as in 1924, he certified to be a UNITED STATE resident. Throughout the years, he functioned as a city vehicle vehicle driver, a public service staff member at Ft Happiness. His last task, the one where he retired (1961), was as a plumbing technician at William Beaumont Military Medical Facility.

He as well as his spouse had 6 youngsters, yet just 2 endured to the adult years.

Burglar Takes Serna Medals

Tornillo Port called for Marcelino Serna

In the 1920 s, Serna’s house was burglarized, as well as amongst the things taken were every one of his medals. Ruined, Serna did not recognize what to do.

His buddy Dr. Cleofas Calleras contacted the Battle Division as well as clarified what took place. Replicate medals were provided. Calleras additionally understood that Serna never ever obtained a Purple Heart for the injuries maintained at Meuse-Argonne. Soon after learning through Calleras once more, the Battle Division sent out a Purple Heart in addition to the American Triumph medal with 3 project bars. These added medals existed to him at an unique conference of his V.F.W. Blog Post– Marco Armijo No. 2753.

His Retired Life

Serna aided develop the neighborhood Professionals of Foreign Wars Blog Post #2753 in El Paso, as well as he stayed energetic throughout his life. If there was a Professional’s Ceremony around, Serna was most likely to be a component of it.

He additionally liked increasing roses as well as invested several satisfied hrs gardening as well as looking after his plants. Marcelino Serna was a dedicated of Saint Ignatius Catholic Church.

When he passed away Feb 1992, he was hidden at Ft Happiness National Burial ground with complete army honors.

The Dream to Contribute To His Honors

In the last 10 years, area participants have actually remained to promote Serna to get the Medal of Honor posthumously.

Serna Port of Entrance

However in the meanwhile, another thing significant took place. Buddies as well as family members as well as Serna’s Congressman took issues right into their very own hands. Will Certainly Hurd, UNITED STATE Rep for the 23 rdCongressional Area of Texas in Washington, advanced an expense that relabelled the Tornillo Port of Entrance in honor of Marcelino Serna. (Tornillo belongs of El Paso, Texas, as well as lies on the Rio Grande River.)

Marcelino Serna As Hurd composed before the event in 2016: “The Tornillo-Marcelino Serna Port of Entry will not only honor this extraordinary man’s service to our nation, it will serve as a reminder of the countless Mexican-American immigrants that have fought valiantly to keep our nation safe. Their contributions will not be ignored or forgotten.”

An event was hung on September 29, 2016, in Tornillo, Texas.


To review one more Mexican American battle hero, checked out Silvestre S. Herrera.

Sight resources “

Marcelino Serna, Wikipedia.

Marcelino Serna,

“Hero of World War I Campaign Grows Flowers, Recalls Combat,” by Expense Burch, June 29, 1962.

“Hero of World War I Rides in Parade,” El Paso Herald-Post, November11 1970.

“WWI Vet’s Loved Ones Try to Get Him Medal,” by Erica Molina, May 31, 2004, El Paso Times.

“Uncommon Valor: The Story of Marcelino Serna,” content in The El Paso Times, May 30, 2016.

“The Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a WWI Hero,” by Rodrigo Ayala,, May 24, 2017.

“The Most Decorated U.S. WWI Veteran from Texas was Actually a Mexican Immigrant,” by Ian Harvey,, January 20, 2018.

“Honoring Latino Military Heroes on Memorial Day,” by High Cliff Despres, Salud America, May 24, 2019.

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