The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Roger Espinoza Rodriguez, who died in the service of his country on May 28th, 1966 in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Roger was 22 years of age. He was from Heber, California. Roger is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 07E, Line 122.
The decorations earned by PFC Roger Espinoza Rodriguez include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star with V, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
Roger is buried in Mt. View Cemetery, Calexico, CA
(From His Obituary)
Roger E. Rodriguez, 22, of Rt. 2, Box 194-B, Heber, died in action in Vietnam, the Defense Department announced Tuesday. He was an infantryman with the 25th Division.
Rodriguez, who attended Central Union High School in 1959, is the stepson of Refugio Hernandez of Hester Village. His mother is Mrs. Carmen-Hernandez.
Born in Mexicali, Rodriguez resided in Heber for 10 years and completed the eighth grade there. He joined the Army on May 10, 1965 and underwent training at Fort Ord, CA and Fort Polk, LA. After being stationed in Hawaii for two months, he was transferred to Vietnam five months ago.
Roger has a Jr High in Heber, CA named after him.
Terry Vasquez Cavazos
The last girl he pinned.
Corpus Chrisiti TX 78405 USA
Gone, but not forgotten
Roger, it has been 41 years since I last heard from you. You are not forgotten and I remain the last girl that you pinned. We were supposed to have gone out and dated and gotten to know each other better. I hope that my letters from home gave you some sort of comfort. It saddened me to have heard of your death and still today, it saddens me to think that you died so young. My memory carries that last picture you sent of you and your buddies beside a jeep, you were so young and will remain young forever. You are gone, but not forgotten. Thank you for giving your life so others could leave. Rest in peace Roger. Terry
(His BSV Citation)
General Orders 68, 3rd Brigade Task Force, 25th Division, 8 August 1966
For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force; Private First Class Rodriguez distinguished himself by heroic action on 29 May 1966, while a member of the First Platoon, Company B, 2/35th Infantry. His unit was lifted by helicopter into a landing zone in the Central Highlands, Republic of Vietnam. On landing, his entire platoon came under intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire. Maneuvering instantly against the enemy, Private First Class Rodriguez took up a position on the right flank of his squad. During the assault, he noticed two North Vietnamese soldiers approach from his extreme right carrying an automatic weapon. Reacting instantly, Private First Class Rodriguez shouted a warning to his fellow soldiers and sprayed the enemy position with fire. His quick thinking and decisive action eliminated this severe threat to the entire right flank of his platoon. On another occasion, several enemy grenadiers had successfully halted the advance of his squad. Quietly moving to their flank, Private First Class Rodriguez brought them under effective small arms fire and again insured the progress of his unit in accomplishing their mission. It was during this action, while courageously protecting the advance of his fellow soldiers, that Private First Class Rodriguez was mortally wounded by enemy fire. This outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.