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ARNORTH communications building dedicated to local World War II hero

By Joshua Ford | U.S. Army North Public Affairs | Sept. 10, 2018


Members of U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) honored a World War II hero and former Fifth Army soldier during a building memorialization ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Sept. 7.

The G6 (Communications) building will be named in honor of Staff Sgt. Fred Garcia, a U.S. Army telephone and telegraph line chief during WWII, who served in both North Africa and Italy. 

Garcia was a San Antonio native and a direct descendent of the Padron family, one of the original 16 families who founded the city.   

“If you look up hero in the dictionary you’ll see that it comes from the ancient Greeks. And you’ll see there’s only two requirements to becoming a hero; courageous acts and a noble purpose,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, commanding general, U.S. Army North. “Fred Garcia was a hero by any stretch of the imagination.”

Garcia was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for a mission in which he installed wire from a regimental forward switch board to the Rapido River for a planned infantry night assault.

He made a daylight reconnaissance for the wire routes and after darkness supervised the installation. The wire routes had to be laid through uncleared mine fields exposed to enemy fire. Garcia established the forward switch board in a position near the river where an unused railroad station afforded the only cover.

Under severe artillery, mortar and small arms fire, Garcia maintained and operated the wire system for two day and nights. 

“If you look at what this family has done for the nation it’s pretty phenomenal,” Buchanan said. “And when you tie it together and what we do as the 5th Army, now U.S. Army North, and our history, and the history of the 36th Division, the 141st Infantry Regiment, and frankly Fred Garcia, we intersect well right here at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.”