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Korean War Veteran Awarded Medal of Honor

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2005 – Sixty years ago, elements of the 11th Armored Division from Patton's own 3rd Army liberated the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Among the prisoners freed was Tibor "Ted" Rubin, a 15-year-old Hungarian who had lost his father, mother and sister to concentration camps.

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Korean War veteran Tibor "Ted" Rubin wears the Medal of Honor he received Sept. 23 at the White House. Rubin was honored for his actions under fire and his bravery while in captivity at a Chinese prisoner-of-war camp. White House photo by Paul Morse

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Five years later, Rubin joined the U.S. Army and showed his appreciation for his newly adopted country by serving in the Korean War as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On Oct. 30, 1950, after an intense nighttime battle, in which Rubin manned a .30 caliber machine gun where three previous gunners had been killed, he was wounded and captured by the Chinese. He spent 30 months in a prisoner-of-war camp in North Korea.

Now, all these years later, Rubin has received recognition for his service and the valiant actions that set him apart from his comrades. Rubin was awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, Sept. 23 at the White House and subsequently inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.

Speaking at the White House, President Bush said that by awarding the Medal of Honor to Rubin, the U.S. acknowledges a debt "that time has not diminished."

"Corporal Tibor 'Ted' Rubin's many acts of courage during the Korean War saved the lives of hundreds of his fellow soldiers," Bush said. "In the heat of battle, he inspired his comrades with his fearlessness, and amid the inhumanity of a Chinese prisoner of war camp, he gave them hope."

Before the nighttime battle in which he was captured, Rubin waged a 24-hour personal battle, single-handedly defending a hill assaulted by North Korean troops, according to the citation. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties and slowed the enemy advance, allowing his regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. After being captured, Rubin refused offers to be returned to his native Hungary. He snuck out of the camp at night in search of food for his fellow prisoners and provided them with desperately needed medical care, according to the citation. His actions were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as 40 of his fellow prisoners.

The soldiers that served with Rubin speak of him as a soldier with great skill and courage who gladly risked his life for others, Bush said. Those whom Rubin helped save have never forgotten their debt to him, he said.

"Many heroes are remembered in monuments of stone," Bush said. "The monuments to Corporal Rubin are a legacy of life. We see his legacy in the many American families whose husbands, fathers and sons returned home safely because of his efforts. We see his legacy in the free and democratic South Korea that grew on the soil of his sacrifice. And we see his legacy in a new generation of American men and women in uniform who were inspired to their own acts of courage and compassion."

Rubin lived and epitomized the warrior ethos, which is to always place the mission first, to never accept defeat, to never quit, and to never leave a fallen comrade, Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey said at the Pentagon ceremony.

"Corporal Rubin answered the call to duty with valor, integrity and unyielding bravery," Harvey said. "I cannot think of anyone who better exemplifies a love of country, a willingness to sacrifice through his personal actions, than Ted Rubin."

At the Pentagon ceremony, Rubin said living in America was his dream come true and that his service in the Army was his way of paying back the country that was so kind to him.

"I could never have dreamed of being here with the Medal of Honor and joining other heroes, but my dream came true in the greatest country in the world," Rubin said. "The real heroes ... are the soldiers who give their lives defending freedom."

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Cpl. Tibor Rubin - Medal of Honor

Click photo for screen-resolution imagePresident George W. Bush applauds Korean War veteran Cpl. Tibor "Ted" Rubin after awarding Rubin the Medal of Honor Sept. 23 at the White House. Rubin was honored for his actions under fire and his bravery while in captivity at a Chinese prisiner-of-war camp. White House photo by Paul Morse  
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