United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News

American Forces Press ServiceBookmark and Share

 News Article

Sports Fans Salute Military Heroes

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

SAN ANTONIO, March 3, 2000 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen joined about 16,000 sports fans at the Alamodome to honor three Texas Medal of Honor recipients during half- time of an NBA basketball game March 2.

The game pitted the hometown Spurs against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Air Force Academy Cadet Chorale opened the show singing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." A videotape shown on the stadium's overhead big screens brought greetings from Texas National Guard members serving in Bosnia.

At a time when most of a basketball crowd is normally trying to get to the foodstands, most of the people in this arena stayed to honor two World War II heroes and a Vietnam veteran who went beyond the call of duty.

Standing in front of a military Color Guard in center court, Cohen and San Antonio Spurs Chairman Peter Holt greeted the honorees -- U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams, 77, and U.S. Army Sgt. Jose M. Lopez, 89, both World War II veterans, and U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Louis R. Rocco, 60, who received his award for actions in Vietnam. The crowd gave a Texas-sized cheer for these three men.

An announcer told their stories.

"On a cold winter day in Belgium in 1945, Army Sgt. Jose Lopez, a native of Mission, Texas, saved his entire company from being surrounded by enemy troops. Under heavy tank and artillery fire, Sgt. Lopez mobilized and manned a heavy machine gun by himself, holding off hundreds of advancing soldiers and preventing their attack from flanking and overwhelming his badly outnumbered company.

"Lucian Adams, a native of Port Arthur, Texas, served as an Army Staff Sergeant in World War II. In France in 1944, Staff Sgt. Adams bravely charged a superior enemy force, dodging behind trees to escape intense fire from machine guns and grenade launchers. Staff Sgt. Adams single- handedly defeated a specialized force, destroying three machine guns, and reopened critical supply lines to his isolated battalion.

"In 1970, Army Warrant Officer Louis Rocco, a resident of San Antonio, was shot down over the jungles of Vietnam during a dangerous mission to rescue critically wounded soldiers. Warrant Officer Rocco, suffering broken bones and braving heavy enemy fire, jumped repeatedly into the burning wreckage of his helicopter, rescuing all of the survivors of the crash and saving the lives of his comrades."

In addition to the Air Force cadets, soldiers of the 323rd Army Band and the 49th Armored Division Color Guard and Honor Guard participated in the half-time ceremony.

And, in the end, the ‘Wolves won 108-102.

Contact Author

Related Sites:
AFPS News Article: Cohen, NBA Stars Swap 'War Stories'
AFPS News Article: Base Housing Takes 'Quantum Leap'
AFPS News Article: DoD Slashes Base Sales Price

Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen (left) and San Antonio Spurs Chairman Peter Holt (second from left) applaud three Medal of Honor winners, (from left to right) Jose Lopez, Lucian Adams and Louis Rocco, during an NBA basketball game at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Mar. 2. Photo by Linda D. Kozaryn  
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen (left) talks with Medal of Honor recipients Jose Lopez (seated left) and Lucian Adams (seated right) and members of the Air Force Academy Cadet Chorale following an NBA basketball game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Photo by Linda D. Kozaryn   
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution


Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen (left) shakes the hand of Medal of Honor recipient Army Warrant Officer Louis Rocco during a half-time tribute at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Linda D. Kozaryn   
Download screen-resolution   
Download high-resolution



Top Features

spacer

DEFENSE IMAGERY

spacer
spacer

Additional Links

Stay Connected