Congressman Tim Bishop will make a posthumous presentation of military honors earned by World War II Merchant Mariner Antonio Rodriguez to his nephew, Coast Guard veteran Ernest J. Rodriguez, at a memorial marker honoring the hero.
Rodriguez was lost at sea in 1942 after his ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat.
Honors to be presented on Friday include the Merchant Marine Mariner’s Medal, which is the Coast Guard equivalent of the Purple Heart, the Merchant Marine Defense Medal, the Merchant Marine emblem, an Honorable Service button, and a copy of a Presidential citation letter signed by President Harry S. Truman.
Rodrigues, who was born in Corunna, Spain in January, 1897, came to the United States in the 1930s, where he became a citizen and entered the U.S. Merchant Marine on March 18, 1937.
His story is laced with drama and heroism: Rodriguez was serving aboard the U.S.S. Cherokee, a passenger ship filled with Merchant Mariners, U.S. Army soldiers and Navy sailors that were crossing across the Atlantic, when the ship was torpedoed 50 miles east of Boston Harbor. Of the 241 aboard, only 83 survived the attack.
Bishop has worked with the Coast Guard to award the Merchant Marine Mariner’s Medal to Rodriguez, since he was lost in action; the new memorial marker was placed at Calverton recently to honor his selfless service.