Michael C. Pena was born in Newgulf, Texas, November 1924.
He joined the U. S. Army as an infantryman in 1941, when he was 16-years-old. He fought in both World War II and the Korean War.
Pena is being recognized for his actions on the evening of Sept. 4, 1950, near Waegwan, Korea, when his unit was fiercely attacked. During the course of the counter-attack, Pena realized that their ammunition was running out, and ordered his unit to retreat. Pena then manned a machine-gun to cover their withdrawal. He single-handedly held back the enemy until morning when his position was overrun, and he was killed.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Pena received the Distinguished service Cross (this award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor on Mar. 18), Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four Bronze Service Stars and Bronze Arrowhead Device, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Japan Clasp, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Infantryman Badge (2nd Award), Honorable Service Lapel Button- World War II, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Philippine Independence Ribbon, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Gold Bravery Medal of Greece Unit Citation.