At the July 19 Council meeting, the Colton City Council formally recognized Sergeant E-5 Rodolfo Melchor Contreras, for his military service during the Korean War. The 6:00pm meeting was filled with several family members including his four sons, Michael, Robert, Rico, and Carlos.
Rodolfo Melchor Contreras served in the United States Marine Corp from January 5, 1948 to January 4, 1952. His birthday is June 8, 1930 so he was 17 when he joined the Marine Corps and started boot camp. During his time of service, Sgt. Contreras served in China and then in Korea, where he was involved in three major battles; the Pusan Perimeter, the Inchon and Seoul Operation, and the Chosin Reservoir Operation. The Korean War broke out June 25, 1950, and Rudy was wounded in action, twice, once on December 1, and the second time the next morning of December 2, 1950.
Eight years ago, Dr. G met Rudy when he published a book about WWII Veterans living in Colton. At that time, they started talking about his Korean War service and that one day Dr. G would write his story. After many visits and phone calls, that day has come, and at the Council meeting the opportunity was taken to formally recognize the service of Rodolfo Melchor Contreras, in collaboration with Congressman’s Pete Aguilar’s office, as well as the observance of National Korean War Armistice Day, which is set for July 27, 1953.
As part of the ceremony, Dr. G made a special presentation to Sgt. Contreras of a shadow box displaying the medals Sgt. Contreras was awarded for his service. The medals included Purple Heart, Good Conduct, China Service, National Defense, Korean Service, United Nations plus the corresponding ribbons. Dr. G also announced that four additional medals are still being processed and included the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation with a Bronze Star (2 of them), the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Mr. Matt Tovar, representative from the Office of Congressman Pete Aguilar then made his certificate presentation, followed by a certificate presentation by Dr.G from the City Council which reads:
“The Mayor and Members of the Colton City Council recognize you for the resolute service, longevity, and commitment you have provided to our country. We express sincere gratitude for your service in China and Korea, and the sacrifices you have made, and the wounds you have suffered as a United States Marine. To you we offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation, and may you coming years be richly blessed…”
We are indeed fortunate to have among us a hometown hero such as Rudy Contreras who represent the best of service, the best of commitment, and the best of Colton. He will forever be honored as a Colton-American Veteran.