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In Manila on February 9, 1945 Cleto Rodriguez's platoon was ordered to initiate an offensive assault against the Paco Railroad Station that was being held by the Japanese. While crossing a field in front of the railroad station his platoon was stopped 100 yards from the railroad station by intense Japanese gunfire. Without being ordered to do so Cleto and a fellow soldier, Private First Class John N. Reese, Jr., left the platoon and continued forward under heavy Japanese gunfire until they made it to a house 60 yards from the railroad station. The two soldiers remained in their position for an hour while firing at targets of opportunity, killing 35 Japanese soldiers and wounding many others. After an hour, the 2 soldiers moved forward towards the railroad station where they discovered a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes. Cleto and PFC Reese opened heavy fire and killed more than 40 Japanese soldiers and stopped any other attempts to reach the pillboxes. The enemy fire increased as the two soldiers came within 20 yards of the railroad station. PFC Reese provided cover fire while Cleto moved up to the railroad station. He threw 5 grenades through a doorway killing 7 Japanese soldiers and destroying a 20-mm gun and wrecking a heavy machine gun. With their ammunition running low the 2 soldiers made their way back to their platoon while each took turns providing cover fire for the other to move. During the return to their platoon PFC Reese was killed. During the 2½ hours of fighting the two soldiers killed more than 82 Japanese soldiers and completely disorganized the defense of the railroad station, which paved the way for U.S. soldiers overwhelming the railroad station in victory. Two days later Cleto again enabled his platoon to advance when he single-handedly killed 6 Japanese soldiers and destroyed a well placed 20-mm gun. As a result of these actions both Rodriguez and Reese were presented with the Medal of Honor for their determination to destroy the enemy, and courage in the face of tremendous odds.
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