Temple local to receive Medal of Honor on his father's behalf, l - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

TEMPLE

Temple local to receive Medal of Honor on his father's behalf, life story comes full-circle

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TEMPLE - A Temple man will receive the Medal of Honor on his father's behalf on March 18th at a special ceremony at the White House.

His father is one of 24 veterans to be so honored after a congressional review of their bravery in combat.

One evening Richard Conde, a Temple local, answered a very important phone call.

"He said, "Yes, this is the President.

I said, ‘Is this for real?'

He said, ‘Yes Sir. Don't I sound like Barack Obama?'

I said, 'Yeah, you sound just like him!'

He said, ‘Well, that's because I am. I am sitting right here in the Oval Office. And I'm calling you on behalf of the Military, Pentagon, and Congress … and it's long over due."

45 years have passed since Richard's father, Sgt. Feliz M. Conde-Falcon born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, was killed in combat in South Vietnam.

Richard was three when his father died and for the majority of his life, he felt fatherless.

Unbeknownst to Richard, for nearly twenty years, his father's radio operator and best friend, Les, was searching to get in touch with Richard.

Thanks to today's technology, they finally connected.

"Les is my hero. Les gave my dad to me what, nine years ago? When I was probably 39, 40 years old.  That's when I finally got to meet my dad."

Les told Richard about the jokester, the prankster, and family man his dad was, but the very first thing Les told Richard was how his father died.

"You're imagining this motion type of picture, you know jumping up on the bunker with grenades and running through the jungle, taking out bunker after bunker, single handedly," Richard said.  "It just makes you warm and you know wow.  That's my father, that's my dad."

The Army conducted the review under a directive from Congress in the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act.

The law required that the record of each Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran who received a Service Cross during or after World War II be reviewed for possible upgrade to the Medal of Honor.

For Richard, 45 years was worth the wait for his father's story to be told.

"Les has given me some of that. Washington is going to be the culmination of the full circle," he said.

"Today, February 24th is his birthday. He would have been 76."

Visit here to read Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon's biography and citations: http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/valor24/recipients/conde-falcon/?f=recipients&l=name.
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