Serna Flores gangTexas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, presented Texas Legislative Medals of Honor to the families of two Texans: Army Pvt. Marcelino Serna (right) and Coast Guard Seaman Apprentice William Flores. Serna, who earned the Distinguished Service Cross for actions during World War I, is seen in an undated photo with his great-granddaughter, Diana Stopani. Petitions have been filed on Serna’s behalf to posthumously upgrade his award to the Medal of Honor. Flores was just months out of boot camp when his cutter, the USCGC Blackthorn, collided with a tanker near the entrance to Tampa Bay, Fla., in 1980. He stayed onboard, throwing lifejackets to his shipmates in the water. He died alongside 22 others, while 27 lived.

WWI veteran considered for Medal of Honor receives recognition in Texas 

By Rose L. Thayer
va the Stars and Stripes newspaper web site 

Army Pvt. Marcelino Serna came back to Texas from World War I as the state’s most decorated veteran of the war.

Gen. John J. Pershing pinned the Distinguished Service Cross on the soldier for heroic actions that included single-handedly killing and capturing 50 enemy soldiers during the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France.

But to his great-grandchildren, who referred to Serna by the nickname Tata, he was a quiet man who gardened at his home in El Paso.

When his family would visit for a week or two each summer, Serna would wake all seven great-grandkids at 6 a.m. and take them on a long walk, said Genny Stopani, one of the great-grandchildren.

When Serna died in 1992 at age 95, many veterans and members of the military showed up for the funeral, giving Stopani, then 22, the first clue into her Tata’s legacy.

“The internet wasn’t around back then,” she said. “We started doing some digging and then we really learned all that he did as a young man and we were just blown away.”

Read the entire article on the Stars and Stripes web site here:


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