SANTA CLARA, Calif.
— Pancho Villa’s final moments on the battlefield were as much of a spectacle as they were a testament to the soldier’s resolve and determination.
As he lay on the ground surrounded by his comrades and family, the soldier and his comrades’ wives and children could not help but be reminded of the life they had taken.
After all, Villa had taken a bullet in his right knee in the face while serving as a cavalryman with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, at the Battle of Tunguska.
His wounds left a gaping hole in his knee that would require months of surgery.
“When you look back, you realize you are not going to live another day,” said his wife, Carmen, who spoke on the phone from San Francisco.
Her husband had been in the line of fire in the Tungiska battle.
It was during his first night in a hospital that he found out he was paralyzed.
He spent the next four years recovering, even though the wound was so deep, he couldn’t walk for more than three weeks.
In all, the war had claimed the lives of nearly 1,200 soldiers, the wounded and the disabled.
Villa had more than 300,000 service members in the battalion.
Villa’s family had to wait more than four years to see their husband again, a milestone that they said helped bring him closure and closure to the world.
The two-week wait for Villa’s recovery was a long time coming, said Carmen Villa, her husband’s former lieutenant.
For weeks he was on crutches, constantly in pain.
His condition worsened every day.
He was forced to stay at home with his mother and father for two months.
Eventually, he was allowed to return to the fighting, but Villa never got to fight.
When his family finally saw him for the first time, he had a serious look on his face.
‘I’m gonna do it again’ After nearly a year of recovery, Villa was finally able to walk again.
But his recovery wasn’t over.
His leg was still in a cast, and doctors needed to make sure he was able to continue to walk in the future.
Once Villa returned to duty, his leg was amputated below the knee.
But it wasn’t long before Villa was ready to go.
Since his knee injury, Villa has been a leader in the regiment and his life had changed dramatically.
Now he has a wife and three children.
He is a father to a daughter who has become a nurse.
He loves his son, who he says is the most beautiful child he has ever seen.
What made Villa such a special soldier was his dedication to the mission.
While Villa had fought for the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, at Tung-Sung, the battle of Tuktoyaktuk and the destruction of the Tukts in the Battle for Stalingrad all changed his life, said his father, John.
John Villa and his wife Carmen Villa celebrate with their children during a memorial service for the soldiers at the San Francisco National Cemetery.
Like many Americans, John Villa has come to view the war in Korea as a personal failure.
Many Americans saw the invasion of Korea as the start of a war to overthrow the Soviet Union.
But that perception is wrong, said John Villa.
We all made mistakes.
But we are a nation of heroes.
The people who fought in Korea, they were the true heroes.
That’s why it was so important to have a unified Korean nation, John said.
This is not about our politics, but about a future that’s good for the world, he said.
I have been proud to serve my country for 30 years.
He continued, “But I’ve also learned that the Korean War was not the end of my service.”
Villas family is celebrating his life in a special way.
At a memorial ceremony on Sunday, Villa’s family members, the troops who took his place, and friends paid tribute to Villa, the first American soldier to be awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
There was even a military march to honor him.
With the end in sight, Villa is still alive and fighting for his country, his family said.