Rocco, Louis Richard
- Henry Franklin Tribe
Rocco, Louis Richard (19 November 1938–31 October 2002), soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the son of Louis Rocco, an Italian American, and Lita Rocco, a Mexican American. He always went by the name Richard Rocco. Growing up in a poor family with eight siblings and a father often unemployed, Richard experienced much hardship. As a youngster in the Albuquerque suburb of Barelas, he stole potatoes and corn from local fields to provide for his family. When he was ten years old, the family moved to the San Fernando Valley in California. As a teenager, Richard joined a barrio gang in Wilmington, spent time in jail, and found himself in constant trouble with the authorities. At the age of sixteen, he prepared to be sentenced for armed robbery. While expecting the worst, Richard visited an army recruiting station in Los Angeles and talked candidly to a sympathetic recruiter about his problems. The recruiter talked to the judge, who decided to send Richard to a delinquency home for a year and then allow him to join the army when he turned seventeen after his parents signed a waiver. Richard was also ordered to stay in school and avoid involvement with the gang....