LOS ANGELES (CNS) - President Joe Biden signed bills today approving the renaming of post offices in Compton and Los Angeles in honor of local military heroes -- the first Black Marine to receive the Medal of Honor and a Marine private who died in action during World War II.
In Compton, Biden signed a bill that will rename the post office at 101 S. Willowbrook Ave. as the PFC James Anderson Jr. Post Office Building. Anderson, who attended Carver Elementary School in Willowbrook and Centennial High School in Compton, was serving with the Marines in Vietnam on Feb. 28, 1967. While on patrol, his platoon was ambushed and came under enemy fire, during which a grenade landed amid the troops. Anderson died using his body to shield his fellow troops from the grenade blast.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1968, becoming the first Black Marine to earn that recognition. ``The bravery of this 21-year-old soldier was beyond every expectation, and his actions are remembered by family, friends, and fellow soldiers to this day,'' Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, D-San Pedro, who sponsored the legislation to rename the post office branch, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Biden also signed a bill renaming the branch at 2016 E. First St. in Los Angeles in honor of Marine Pvt. Jacob Cruz. Cruz enlisted in the Marines at age 17 so he could fight in World War II, with the permission of his mother, according to Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the bill.
In November 1943, during the Battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, Cruz was killed while running ammunition boxes to gunners on the front line, amid enemy fire, according to Gomez's office. His remains were deemed unrecoverable for 77 years, but they were finally identified and returned home to Los Angeles last year for a burial with full military honors. Gomez said renaming the post office branch in his honor will ``honor the contributions of this brave Marine and all Latino service members who have given their lives in the service of our country.''