The US Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipient must have distinguished himself at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.
Private Jose B. Nisperos served under the 34th Company of the Philippine Scouts during the Moro Rebellion at the time of the Philippine-American War. Despite having been unable to stand after receiving several spear wounds in the body resulting to a broken and lacerated left arm, Private Nisperos continued to fire his rifle with one hand until the enemy was repulsed. This heroic act aided materially in preventing the annihilation of his party and the mutilation of their bodies.
Private Nisperos was awarded the Medal of Honor (MOH) on 3 February 1913, marking him as the first Asian to be awarded the US Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Filipino American-War.
Unfortunately, the original MOH was sold to an antique collector back in April 2011, but was returned to the family in June 2012. After its unveiling at the City Veteran’s Wall at the San Fernando, La Union City Hall on 20 March 2015, the MOH went missing as it was presumably stolen.
After going through a lengthy quest to retrieve the missing medal, the great granddaughter of Private Nisperos, Mrs. Maria Delilah Gregorio V. Turzar, wrote to the US Army Human Resource Command (HRC) on 15 September 2020 to ask for a replacement.
With the assistance of MGen Antonio Taguba, a retired US Army officer, the replacement was finally issued and was then sent to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) through Commo Elson K. Aguilar, then Chief of the Office of the Veterans Affairs in Washington DC. Unable to hold a formal turn-over ceremony because of the pandemic, PVAO opted to have the medal personally delivered to the family in San Fernando, La Union.
Finally, the US Medal of Honor has been officially turned over to the family of Private Jose B. Nisperos on 22 July 2021 in San Fernando, La Union. Representatives from PVAO and the Field Service Extension Office (FSEO) in La Union met with the Nisperos Family at the City Hall of San Fernando to hold a simple turn-over ceremony in the presence of City Mayor Hermenegildo Andaya Gualberto, City Administrator Atty. Nancy Dilaoen, and PMaj Lawrence Ganuelas.