Texas Military Forces
Hall of Honor
Master Sergeant Leonard E. Rice was born 11 January 1923 in Butler,
Missouri. He attended high school in Beaumont, Texas and Lamar
University after World War II.
Sergeant Rice enlisted in Company C, 143d Infantry Regiment and was
mobilized with that unit for World War II on 25 November 1940. He served
throughout the war with the 143d Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry
Division, beginning with the landing at Salerno and through all
campaigns of the 36th. He was released from active duty in 1945 and in
February 1949, enlisted in Company C, 111th Engineer Battalion. In
August 1957, he enlisted in the 273d Communications Operations Squadron,
Texas Air National Guard as the unit's first sergeant. During his
service with the squadron, he was promoted to chief master sergeant and
assigned as Ground Safety and Quality Control Supervisor. In 1972, he
was honored by the Air Force Association by being selected as
Outstanding Air National Guardsman of the Year. Sergeant Rice was
discharged from the Air National Guard in February, 1980 and from the
United States Air Force Reserve in January 1983, culminating over 38
years of service to his state and nation.
He "spread the word" about the Air National Guard during his time as an
active member of VFW Post 4820 and the Amelia Little League Baseball
program. His active participation in the training of our youth was
honored by the naming of a Little League ball park after him and his
wife as "Rice Field."
One of the few members of the United States Air Force to wear the Combat
Infantryman's Badge, he has been awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf
Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the
Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal and
numerous other state and federal awards.
Sergeant Rice's long and dedicated service to his state and nation in
both war and peace exemplifies the true American Spirit and sets an
example for all citizens of this country to follow.
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