Single-Handed, but with Angels at his side

On the 30th & 31’s of October, 1950, Tibor “Ted” Rubin was having a particularly crappy couple of days at work.

Having recently become a “GI Joe” for his new country,  Tibor found out that Jew Hatred was not merely a European phenomenon.  Sent as a rifleman to Korea, his sergeant simply delighted in “volunteering” “that Jew” repeatedly for the most dangerous of missions.

Now, Tibor was tasked with single-handedly covering the other soldiers’ retreat in the face of a massive enemy advance.

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But, armed with not a small helping internal strength, remarkable bravery, and the help of Heaven, Tibor prevailed again and again.  On those two days, and on many other occasions both before and since, he not only survived, but heroically aided his fellow soldiers, with resolve, ingenuity, and good humor.

Tibor Rubin was born to a middle-class family in Paszto, Hungary, in 1929.  When the Nazi’s came, his parents tried to smuggle him to the relative safety of Switzerland.  He was caught in Italy and sent to Mauthausen.  His sister and stepmother were murdered in Auschwicz, and his father in Buchenwald.

When American troops liberated the prisoners at Mauthausen, Tibor sought a new live in America. He was determined to repay this “debt”, by joining the U.S. Army.  Due to his difficulty with English, it took three tries to be accepted.

In 2005, he receive the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin’s gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.”

FILE -In this Sept. 23, 2005 file photo, President Bush presents the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Tibor Rubin, in the East Room at the White House. Rubin, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who joined the U.S. Army after his liberation from the Nazis and earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Korean War, has died in California. He was 86. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
 (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

A new book on his story; Single Handed, by Daniel M. Cohen, came out this past summer

Here, also, is a brief oral history from the late Mr. Rubin himself, who passed away this past December.  May his memory be a blessing.

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2 thoughts on “Single-Handed, but with Angels at his side”

  1. WHAT an incredible man! And I love the title of the article. It’s perfect. I look at some of the things, and some of the people to which the media and some people apply the words “hero” and “courageous”. They are fools. THIS is a hero, this is integrity, honor and as my family would have said “True Grit”. That’s high praise where I come from. Perhaps some day I will meet him.

  2. Y.B. THANK YOU for sharing this story–what a wonderful American GI JOE and humble hero. Tears of sadness and joy–now I will read Cohen’s book about this incredible man.

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