Sgt. Jimmie S. Salazar, a Vietnam veteran with the 4th Bn, 47th IN Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, is awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his actions in combat from Jan. 6, 1967 to Jan. 6, 1968, during a ceremony held at the Texas Military Forces Museum on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, July 12, 2013. (U.S Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Griego)
AUSTIN, Texas - In the winter of 1967, a young draftee, only recently graduated from high school, completed Army basic training and received orders to fight overseas in the burgeoning Vietnam conflict. His yearlong service there, punctuated by combat, tragedy, and acts of bravery, would go unrecognized for almost half a century.
Fast forward to July 12, 2013, when Sgt. Jimmie S. Salazar of the 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, received the fifth highest combat decoration for an American service member in a ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.
“It's finally here, and I'm glad,” said Salazar, who served as a rifleman and squad leader with Company C in Vietnam. “I was just worried I wasn't going to get it before I died.”
Forty-five years after leaving the jungle where he “consistently displayed exceptional performance with rapid assessments and solutions against determined hostile fighters,” as noted in the citation, Salazar was more than ready to receive his Bronze Star medal.
In attendance at the ceremony were members of his family, fellow Vietnam veterans, and key leaders from within the Texas Military Forces, including the Texas Army National Guard Commander, Maj. Gen. William Smith, who pinned Salazar's medal during the ceremony.