LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Medal of Honor recipient and former director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs Nick Bacon has died, the department said Saturday.
Bacon, 64, died Saturday morning after suffering from cancer, according to a release from the department. He served in the Army from 1963-84 and received the Medal of Honor for his actions during a 1968 battle in Vietnam.
Gov. Mike Beebe called Bacon an American hero.
He never wanted anything for himself, but always wanted to protect other people in uniform. Arkansas will miss him, Beebe told reporters Saturday.
According to the Armys website, Bacon, a staff sergeant, took command of two platoons after the leaders of each were wounded during a battle near Tam Ky, Vietnam, on Aug. 26, 1968.
Bacon, using grenades, destroyed an enemy bunker before single-handedly killing an enemy gun crew and disabling an anti-tank weapon. He then helped rescue several wounded and trapped soldiers, according to the websites account.
He served as director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs from 1993 to 2005.
Bacon was born Nov. 25, 1945, in Caraway in northeast Arkansas and moved with his family as a child to Arizona, where he joined the Army.
He returned to Arkansas in 1990 and most recently lived in Rose Bud, about 65 miles north of Little Rock.
Funeral services are planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.
Biography – Nick D. Bacon
Mr. Nick Bacon is President and CEO of DVC Construction, Inc of Little Rock Arkansas. Prior to launching his business in 2005, Mr. Bacon had distinguished himself in various public service leadership positions during his civilian and military career. He served at the US Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Phoenix where he co-originated the Med-Vet Healthcare Program. He later became the City Manager of Surprise Arizona serving for a period of three years and then returned to Arkansas where he was born. Nick was the State Director of Veterans Affairs for Arkansas from 1993-2005.
He has been awarded the George Washington Award from the State of Arizona, the FBI Civilian Academy Award, and the Statesman Award from the American Academy of Medical Administrators, the Minuteman Award earned the 82ndAirborne Iron Mike Award and the Omar Bradley Award of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Mr. Bacon is extraordinarily active in civic and government affairs. He serves on the President’s National Hire Veterans Committee, the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission and is a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners. Nick is also a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign War and the Military Order of the Purple.
Retiring as First Sergeant with twenty years of service in the U.S. Army 1988, Mr Bacon is recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct, Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry, V.N. Service Medal, National Defense Ribbon, Army Service ribbon and four overseas campaign ribbons.
Nick was born in Caraway Arkansas. He and his wife Tamara Ann have five children and four grandchildren.
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company B, 4th Battalion
Division: 21st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade
Born: 25 November 1945, Caraway, Ark.
Entered Service At: Phoenix, Ariz.
Date of Issue: �
Place / Date: West of Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam, 26 August 1968
CITATION For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Bacon distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Platoon, Company B, during an operation west of Tam Ky. When Company B came under fire from an enemy bunker line to the front, S/Sgt. Bacon quickly organized his men and led them forward in an assault. He advanced on a hostile bunker and destroyed it with grenades. As he did so, several fellow soldiers including the 1st Platoon leader, were struck by machine gun fire and fell wounded in an exposed position forward of the rest of the platoon. S/Sgt. Bacon immediately assumed command of the platoon and assaulted the hostile gun position, finally killing the enemy gun crew in a single-handed effort. When the 3d Platoon moved to S/Sgt. Bacon's location, its leader was also wounded. Without hesitation S/Sgt. Bacon took charge of the additional platoon and continued the fight. In the ensuing action he personally killed 4 more enemy soldiers and silenced an antitank weapon. Under his leadership and example, the members of both platoons accepted his authority without question. Continuing to ignore the intense hostile fire, he climbed up on the exposed deck of a tank and directed fire into the enemy position while several wounded men were evacuated. As a result of S/Sgt. Bacon's extraordinary efforts, his company was able to move forward, eliminate the enemy positions, and rescue the men trapped to the front. S/Sgt. Bacon's bravery at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Bacon was born in Caraway, Arkansas and enlisted in the U.S. Army in Phoenix, Arizona, where he reached the rank of staff sergeant while serving his second combat tour in Vietnam as part of the 21st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division. On August 26, 1968, while commanding a squad of the first platoon of Company B, 4th Battalion in an operation west of Tam Ky, Bacon and his unit came under fire from enemy positions. While Bacon destroyed these positions with hand grenades, his platoon leader was wounded in open ground. Assuming command, Bacon led the platoon to destroy the remaining enemy emplacements.
When the third platoon of Bravo company lost their own leader, Bacon took command of that platoon as well as his own and led both platoons against enemy positions. During the evacuation of the wounded Bacon climbed the side of a nearby tank to gain a vantage point and direct fire into enemy positions, despite his exposure to enemy fire. He was personally credited with killing at least 4 enemy soldiers and destroying an anti-tank gun.
For his heroic actions in this battle, Bacon was awarded the Medal of Honor. For his distinguished military service in Vietnam and throughout his career, he also received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars (with combat "V"), the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and numerous other awards and decorations.
After the war Bacon continued to serve in the Army until his retirement as a First Sergeant, later going on to serve as president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Director of Veterans' Affairs for the State of Arkansas. In the 1990s he traveled to Vietnam as part of a POW/MIA task force and traveled to Israel at the invitation of Jewish veterans urging the Israeli government not to cede the Golan Heights to Syria. Today, Bacon lives with his wife, Tamara, and their sons in northern Arkansas and remains active as a veterans' advocate.