National Medal of Honor Day: Remembering Staff Sergeant Nicky Bacon
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National Medal of Honor Day falls on Saturday, March 25, and it’s a day when we’re reminded us to pause and reflect on those who have received America’s highest military honor. These individuals go above and beyond the call of duty to protect their brothers in arms while in combat—even when their own lives are in peril.
In June 2022, we highlighted the life and accomplishments of the last living Medal of Honor winner from World War II, Hershel “Woody” Williams, on his passing.
This year, a member of Arizona’s House Freedom Caucus, state Rep. Austin Smith (R) used the holiday to memorialize one of our nation’s heroes from the Grand Canyon state… and he has a very personal reason for choosing the Army servicemember he did.
On #NationalMedalOfHonorDay I’m reminded of Nicky Bacon who was from Surprise, AZ. Nicky fought courageously in Tam Ky, Vietnam to save his brothers in one of the toughest battles of the war. One of those brothers was my grandfather. This picture of them pic.twitter.com/kyaEj77bYi
— AZ State Rep. Austin Smith (@azaustinsmith) March 25, 2023
The full post reads:
On #NationalMedalOfHonorDay I’m reminded of Nicky Bacon who was from Surprise, AZ. Nicky fought courageously in Tam Ky, Vietnam to save his brothers in one of the toughest battles of the war. One of those brothers was my grandfather. This picture of them sits on my desk on the floor of the house. They grew up together in Surprise and were the best of their generation.
According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website, Staff Sergeant Nicky Bacon was presented with the Medal on November 24, 1969, by President Richard M. Nixon during a ceremony at the White House. The CMHS also shares the citation for Bacon’s medal:
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 singlehanded 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 four 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.
Nicky Bacon passed away on July 17, 2010.
Luckily, his compelling recollection of the events, in his own words, were recorded for future generations to hear. In an interview done for the book “Medal of Honor,” Bacon spoke about the men who “accepted his authority” that day:
They were good troops. I would like to think that they would follow me to hell and back. But, I just want you to know they did it not just for me; they did it for those that were out there.
That’s a comraderie we have, I guess, in all military branches, but especially in the infantry. We just don’t leave our own. We’re gonna bring them back.
That’s something about the Medal of Honor. It’s a privilege, it’s an honor to wear it. And most of us that you talk to will tell you the same story: we don’t wear it for ourselves. We wear it for all of those that can’t.
I know a lot of people braver than I am. I know a lot of people that are dead, that made that ultimate sacrifice. That supreme sacrifice. You can’t get any braver than that.
Watch him tell the whole story in the video below, courtesy of Medal of Honor:
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