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VIDEO: Medal of Honor recipient Bacon dies at 64

by The Associated Press | July 17, 2010 at 5:21 p.m. | Updated July 17, 2010 at 7:20 p.m.
Nick Bacon, former director of the state Veteran's Administration department and recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam, at the Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery he helped create.

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 U.S. Army from 1963 to 1984 and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during a 1968 battle in Vietnam.

Gov. Mike Beebe, in North Little Rock for the Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, called Bacon an “American hero.”

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“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 U.S. Army’s 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 website’s account.

He served as director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs from 1993 through 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. on July 24 at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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