Medal of Honor recipient Bacon succumbs to cancer

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Caraway's hometown hero Nick Bacon passed away Saturday, July 17, after a long tough battle with cancer.

Nick Bacon, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient

Bacon, 64, had been the last living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He currently resided in Rose Bud, Arkansas.

Notice was received from David Fletcher, Arkansas Director of Veterans Affairs, on Saturday concerning Bacon's passing and the plans for the funeral services with full military honors at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 24.

Bacon last visited Buffalo Island in November 2008 and was honored at Riverside Junior High School in Caraway and Buffalo Island Central High School in Monette.

Nicky Daniel Bacon was born Nov. 25, 1945 in Caraway. His parents were John and Emogene (Meadows) Bacon. The family were sharecroppers, raising cotton as their main crop.

When the farm economy got bad in 1951, John Bacon moved his family to Glendale, Ariz., to be near his parents, Thurlo and Sally (Humes) Bacon.

There, at the age of 17, Bacon went to Fort Ord, Calif., for basic training and then on to Worms, Germany.

At Christmas in 1965 he learned he was headed for Vietnam.

He went back to Vietnam for his second tour of duty in 1968-69.

Bacon served in the United States Army from 1963 to 1984 and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Nixon for his heroic efforts west of Tam KY, Republic of Vietnam on Aug. 26, 1968 while serving as staff sergeant in the U.S. Army's 11th Infantry Brigade, America Division.

During his second tour of duty, for which he volunteered, Squad Leader Bacon took charge of two platoons of Company B after their platoon leaders and several soldiers fell wounded. He fought off enemy positions as he led his men forward to rescue those trapped at the front.

On his first tour of duty, he narrowly survived a helicopter crash. He tried to serve a third tour, but was refused.

Bacon also received the Distinguished Service Cross, Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and Purple Heart.

Bacon retired from service in June 1984. He returned to Arizona and worked for the VA Regional Office in Phoenix. Following a stint working for John McCain's U.S. Senate campaign, he became city manager of Surprise, Ariz. He moved back to Arkansas in 1990.

In April 1993, he was appointed director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs by Governor Jim Guy Tucker. He was re-appointed by Governor Mike Huckabee and served until February 2005. Mr. Bacon was essential in the development of the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery and the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery Beautification Foundation. A staunch supporter of veterans, he also helped to establish the Arkansas Veterans' Coalition.

Sgt. Bacon was featured in "Beyond Glory," a book written by Larry Smith.

He most recently lived in Rose Bud with his wife Tamera Ann. He has six children, Kristy, Kim, William, James, Wyatt and Britt.

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley lowered the flags in the city to half mast on Saturday as a tribute to Bacon's memory.

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