Jose Zarate, SP4, 67 Alf Company B, 101st Aviation Battalion

SP4 Jose Zarate, formerly of Independence, was awarded the Air Medal with “V” Device on Sept. 18, 1970 for heroism.

On July 23, 1970, Specialist Zarate distinguished himself while serving as a crew member aboard a UH-1 lift helicopter during the evacuation of Fire Support Base Ripcord, Republic of Vietnam.

While extracting beleaguered troops from the firebase, Zarate’s helicopter came under intense anti-aircraft fire.

Subjecting himself to the intense barrage, Zarate guided his pilot onto the landing zone and upon landing insured the proper loading of the troops. During each trip to the firebase, he delivered suppressive fire on the enemy emplacements in the surrounding hills.

Called upon to evacuate two beleaguered companies near the firebase, which had sustained heavy casualties, Zarate placed accurate fire while his aircraft hovered above the landing zone during the extraction.

Zarate’s personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

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