Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Joe Lopez. Joe served from 1955 to 1987.
Joe was born and raised in Fresno, California and enlisted in the Army straight out of high school in 1955. He attended basic training with the 8th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado and attended Airborne school in Fort Campbell, Kentucky right after completing basic. He was trained as an infantryman and a paratrooper.
Joe’s first assignment was with the 21st Infantry Brigade, 24th Infantry Division in Munich, Germany and in 1958, he was reassigned to the 327th Airborne Infantry, 101st Airborne Infantry Division at Fort Campbell. In 1961, Joe was chosen to attended Special Forces and Communications training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Delta Company, 7th Special Forces Group in the Canal Zone, Panama and he participated in various classified assignments throughout South and Central America. In 1965, he returned to Fort Bragg and was assigned to the 6ht Special Forces Group and the year after was sent on an assignment with the 11th Corps on South Korea and was wounded in Dak To and was evacuated to Yokohama, Japan. After he recuperated, he asked to be sent back to Vietnam instead of going home and was assigned to C-3 Mobile Strike Force, 111th Corps.
Joe was then reassigned to the 10th Special Forces Group on Germany in 1967 and spent two years participating in covert missions in Europe. He was then deployed to Vietnam once again in 1969, when he was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 11th Corps at Kontum, South Vietnam. Joe was injured a second time in 1970 during a fire fight in Dak Seang, Vietnam and was eventually sent home to recover at the Womack Army Hospital in Fort Bragg. Joe became tired of the daily routine and activities and requested to become the Training NCO of the 7th Special Forces Group and was able to become the First Sergeant of the Headquarters and Support Company, 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. Joe was able to attend the US Army Sergeants Major Academy Sergeant Major Course in January 1974 and was subsequently assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group in Canal Zone, Panama once again and participated in covert missions until 1984. He retired soon after in 1987.
Thank you for your service, Joe!
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Graphic By Lilian Vo: Lilian Vo is an undergraduate senior at George Mason University studying Global Affairs and Intelligence Analysis.