|Nov. 28, 2011
– The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) today welcomed a new member to the Governor appointed Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Committee. Al Herrera was officially appointed to the committee by Gov. John Kitzhaber during an afternoon ceremony at the State Capitol.
During the ceremony, Herrera was also awarded the Silver Star for gallantry—a medal he earned 42 years ago while serving in Vietnam. He was the first sergeant of Company C, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division, also known as the Big Red 1.
Oregon National Guard Brig. Gen. Bruce W. Prunk, Assistant Adjutant General, Air, officially presented the medal to Herrera as Command Sergeant Major Brunk Conley read the citation.
“It is the first sergeant who must be a professional soldier, ready to plan, ready to lead and ready to take the risks necessary to win the day,” said ODVA Director Jim Willis. “Al Herrara is such a man. The fact that the members of his company banded together to ensure that he received this long overdue award is a testament to what he meant to them then and what he means to them now.”
From 1955 to 1976, Herrera served in three foreign countries and at several stateside posts. He rose to the highest non-commissioned officers rank—Command Sgt. Major while serving with the U.S. 6th Army at the Presidio in San Francisco, Calif.
Herrera, from Beaverton, will serve in the appointed position through Dec. 7, 2015.
Kitzhaber also thanked former committee member and chair Tino Ornelas for his eight years of service and leadership to Oregon veterans.
The nine-member Committee was formed by statute in 1945. Playing an active role in the effective administration of the department, Committee members advise the department’s director and actively engage in ensuring the agency is meeting its mission of service to veterans.
More information about the Advisory Committee and ODVA services and programs can be found online at www.oregon.gov/ODVA