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This National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Neighbor,
 
Today, we commemorate National Vietnam War Veterans Day. In honor of this day – and in a continuation of our series, Honoring Our Heroes –  I wanted to take a moment to highlight three Vietnam War veterans in our community and their valiant service to our great nation. 
 
Meet Blas Garcia, Rick Knight, and Ed Gaede.
 
Blas Garcia, a retired medic in the U.S. Army Rank Private E-1 – served our country from 1965 to 1968.​​​​

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In Vietnam, in addition to treating his fellow soldiers, he would also often care for young, Vietnamese children who had tuberculosis. In return, they grew to trust Mr. Garcia, and often let him know when the Viet Cong were in the village. Unfortunately, one day the warning came too late, and he was shot while driving his jeep. 
 
Mr. Garcia survived and decades later was awarded a Purple Heart.

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Through it all, Mr. Garcia has kept his head held high, and encourages all active duty members to “be respectful of those you are helping,” an important reminder for all of us to choose kindness when met with adversity. 

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Rick Knight, a U.S. Marine, served as Battalion Point leader, Squadron leader, and Advanced Infantry Troop leader during the Vietnam War.

Nicknamed “Night Train” for his many night missions, Mr. Knight would always put others’ wellbeing ahead of his own. This was particularly evident when he was fighting a bout of malaria during his service.

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Mr. Knight was awarded a Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and a Bronze Star for his heroic actions in combat.

When asked what kind of advice he would give to his fellow veterans, Mr. Knight recommends that all veterans go to their local veterans center for help or counseling if they think they may need it. He also encourages his neighbors to visit the local Portrait of a Warrior Gallery, where he volunteers, so that they can learn more about the history of those who served and honor their sacrifices to protect our freedoms.

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Ed Gaede, a veteran of the U.S. Army, served in Microwave Tactical System Repair, Automatic Data Processing Repair, Digital Subscriber Terminal Equipment Repair, and had a top secret security clearance. His years of service garnered him a National Defense Service Medal, a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and a Vietnam Service Medal. 

Upon returning home, he went on to continue serving his community, with volunteerism becoming a cornerstone of his life. He has been involved with the Kern County WWII Veterans Memorial organization, the Local Chapter of the Vietnam War Commemoration, and has been a volunteer with Honor Flight Kern County, just to name a few.

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Like Mr. Knight, as a Board Member of the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery in Bakersfield, Mr. Gaede encourages the community to visit this important piece of local history, stating “I was honored to serve my country.” 
 
These stories serve as important reminders of the immense sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make in service to the United States of America. As citizens, it is our duty to honor them, and as your Congressman, I am committed to working every day to ensure our government upholds our promises to them.  
 
If you are a veteran in need of assistance, please call my Bakersfield Office at (661) 327-3611.

God bless our heroes,

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