Translate this page
Retired USMC Brig. Gen. M.A. Johnson (right) pins the Bronze Star Medal on Art Lopez during the presentation held in Pala on Nov. 14.
Retired USMC Brig. Gen. M.A. Johnson (right) pins the Bronze Star Medal on Art Lopez during the presentation held in Pala on Nov. 14.
Bronze Star recipient, Art Lopez, left, listens as USMC Brig. General (Ret.) M.A. Johnson talks about the significance of the medal.
Bronze Star recipient, Art Lopez, left, listens as USMC Brig. General (Ret.) M.A. Johnson talks about the significance of the medal.
Members of the American Indian Veterans Association present the Colors during the opening of the Bronze Star medal presentation for Vietnam veteran Art Lopez.
Members of the American Indian Veterans Association present the Colors during the opening of the Bronze Star medal presentation for Vietnam veteran Ar...

Pala resident and veteran Art Lopez presented with Bronze Star Medal for his Vietnam service


Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Issue 47, Volume 17.
Shane Gibson
Special to the Village News


Pala resident and Vietnam War veteran Art Lopez, 64, received a special honor on Nov. 14. Decades after serving his country in an exceptional way, he was personally presented with a Bronze Star Medal by United States Marine Corps Brigadier General (Ret.) M.A. Johnson, Jr. at s special luncheon held at the Pala Band of Mission Indians administration headquarters. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for bravery, heroism, or meritorious service.

Lopez, who was an E5 Sergeant in the Army, said, "I volunteered my entire time in the field, because I didnít want to come back and have shiny shoes - thatís not what I thought the war was about."

"Being young and being an Indian, I wanted to earn my feathers, I wanted to be a warrior – so I volunteered and I did what I did out there on operations that I was a part of, the number of battles I was a part of and things I went through when I was there. I stuck it out and I did my job." Lopez admitted he stayed in the front lines longer than he knew he should, but he was determined to do it.

The ceremony, put into motion by Lopezís childhood friend, Richard Garcia, was to be a way to officially honor Lopezís military service in Vietnam among the Tribeís people.†

Garcia, who is secretary of the American Indian Veterans Association in Southern California said, "This moment is historical for Art and the rest of the Tribeís people."

Lopez belongs to the†Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe and grew up in San Jacinto before enlisting Advertisement
Advertisement for Mike Mason
[ Mike Mason ]
in the Army which led to his military service in Vietnam.†Immediately following Lopezís tour in Vietnam, in recognition of his efforts during the war, he received his Bronze Star by mail.†

Because Lopez received the Bronze Star by mail without presentation when he returned home from Vietnam, when he would tell people about his award, he said they often wouldnít believe him because it was never officially presented to him.

With the medal never presented to him in ceremony, Lopez said, "Through the years I didnít really care, because I was young, but now that Iím older and I have all my grandchildren, I think itís a great thing now that I can share it with all my family and friends."

Garcia invited USMC†Brigadier General (Ret.) M.A. Johnson Jr. to come to Pala and officially present the Bronze Star Award to Lopez. Nearly 100 friends and family members of Lopez attended the event. Lopez has lived in Pala for 13 years.

When Johnson made the presentation, he spoke of the real meaning behind the military motto, "band of brothers." He explained that despite being a USMC Brigadier General in charge of 1,500 Marines, he and Lopez shared the same combat experiences during the war in Vietnam and that universally brought them together as a "band of brothers." Because of that,†Brig. Gen. M.A. Johnson Jr. said, "Art Lopez, thatís the reason I consider it my honor to be with you here today, to participate in this ceremony."

At the conclusion of the presentation, bird singers and bird dancers performed while friends and family of Art Lopez were treated to lunch.


 

0 comments


arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!
 

Add your Comment


Name

Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.




Disclaimer

The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter



Advertisement for Stellar Solar





Subscribe


Most Commented


Reach Local Customers



The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2014
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Sitemap
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds
Login