The late Nicky D. Bacon, former Conway resident and the last of Arkansas’ Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, will be honored at a public memorial service Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Little Rock.

Bacon died at the age of 64 in his Rose Bud home on July 17.

Bacon was the last living of 25 Arkansas veterans to be recognized with the nation’s highest honor for bravery and heroic courage.

According to a White House citation, Bacon “distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Platoon, Company B, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade, American Division, during an operation 26 August 1968, west of Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam.”

The letter goes on to explain that while Company B came under fire, Bacon organized men and led them forward in an assault, advanced on a hostile bunker and destroyed it with grenades.

In the midst of the assault, several soldiers were wounded in an exposed position and Bacon, in a “singlehanded” effort, killed the opposing guncrew. He went on to assume command of a second platoon and further advanced the attack.

After two tours of duty in Vietnam, Bacon began his life’s work of advocating for his fellow veterans.

He served as director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs from 1993 to 2005, and he officiated many memorials and honoring ceremonies for highly decorated and fallen soldiers.

“If the slogan, well known and often used, God and country, had a poster boy, it would be Nicky D. Bacon. He loved God, his family, his friends and country,” former state Sen. Stanley Russ said.

When Russ was serving as acting governor of the state of Arkansas, he formed a committee to raise funds to establish a permanent memorial to holders of the Congressional Medal of Honor on Capitol grounds.

Bacon was appointed to the committee and the two became close associates.

“To me, he was the modern day Sgt. York. When it came to veteran affairs, his unwritten credo was ‘The difficult we do immediately, the impossible may take a little longer.’ In other words, he was a take charge, let’s get it done kind of leader. Not in the domineering fashion, but in a way that made you want to follow him,” Russ said.

State flags are being flown at half-staff until sundown in honor of Bacon.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)