Fallujah Marine Receives Well-Deserved Silver Star 13 Years Later


By Debbie Gregory.

On November 15, 2004, 23-year-old Cpl. Eubaldo Lovato led a courageous firefight with the enemy in Iraq to recover the body of a fallen Marine, for which he has been awarded a Silver Star.

Lance Cpl. Travis Desiato had been shot and killed,  his body taken by enemy fighters. Alive, wounded or dead, a Marine is never left behind on the battlefield.

Lovato assembled a team of non-commissioned officers to link up with the squad leader of the fallen Marine. Even with the use of tanks and rockets shot into the room through the window, the team was unsuccessful in their efforts to retrieve the newly-married Desiato.

On their third attempt, the team, led by Lovato, entered the room with grenades and small arms and successfully recovered the body of Desiato.

For his heroic actions, in November 2004, Lovato was awarded the Bronze Star.

In 2016, the Department of Defense Valor Award Review Board looked over 464 valor awards that were given since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“They compared the valor award to those given in the Vietnam and Korean War era, looking for inconsistencies,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Martin. “Lovato was one of 33 service members that was found to be under-awarded.”

For that reason, his Bronze Star was upgraded to a Silver Star.

“To be completely honest, I don’t deserve this,” Lovato said. “I didn’t do anything different than what I was trained to do. But I appreciate it and I am going to wear it proudly because the person who does deserve this wasn’t able to make it home. He was a 19-year-old kid from Massachusetts who had just gotten married. I am going to wear this Silver Star for him. He is the one that made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Lovato now works in Colorado as a Health and Wellness Coach.

“To me, anything is accomplishable,” said Lovato. “You may fail at it a thousand times, but who cares about failing? The accomplishment is worth more than that.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Bill Dana, ‘Jose Jimenez’ Comedian and WWII Vet, Dies at 92

bill dana

By Debbie Gregory.

Many knew Bill Dana as “José Jiménez” the popular character he created on The Steve Allen Show in the 1950s and continued to perform throughout his career. Dana died June 15th at his home in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 92.

Born William Szathmary and a Massachusetts native of Hungarian-Jewish descent, Dana first appeared as Mexican immigrant Jimenez in a 1959 edition of “The Steve Allen Plymouth Show, where he also worked as an Emmy-nominated head writer.

Many people don’t know is that in addition to being a successful writer, author, cartoonist, producer, director, recording artist, inventor and stand-up comedian, Dana was also an Army veteran..

Dana enlisted at age 18, and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal in WWII.

He attended college on the GI Bill, and began his career as an NBC page.

On Garry Moore’s variety T.V. show, Dana appeared as Jose the Astronaut.

Dana and his alter ego became part of U.S space history on May 5, 1961, when  the first words spoken to Alan Shepard after liftoff from fellow Mercury astronaut Deke Slayton on the ground were: “O.K., José, you’re on your way. ”

Dana said he got the idea for the José Jiménez character and the accent after talking with a Puerto Rican local while on vacation years earlier.

Dana’s “José Jiménez” was initially embraced by the Latino community. But changing standards and criticisms of stereotyping in the late 1960s forced him to retire the character.

“It was people I met in this country who would tell me ‘Boy, shore love it when you play the dumb Mexican’ that made me want to drop the character,” Dana said in a 1970 interview.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Evelyn Shular.

Donations in his name may be made to the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.