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.”