Medal of Honor recipient Cavaiani dies

By Mike Morris / The Union Democrat

Columbia resident and celebrated Vietnam War veteran Jon Cavaiani died Tuesday at a Stanford hospital. He was 70.

Cavaiani was a recipient of the Medal of Honor - the nation's highest military honor - for his service as a platoon leader in Vietnam in 1971. He was awarded the medal by former president Gerald Ford.

"Jon was a hero," said Frank Smart, a fellow Columbia resident and Vietnam veteran. "He was an iconic figure."

Born in 1943 in Royston, England, Cavaiani emigrated to the United States at age 4. He became a naturalized citizen in 1968 shortly before he joined the U.S. Army, where he served with the Fifth Special Forces Group, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

"I considered it an honor to be an American," he told The Union Democrat in a 2006 interview.

When his camp came under intense fire, Cavaiani repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to help save others, according to his official citation. When the platoon was to be evacuated, he volunteered to remain on the ground and direct helicopters into a landing zone. The next day, he provided cover fire while other platoon members escaped.

Funeral services are pending.

For the complete story, see the July 31, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

11922111
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Monday August 29, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Jobs program seeks to help young adults

08/25/2016

Kristina Contreras was 18, a high school dropout, and the mother of ... more

Bus driver shortage causes problems for schools

08/25/2016

A widespread shortage of bus drivers has left schools across the county ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more