Escamilla receives his Purple Heart


Maj. David O’Leary Jr. of Fort Hood, left, presents Mark Escamilla with a plaque of all his service medals while serving in the U.S. Army.

By Addie Zinsen

Special to The Highlander

Mark G. Escamilla of Burnet was finally awarded his long-awaited Purple Heart Medal and other distinguished medals in front of more than 400 family members at the Descendants of Juan and Barbarita Escamilla Family Reunion on Saturday, July 2, at the Escamilla Pavilion in Burnet.

Maj. David O’Leary Jr. of Fort Hood and a graduate of Burnet High School has been working with the Mark Escamilla family for several months, this time around, toward the presentation of much deserved medals.

Lupe Escamilla started the process more than 45 years ago to get her deserving son the Purple Heart, but it never happened during her lifetime.

Mark Escamilla, a U.S. Army Specialist during the Vietnam War, was not aware of the presentation until he was called by Maj. O’Leary to the front of the Pavilion.

He was presented with The Vietnam Service Medal, three Bronze Service Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter 81 MM Mortar and Rifle Badge and, finally, with the long-awaited and deserved Purple Heart Medal.

The Escamilla family expressed gratitude for Maj. O’Leary’s help in making the presentations possible.

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