Vets Committee's annual Tree Dedication Ceremony honors Diego Hernandez

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 0 Comments

Vets Committee's annual Tree Dedication Ceremony honors Diego Hernandez

 

Miami Lakes Veterans Committee memorialized veterans and Vice-Admiral Diego Hernandez at their annual Tree Dedication Ceremony on March 22 at Picnic Park West.

Hernandez’s wife, Sherry, attended the ceremony and shared some memorable anecdotes about Diego “Duke” Hernandez, a longtime Miami Lakes resident and former chairman of the Veterans Committee.

Hernandez was the first Hispanic American to be named Vice Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and commanded the Navy’s Third Fleet. After receiving a Navy ROTC scholarship, he earned a degree in psychology at Illinois Institute of Technology in 1955.

After graduation, Hernandez went into Navy flight training. His military career spanned from 1955 to 1991. He led 147 combat missions in Vietnam and, in 1966, led the first strike conducted against two surface-to-air missile sites in North Vietnam. He was shot down twice in the span of five months, and earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Distinguished Flying Cross.

After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Hernandez passed last year at the age of 83.


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