Isaac "Ike" Camacho
Isaac Camacho was born on June 3, 1937 in the town of Fabens, Texas. He and his family moved to El Paso, Texas when he was 13 years old after his father passed away. After his high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Army. He underwent basic training at Fort Ord, California and advance airborne infantry training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During his first two years, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Deciding to making the army his career, he reenlisted for six more years.
In 1963, while serving in Vietnam as a special forces weapons leader with a special forces "A" team, he was captured at the battle of Hiep Hoa. During the battle, his commanding officer was wounded and gave Camacho an order to retreat. He escorted his commanding officer out of the camp which was under intense enemy fire. After making sure that his commanding officer was safe from further harm, Camacho returned to the camp in an attempt to help his other team members out of the camp to safety. By that time the camp was under enemy control. He continued to fight, taking out an enemy machinegun crew with his carbine and other enemy soldiers with his hand grenades. However, the camp was quickly surrounded and he and Sergeant George E. Smith, Specialist Claude McClure, and Staff Sgt. Kenneth M. Rorback were captured. They were all taken to Trai Bai, a small camp site near the Cambodian border, about 60 miles from Saigon. Camacho was held in a 8 foot by 6 foot cage.
Isaac received a direct commission to the grade of captain and continued to serve with special forces units until his retirement. He earned his bachelor of arts degree while in the service. His is married and has three sons, two of which are career soldiers.
Captain Camacho was recommended for the nations highest award but declined it for personal reasons. His decorations include the Distinguish Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, three Army Commendation Medals, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Army Meritorious Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal (3 awards). His badges include the combat infantry badge, master parachutist badge, Vietnamese and Chinese parachutist badges and the Vietnamese ranger badge.
After his Army career, he entered the U.S. Postal Service and attained the position of station manager. After serving more than 20 years, he retired in June 1997.