Purple Heart veterans honored by county supervisors
COTTONWOOD - Yavapai County supervisors honored three Purple Heart veterans during their board meeting Monday morning, and they plan to honor more.
The board proclaimed itself a "Purple Heart County" and gave each Purple Heart recipient a copy of the proclamation. World War II veteran Darrell Huston was unable to attend because of medical problems.
The Military Order of Purple Heart asked county officials throughout Arizona to issue proclamations, and the County Supervisors Association spread the word, Supervisor Tom Thurman's office said. The Purple Heart recipients earned the honor for wounds suffered in combat.
The board located four Purple Heart recipients in Yavapai County before Monday's meeting, but since then it has heard about more. The board plans to read their names and service biographies at future meetings.
Supervisor Thurman is asking all Purple Heart recipients who live in this county to call his office at 771-3393 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are short biographies of Monday's proclamation recipients.
Darrell Huston, US Navy 1942-1945
Darrell Huston joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 in Southern California at the age of 19 and served aboard a World War II C Class-694 submarine chaser as a coxswain. He was assigned to Sub Chaser 694 and escorted ships from Trinidad to the Panama Canal and from Bermuda to Gibraltar Straits.
Huston went to Sicily for the invasion. The boat was tied up in Palermo, Italy, alongside another sub chaser, 696, when a German plane dropped a bomb on both ships on Aug. 23, 1943. All of the crew of 20 from the 696 were killed and the ship sunk immediately. His ship was hit and only three crew members survived. It later sunk. He was blown off the ship onto the pier. His captain and the cook were the only other survivors. He lost 17 shipmates that day.
An Italian tugboat came to their rescue and took them to a hospital. He was sent to a hospital in Palermo and then to a tent hospital in North Africa. He was there 8 months recovering from his wounds. He said that every night they would have air raids and bombs dropped. The nurses would cover them with a mattress to keep the shrapnel from falling on them. While in a hospital in Africa, he heard that the plane that dropped the bomb on the two ships had been shot down by the United States. The captain of his ship came to see him in the hospital and awarded him the Purple Heart.
Huston served a few more years in the Navy in Miami and left the service in 1945. Among the awards he received was American Theater, European-African with two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.
Darrell is now 90 years old and lives with his wife of 50 years, Lila, in Cornville.
Eric 'Easy' Schultz
Eric 'Easy' Schultz served in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1992 as a commissioned officer and attack helicopter pilot. He served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm before leaving active duty in 1992. He joined the SC National Guard 1998 as a Sergeant E-5 mechanic and later a heavy equipment operator with the 122nd Engineer Company. Schultz was deployed with the 122nd to Iraq in 2005 as a combat engineer with Task Force Trailblazer around Mosul and Tikrit. He participated in or commanded 253 successful combat patrols from October 2005 to October 2006.
Schultz was wounded in combat June 8, 2006, while on patrol in Bajji, He retired from the U.S. Army June 25, 2007. He said he is "proud to have served, pleased to have survived."
Rimrock's Rod Consalvo enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965, and was deployed to Viet Nam between August 1966 and September 1967.
Consalvo was nominated for a Bronze Star while serving on Operation Prairie 2. He was wounded March 24, 1967, in the Quang Tri Province. At the age of 20, he returned stateside to become a drill instructor in San Diego.
Consalvo re-entered the USMC Reserve at age of 36 and that term of service extended from 1983 to 2001. In all, Consalvo served in the U.S. Marines for 30 years and 6 months.
His military awards include the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation with 2 Stars, Good Conduct Ribbon (Active Duty), Good Conduct Ribbon with 4 Stars (Reserve), National Defense Ribbon with 1 Star, Viet Nam Service Ribbon with 2 Stars, Drill Instructor Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry Unit Award, Viet Nam Civil Action Unit Award, Viet Nam Service Ribbon.
Consalvo retired to Rimrock in 2007 and today works as a school bus driver for the Camp Verde School District.
Jon Hutchinson, a reporter from the Verde Independent, and Courier reporter Joanna Dodder contributed to this article.