"We won't leave anyone behind"


Lazaro O. Camarillo, III



State Commander Lazaro O. Camarillo III


Lazaro O. Camarillo and Molly Camarillo

The Department of Texas Military Order of the Purple Heart has elected Lazaro O. Camarillo III who is also known as "Airborne", a combat-wounded Vietnam Army veteran, as the Texas Department Commander, 2021-2022. 


Lararo O. Camarillo hails from Brownsville, TX.  As an Army Sergeant (E-5), Lazaro was wounded during his service in Vietnam.  For his Valor Lazaro received the Bronze Star w/V Device, and received a Purple Heart for his actions on April 5, 1969 at the A Shau Valley, Vietnam.   Lazaro Camarillo spent 122 days in the A Shau Valley, fought at Hill 654, Airborne Hill, Hamburger Hill, DMZ and through the entire A Shau Valley. Lazaro was forced to go hand-to-hand twice in combat on Airborne Hill and again on Hamburger Hill.











On April 5, 1969, Camarillo's Unit, Company C, (Charlie Company), 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry / 101st Airborne Division was attacked during a reconnaissance mission in the A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The platoon encountered an enemy ambush and attempted to flank the enemy positions. The terrain made flanking impossible, so the men launched a frontal assault against the well-deployed insurgents. Camarillo was called forward to provide a base of fire with his machine gun. Moments later, his Platoon Sergeant was wounded and Lazaro was summoned to give supporting fire for the rescue efforts. When his machine gun malfunctioned, with total disregard for his own safety, he rushed forward through enemy fire to reach the platoon sergeant and carry him to safety.


On April 10, 1969 in the morning Camarillo was ordered to walk point, when the first enemy's bullet hit his M-16, and his unit lost three in an ambush. Later that same day, Lazaro was walking point, and another in the unit was killed in an ambush.

After leaving military service, Lazaro married the love of his life Molly, and  the two have been married over 20 years.  The couple has four grown children.  His wife is an Associate Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.  

Patriot Camarillo served as Sgt.-At-Arms for Chapter 3077.  Lazaro has worked diligently on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart -  Department of Texas, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff-South (2017), Chief of Staff (2018), Department Jr. Vice Commander (2019), Department Sr. Vice Commander (2020), and Department Commander {2021-2022).  Lazaro was selected at the Department of Texas Patriot of the Year and Patriot of the Year for Region V (a region comprised of 5 states) in 2018.  In November 2019, LAZARO O. CAMARILLO, III was the focus of a Veterans Affairs documentary called,  "Voices of  Valor".  In September 2021, he will be inducted into the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, located in New Windsor, NY. 

Texas is home to more than 47,000 living recipients of the Purple Heart. Lazaro takes on his new role and embraces the work that he knows must be done on behalf of the Patriot Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Combat Wounded, and all veterans and their families. 

"Stories of Valor," November 2019 edition. United States Army Veteran, Lazaro O. Camarillo III, describes his experiences while serving in the jungles of Vietnam, as well as his appreciation for Department of Veterans Affairs.

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