Lieutenant General Emil “Buck” Bedard (Retired, USMC), 1965 Mayville State graduate, was recently honored as a Hometown Hero as part of the festivities at the annual Elks Helldorado Days in Las Vegas, Nev. Bedard, who lives in the Las Vegas area, retired in 2003 with 38 years of active duty service.
Helldorado Days is a community event that gets back to the roots of the community while incorporating some hometown fun. To enhance the fan experience, starting in 2016, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization teamed up with local Elks Lodge leaders to produce Helldorado Days. PBR has added its May event, Last Cowboy Standing, to the list of events that are held as part of Helldorado Days. The festival, rodeo, and PBR performances are held within the Las Vegas Village on the Las Vegas Strip.
Lt. Gen Bedard was recognized in a patriotic program that kicked off the Helldorado Days PBR event in May. In introducing Bedard, PBR announcer Matt West delivered a message of gratitude:
“Tonight, we are honored to have with us a hero. To be quite honest, no words can truly do justice to say ‘thank you’ or to recognize the amazing accomplishments of this amazing hero. A resident of the Las Vegas area, on 9-11, he sat at the Pentagon, less than 50 yards away from the impact of that plane on that fateful day, a Marine with 38 years of active duty and a man who has led as little as 40 and led as many as 45,000 at one time. It is truly an honor to welcome inside our arena and to our PBR family one of the most decorated heroes we could possibly imagine. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a three-star Lieutenant General of our United States Marine Corps. This is Mr. Emil R. “Buck” Bedard.
“There are no words to truly express our gratitude to Mr. Bedard and the many who have sacrificed so much to give us the freedoms we hold so dear to our hearts and to make this truly the greatest country in the world.”
When Bedard took the microphone, he said “I just want to clarify something. I’m not really a hero, I’m just a proud American who served this country for 38 years to keep us free. I represent tonight some 21 million veterans in our great country and all our great men and women in service in uniform today that allow us to be free and allow us to go ahead and enjoy evenings like this.”
“We are so very proud of Lt. Gen Bedard and all that he has done to make a positive impact in the world,” said MSU Director of Alumni Affairs Beth Swenson. “Repeating the words of Matt West, ‘there are no words to express our gratitude to Mr. Bedard and the many who have sacrificed so much to give us the freedoms we hold so dear to our hearts.’”
Bedard earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Mayville State in 1965 with a major in physical education and a minor in mathematics. He earned a master’s degree from the University of North Dakota in 1967. He was commissioned a second lieutenant on Dec. 1, 1967. His formal military education includes the U.S. Army Advanced Infantry Course, Armed Forces Staff College, and Army War College. His personal decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star, Bronze Star with Combat “V,” Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and two Gold Stars, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Army Achievement Medals, Air Medal with numeral “16,” Combat Action Ribbon with Gold Star, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
Bedard received the Mayville State University Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. A letterman as a Mayville State student athlete, he was football player, wrestler, and track participant. He was named the most valuable player on Mayville State’s 1964 football team and was named to the all-conference football team that year as well. Bedard was inducted into the Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Click here to see a video of the Hometown Hero presentation. Please note: for about the first 30 seconds, there will be audio only.