Inside Track

Union Pacific Engineer Honored With Purple Heart

Posted March 18, 2013 10:46 AM CDT

Share This!
Email This

Master Sergeant Villa is honored for receiving a Purple Heart during a Sacramento Kings' basketball game.

Pedro Villa, Roseville Service Unit locomotive engineer and Air Force Reserve electrical superintendent, was publically honored for receiving a Purple Heart during a Sacramento Kings' basketball game on Military Appreciation Night, Nov. 9.

At a ceremony on California's Beale Air Force Base, Colonel Kevin Cavanagh, commander of the 940th Wing, presented Master Sergeant Villa with the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat action while deployed in Afghanistan. On May 5, 2012, Villa and a crew of civil engineers were ending the work day when the enemy launched a mortar, hitting some of the crew with shrapnel. Villa, though suffering a concussion and minor wound, responded immediately by administering first aid to a technical sergeant who was seriously wounded.

Upon a friend's advice, Villa joined Union Pacific in 1994 as a brakeman in Dunsmuir, Calif., following a 5-month tour in Iraq. Villa then worked for UP in Sparks, Nev., as a conductor until April 2005, when he became an engineer trainee in San Luis Obispo, Calif. In 2008, he began working out of Roseville, Calif., and became an engineer.

"The military has instilled in me dedication, patience, honor and an insurmountable amount of pride in what I do, which I transfer to my work at Union Pacific," Villa said. "I attribute Union Pacific's generous military policy and the support of my brothers in the 940th Wing to my success thus far."