Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Air Force Veteran Aureliano “A.J.” Salas Jr. He served from 1996 to 2018.

A.J. was born in Harvey, Illinois in 1977. He graduated from Pardeeville High School in Wisconsin and went on to earn his bachelors and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. He completed his master’s degree in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian studies with an emphasis in U.S. strategic policy. A.J. joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard in 1996 and served in various roles and fields such as Information Management, Counter-Drug Operations in the Caribbean and South America, Munitions Storage, Personnel Specialist and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Adjutant General. During his service, A.J. participated in numerous deployments in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraq Freedom, Phantom Fury, Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector. He also participated in humanitarian relief operations for Hurricane Felix while assigned to the US Embassy in Nicaragua.

A.J.’s military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal and Air Force Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. Additionally, he was awarded the 2006 Armed Forces Award by the League of United Latin American Citizens. In 2011, he completed his post-graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Tinker-Nave Field Research Scholar. A.J. retired from the Air National Guard in 2018 as a technical sergeant.

A.J. passed away on November 4, 2018 after a three-year battle with cancer.

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Graphic by Kimber Garland: Kimber is a junior at Indiana University – Bloomington studying International Studies and Korean.

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Published on Dec. 12, 2018

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