Salvador Suarez was born in 1935 in Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on April 15, 1954, and completed basic training at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina, in July 1954. PFC Suarez next completed Field Radio Operator training at MCB Camp Pendleton, California, followed by service as a field radio operator with Headquarters & Service Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa from November 1954 until he left active duty and joined the Marine Corps Reserve on April 15, 1956, receiving his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps Reserve on January 20, 1961. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 9, 1965, and completed advanced individual training, airborne school, and Special Forces Radio Operator training between March 1965 and June 1966. Sgt Suarez then served as a special forces radio operator with Company A, 5th Special Forces Group in South Vietnam from June 1966 to July 1967. His next assignment was as a Special Forces Radio Operator Supervisor with Company B, 6th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from July 1967 to March 1971, and during this time he served as a the radio operator on Greenleaf Support Group on the Son Tay Raid, a clandestine mission to rescue American Prisoners of War held in North Vietnam on November 21, 1970. SFC Suarez served as a Radio Operator Supervisor with Company B, 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from March 1971 to April 1972, and then as an Intelligence Sergeant with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from April to August 1972. His next assignment was as a radio operator with Detachment A of the Berlin Brigade in West Berlin from September 1972 to December 1975, followed by service as Radio Operator Supervisor with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, from January to December 1976. MSG Suarez served as an Operations Sergeant with Headquarters 6th Army at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, from December 1976 until his retirement from the Army on April 1, 1983.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
for gallantry in action on 21 November 1970 as a member of an all-volunteer joint U.S. Army and Air Force raiding force in the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed heliborne assault mission to rescue United States military personnel held as prisoners of war at Son Tay prison in North Vietnam. This valiant effort was motivated by deep compassion for his imprisoned fellow men-at-arms, and by a strong sense of military duty and national pride. Sergeant Suarez displayed outstanding professional competence, personal courage, and technical skill under extremely hazardous combat conditions in the objective area. Although responsible for maintaining effective command and control communications, he aggressively participated in the execution of his ground element's clearing mission. His swift and positive combat actions were accomplished in a calm and professional manner and made a significant contribution to the successful accomplishment of the mission without the loss of a single life. Sergeant Suarez's conspicuous disregard for his personal safety, extraordinary heroism against an armed hostile force, and extreme devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself and the United States Army.