The University of Utah celebrated Veterans Day with a week of events that culminated in a Veterans Day football game at Rice-Eccles stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. During the game against Washington State, U student Jacob Salgado was honored as Student Veteran of the Year. Nominated by a professor and selected by his peers, Salgado not only wears the title for a year, but also received $500 from Zions Bank and a “U Vet” medallion.
“At our 20th annual Veterans Day commemoration, we honored veterans and service members young and old, each with a remarkable story,” said Paul Morgan, director of the university’s Veterans Support Center. “Recognizing Jake at the football game was a great way to end Vet Week. He’s a decorated soldier, combat veteran, family man and terrific student who represents the best in our U vets.”
About Jacob Salgado
Specialist Jacob Salgado grew up in Kaysville, Utah, and graduated from Davis High School. In November 2010, he joined the U.S. Army, and he completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in March 2011. After completing his training, he was stationed with the 1st Armored Division, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Battalion 5th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Bliss, Texas.
In September 2011, his unit deployed for 10 months to the Chak District, Wardak Province, Afghanistan. Salgado was assigned to the Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST). As a member of the CoIST, he worked closely with the Afghan military and police, interacted with the local Afghans to build relations in the community, and collected intelligence on enemy movements and activity. As part of the effort to prevent the freedom of movement of enemy forces and provide security for the local populace, he and his unit conducted dangerous patrols almost every day of his deployment, and they frequently encountered enemy fire and improvised explosive devices.
After completing his service in December 2013, Salgado began his general college education. He explored metallurgical engineering at the suggestion of a family friend and alumnus of the U’s program. Recognizing the broad impact of the discipline in virtually all industries, he chose it as his major. Salgado, a senior who will graduate next May, carries a 3.6 GPA in this difficult major. He also works on the federally funded Electrodynamic Sorting Project developing a new technology to recycle non-ferrous materials. His innovations and initiative in the lab have enabled the project to meet its milestones while also saving tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Additionally, Salgado serves as the chairman of the Student Advisory Committee for the department, providing a professional and dedicated line of communication between the student body and the faculty. His advice to the faculty has led to improvements in courses tailored to student needs.
Salgado said that the best thing about serving in the military is the camaraderie that comes from an “unwavering commitment to keep each other alive.” He said he is still learning from his experiences in the Army. Salgado is married with two daughters and said that one of the things he learned in the Army is to appreciate time with friends and family.
In his three years in the Army, Salgado received the Army Commendation Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, Combat Infantry Badge and multiple other decorations.