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Dr. Tijerina has received state and national book prizes for his books Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican Flag and his other major book Tejano Empire: Life on the South Texas Ranchos. His most widely read work is the publication of his Vietnam War combat memoirs in the Time-Life Books series The Vietnam Experience. As a pilot in the Air Force, Dr. Tijerina flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam, receiving the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, and he retired as a Major of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Liaison Officer for the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is co-editor of the online Handbook of Tejano History.
He has received Teaching Excellence Awards and received the 2012 Equity Award from the American Historical Association. He was appointed by the governor to the Historical Representation Advisory Committee and to the Review Board for the Texas Historical Commission. Dr. Tijerina is the General Series Editor for Texas A&M University Press, a past-Committee Chairman of the O.A.H., and a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association. He is President of the Texas Institute of Letters and a Director of the Board which erected the Tejano Monument at the state capitol in 2012. He was the founding chairman of the first Texas Hispanic Genealogy Conference held in Austin, Texas in 1979, and has served as the History Expert Witness for numerous landmark cases before federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.