Jay R. Vargas
|Jay R. Vargas|
Jay R. Vargas, Medal of Honor recipient
July 29, 1938 |
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1963–1992|
|Unit||2nd Battalion 4th Marines|
|Commands held||3rd Reconnaissance Battalion|
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart Medal (5)
Meritorious Service Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
|Other work||Department of Veterans Affairs|
Jay R. Vargas (born July 29, 1938), is an American and a retired United States Marine Corps colonel who served in the Vietnam War. He received the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" in action, in 1968.
Vargas attended high school in Winslow, Arizona where he was born. He graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1962 with a B.S. Degree in Education and completed a Master of Arts Degree with "Honors" at U.S International University in San Diego, California.
U.S. Marine Corps
After completing The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, in June 1963, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He is also a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School, the Command and Staff College, Quantico, Virginia, and the National War College, Washington, D.C.
Vargas served as a Weapons and Rifle Platoon Commander; Rifle Company Executive Officer; three times as a Rifle Company Commander (two of which were in combat); S-3 Operations Officer; Recruit Depot Series Commander; Instructor, Staff Planning School, LFTCPAC; Headquarters Company Commander, 3rd Marine Division; Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division; Commanding Officer of the 7th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, California, 1st Marine Division,; Aide-de-Camp to the Deputy Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific; Marine Officer Instructor, NROTC Unit, University of New Mexico; Head, Operations Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington D.C.; and as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, 1st Marine Amphibious Force.
After almost thirty years of service, Vargas retired from the Marine Corps in 1992 as a colonel.
Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor citation:
After leaving the military, Vargas, a Republican, served as the Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs from 1993 to 1998. On July 9, 2001, he was appointed to the position of Regional Veterans Liaison for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony J. Principi. He served in this position until January 2009.
Jay Vargas is one of four brothers who has served in the United States Armed Forces in time of war. Like Vargas, each of his brothers are decorated veterans — Angelo, Iwo Jima, World War II; Frank, Okinawa, World War II; and Joseph, Korean War. In honor of his mother, Vargas had her name engraved on his Medal of Honor. She died before he received his Medal of Honor; he requested that her name be engraved on the medal and be added to the rolls. As such, the actual recorded recipient of this Medal of Honor is "VARGAS, M. Sando."
Vargas' military decorations and awards include:
|Medal of Honor|
|Silver Star Medal||Purple Heart Medal w/ Silver 5⁄16" Star||Meritorious Service Medal|
|Combat Action Ribbon||Navy Unit Commendation||National Defense Service Medal|
|Vietnam Service Medal w/ four 3⁄16" bronze stars||Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Silver Star and Palm||Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/ 1960- device|
- Vargas is one of a few recipients in the United States to be awarded the American Academy of Achievement’s "Golden Plate Award" presented to national leaders in all professional fields.
- He has also received the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Commemorative Plaque presented by the United States Collegiate Athletic Directors and Coaches, in Houston, Texas, for excelling in collegiate athletics and having made a significant contribution to his country.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jay R. Vargas.|
- List of living Medal of Honor recipients
- List of Medal of Honor recipients for the Vietnam War
- List of Hispanic Medal of Honor recipients
- Hispanics in the United States Marine Corps
- "Medal of Honor facts". HomeofHeros.com. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
- ""Jay R. Vargas", Hispanic-American Medal of Honor recipients". Las Culturas. Archived from the original on 2005-03-13. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- "Colonel Jay R. Vargas, USMC (retired)". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
- "Maj Jay R. Vargas, Medal of Honor, 1968, 2/4/9, Vietnam (Medal of Honor citation)". Marines Awarded the Medal of Honor. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
- "Biography: Jay R. Vargas, Congressional Medal of Honor" (Word document). Phoenix Veterans Administration. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
- ""Battle for Dong Ha", in The Operations and The Battles, The 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion (Amtrac.org)". Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- Jordan, Kenneth N. Men of Honor: Thirty-Eight Highly Decorated Marines of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, A Schiffer Military History Book, 1997. (ISBN 0-7643-0247-7)
- Nolan, Keith William. The Magnificent Bastards The Joint Army-Marine Defense of Dong Ha, 1968, Presidio Press, 1994. (ISBN 0-89141-485-1)