MAJ. SANDO M. VARGAS, JR.
9th Marine Amphibious Brigade.
Dai Do, Republic of Vietnam
30 April to 2 May 1968.
Although severely wounded the previous day, when faced with heavy enemy resistance Maj (then Captain) Vargas combined rallied 3 companies of Marines together then led his men in the attack on the fortified village of Dai Do.
In spite of intense rocket and Mortar fire, Vargas maneuvered his marines across 700 meters of open rice paddy to secure a position in the hedgerows on the enemy perimeter.
An element of his company was pinned down and in great peril – Maj. Vargas led his reserve platoon to the rescue, Maj. Vargas inspired his men to continue to advance, and destroy several enemy bunkers.
The Enemy mounted a series of counter-attacks in an attempt to re-take the village. Attacks continued all through the night. Although wounded a second time Maj. Vargas refused evacuation and moved from firing position to firing position organizing and encouraging his Marines.
The next morning the enemy retaliated with a massive counterattack resulting in hand-to-hand combat. Maj. Vargas was out in the open, rendering assistance to one of his marines when he was wounded for the third time in the 3-day battle.
His battalion commander was also wounded albeit much more seriously than Maj. Vargas. He disregarded his own wounds and carried his commander. Several hundred yards to a covered position, then he got back into the fight.
Major Vargas led from the front – and his actions were the foundation of the victory.
Sando Vargas is alive and well today at the age of 80.
Maj. Vargas’ other awards include: 5 Purple Hearts
MEDAL OF HONOR
SILVER STAR MEDAL
PURPLE HEART (5th award)
MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL
COMBAT ACTION RIBBON
NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION
NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL
VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL W/4 BRONZE STARS
VIETNAM CROSS OF GALLANTRY