John was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA, and was raised in NYC. After his military service he earned a degree in marketing.
He was “drafted” into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, Wash. while serving in Vietnam, he voluntarily transferred to the 25th Division 3/4 Air Cavalry, aka Centaurs. John was a door gunner on a Huey gunship that was consistently engaged in daily and nightly raids.
On May 19, 1967, while on a combat mission in the Hobo Woods, South Vietnam, John was seriously injured, sustaining bullet wounds to his right shoulder. In spite of his wounds, he continued to engage the enemy with M60 tracers while making their position with smoke grenades. Subsequently, he saved the other three crew members while assisting to kill at least 17 Vietcong. For his bravery and dedication to duty, along with the Purple Heart, John was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal for Valor. He is one of a few in the Army to have received the DFC, which is usually awarded to an Air Force pilot.
While in Colorado he joined the executive staff, eventually retiring from a technical college as director of placement. Always being community minded; John was a volunteer with the Colorado Springs Police Department. He is a member of Highlands Ranch, Colo., American Legion Post 1260, VVA 1106 and PH Chapter 1041.
We honor you, John Vargas.