Three Vietnam Veterans honored, awarded medals for their service in ‘long overdue’ ceremony

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SAN ANGELO, Texas – Three Vietnam Veterans were honored at a ceremony April 5, 2021 at the federal courthouse in San Angelo, Texas.

The three men were presented with medals for their service.

Congressman for District 11, August Pfluger, pinned the medals on the veterans and gave remarks about their dedication to the country and community.

“It’s long overdue,” Pfluger said after acknowledging that Vietnam Veterans did not get any “Thank you” or “Welcome home” greetings when they returned from war.

Photo by Senora Scott

Medals

Vietnam Service Medal

Awarded to servicemembers who served in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and/or Thailand for more than 30 consecutive of 60 nonconsecutive days between 1965 and 1973.

The colors of the ribbon represent:

  • The flag of the Republic of Vietnam which was, at the time, yellow with red stripes running horizontally.
  • The red stripes indicate the three ancient empires of Vietnam Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China, mirroring the Republic of Vietnam’s flag.
  • The green represents the Vietnamese jungles.
  • Bronze stars are mounted on the ribbon to define participation in a certain campaign.

The devices earned from these conflicts, battles, and missions and are earned for dedication, bravery, and hard work.

On paper they are just parts of history and a timeline about the war, but for the veteran who lived through it, it’s much more. It’s a memory that will never be forgotten.

Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal was introduced during the first Indochina War and the second Indochina War, the Vietnam War.

It is a foreign medal created by the Vietnamese government that was authorized for wear on American troops as of December 1966 for their service in Vietnam.

The medal’s design is an important part of telling the story of the Vietnam War:

  • The colors of the medal are green to represent freedom and white to represent purity.
  • The medallion has 6 pointed white enamel star and 6 golden rays between each point in the star and has a map of Vietnam in the center of the medallion.
  • The red “flames” on the Vietnam map represent the locations of the war.

This medal is different because it comes with a default device: the “1960-” bar attachment.

The 1960 device, as it’s known, reads the start date of the conflict and the open space after the dash was to include the end date of the Vietnam War, but because they were produced and awarded during the war no end date was added.

To receive this medal the servicemember must have:

  • Served in the Republic of Vietnam for six months between March 1st 1961 and March 28 1973,
  • Served outside Vietnam and still gave combat support for six months,
  • Or have served less than six months but have been wounded, captured and escaped enemy forces, or killed in action.

The National Defense Service Medal

This medal is awarded for honorable service during any one of four specified periods of armed conflict or national emergency.

This award gives special recognition to those who served during the:

  • Korean War from June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1954
  • Vietnam War from January 1, 1961 to August 14, 1974
  • Gulf War from August 2, 1990 to November 30, 1995
  • And the Global War on Terrorism from September 11, 2001 to the present day

Robert Moncibais was awarded with:

  • Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star and two Bronze Service Stars
  • National Defense Service Medal for 7 Major Campaigns
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Fred Maskil was awarded with:

  • Vietnam Service Medal w/2 Bronze Service Stars,
  • National Defense Service Medal,
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Manuel Ortegon was awarded with:

  • Vietnam Service Medal,
  • National Defense Service Medal,
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Watch the raw video of the ceremony below:

Veteran Biographies

Robert Moncibais:

Robert served 2 tours in Vietnam, with the 1st Armor Division out of Ft. Hood Tx. Robert fulfilled his obligation the US Army, after his first tour in Vietnam, but he decided to stay in for a second tour to keep his sister from having to go. His

sister was a nurse in the Army. Robert served 19 months of his 3 years in Vietnam.

Robert completed 2 years collage and went to work for GTE and retired after 12 years of service. Employed by SAISD for 23 years keeping our school buildings safe for the children of San Angelo. Robert served the residents of Baptist Retirement Community 10 years. 51 years of service to our country, Texas and San Angelo.

Fred Maskil:

Fred was raised in Ozona, Texas, he was drafted and was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division 27th Maintenance Battalion. He served 3 years 9 months, with 1 year 5 months, being service in Vietnam. Fred served as a door gunner on a Huey gunship. The door gunners job was to position themselves in the open door of the helicopter and man the mounted M60 machine gun. Providing fire cover for the aircraft and troops.

When he returned to Ozona he had already experience in the oil fields and went back to work for Delta Drilling 5 years. He was hired by Goodyear after he left the oilfields started at the bottom worked his way up Office Supervisor and retired after 30 years. After retirement he continued to work doing hot runs delivering oil field tools for Henson Tools . 42 years of service. Married 53 years

Manuel Ortegon:

Manuel graduated from Central HS 1965 in San Angelo. He was drafted 1966, and volunteered for paratroopers after he saw how cool their uniforms were, which extended his military time to 3 years. The 101st Airborne was beginning to form Long Range Recon Patrols. He joined the 58th LRRP Co. attached to the 101st Airborne. He started his training in the US and completed his training at MACV Recondo School in Vietnam. This is sometimes referred to as LRRP finishing school or the deadliest school on earth. Only a total only 3470 men successfully completed MACV Recondo School. He graduated March 1968 and was reassigned to his unit as team leader. Two weeks of intensive training, some say by (Army Special Forces), followed by a Long Range Recon Patrol in the mountains and jungles around Nha Trang, the sole purpose of which was to make contact with enemy. If you didn’t go on a mission, you didn’t graduate.

Manual came home and went back to school graduating with a degree in business from ASU. He was hired by GTE and served in the engineering department for 31 years.

Thank you to Congressman August Pfluger’s office for providing the information above.

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