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Congressman Pfluger Holds Vietnam Veteran Medal Ceremony

April 8, 2021

Washington, D.C. —Monday, Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11) recognized three San Angelo Veterans in a ceremony in the O.C. Fisher Federal Building. Congressman Pfluger pinned each veteran with medals earned during their service in the Vietnam War that were not awarded properly. The three veterans, Robert Moncibais, Fred Maskil, and Manuel Ortegon, served valiantly through their military service and beyond—all continuing on as valuable and active members of the San Angelo community upon retiring from military service.

“It is an incredibly humbling to honor these heroes, thank them for their years of service and valiant heroism, and finally present them with these honors,” said Congressman Pfluger. “The three men we recognized today earned these special distinctions during their service fifty years ago, but have lived humbly all of this time without officially being awarded with them. As Vietnam Veterans, these men were unfortunately not met with the praise and respect they deserved upon returning home, and today’s ceremony was a small step in righting that wrong.

“These medals—earned for dedication, bravery, and hard work—are physical tokens of our Nation’s appreciation, and recognition that their service will never be forgotten. Each of these brave men donned the uniform and put themselves in harm’s way in defense of freedom and liberty. Simply put, they are heroes. We are extremely lucky to have them as valued members of our community.”

Vietnam Veterans Robert Moncibais, Fred Maskil, and Manuel Ortegon were honored in the ceremony. Photos from the event are available for download courtesy of Congressman Pfluger’s office at this link.

Special thanks to Jan Lentz for her work serving veterans and officiating the ceremony, and San Angelo Veterans Service Officer Luis Martine for obtaining the medals and creating the presentation boxes.  

Veterans Background

Robert Moncibais

Robert was awarded with:

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

Robert served two tours in with the 1st Armor Division out of Ft. Hood, Texas. He was only 18 years old when he joined the Army and spent two birthdays in Vietnam. Robert fulfilled his obligation the US Army, and after his first tour, he decided to accept the assignment of a second tour to protect his sister, who was a nurse in the Army, from going to Vietnam. During Robert’s tour, he parachuted in country when his unit was attached to the Green Beret.

Of his three years in service, Robert spent nineteen months in Vietnam.

Robert completed two years college and went to work for General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (GTE), and retired after twelve years of service. He was then employed by San Angelo ISD for twenty-three years keeping our school buildings safe for the children of San Angelo. Robert served the residents of Baptist Retirement Community for ten years, continuing to use his knowledge and skills by keeping the buildings safe for our older residents. In total, Robert dedicated fifty-one years of service to our country, Texas and San Angelo.

Fred Maskil

Fred was awarded with:

  • Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Fred was raised in Ozona, Texas, and was drafted and assigned to the 1st Calvary Division, 27th Maintenance Battalion. He served three years and nine months, with one year and five months of service in Vietnam. Fred served as a door gunner on a Huey gunship.

When he returned to Ozona, Fred leveraged his experience in the oil fields and went back to work for Delta Drilling for five years. He was hired by Goodyear after he left the oil fields, working his way up to Office Supervisor and retiring after thirty years. After retiring, Fred continued to work delivering oil field tools for Henson Tools. He has been married for fifty-three years and still resides in San Angelo.

Manuel Ortegon

Manuel was awarded with:

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

Manuel graduated from San Angelo Central High School in 1965. He was drafted in 1966, and volunteered for paratroopers after he “saw how cool their uniforms were,” which extended his military time to three years. He was put through the intense Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) Recondo School, sometimes referred to as the “Long Range Recon Patrol Finishing School” and the “Deadliest School on Earth.” At MACV, he was put through two weeks of intensive training, 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 the enemy. Manuel came home and went back to school, graduating with a degree in business from Angelo State University. He was hired by General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (GTE) and served in the engineering department for thirty-one years.

Service Medal Background

Vietnam Service Medal 

  • Awarded to servicemembers who served in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and/or Thailand for more than 30 consecutive or 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.

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