Cal State San Bernardino’s Veterans Success Center and Stater Bros. Charities will host “Valor Beyond the Call of Duty,” honoring seven recipients of the Medal of Honor – the highest award for valor presented to an individual serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The event will be held on Tuesday, March 12, at CSUSB’s Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program from 8:15-10:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served.
Medal of Honor recipients who will be recognized include: Harvey C. “Barney” Barnum Jr., U.S. Marines; Salvatore A. Giunta, U.S. Army; Robert J. Modrzejewski, U.S. Marines; Robert M. Patterson, U.S. Army; Ronald E. Ray, U.S. Army; James A. Taylor, U.S. Army; and Jay R. Vargas, U.S. Marines.
Jack H. Brown, chairman and CEO of Stater Bros., will introduce the seven Medal of Honor recipients. A native of San Bernardino and a Navy veteran, Brown received the Patriot Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in 2011. It is the highest award given by the Medal of Honor Society in recognition of his lifetime of outstanding service to the armed forces.
Marine 1st Lt. Barnum received his medal for the December 1965 battle at Ky Phu, Quang Tin in South Vietnam for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” While in Vietnam on a temporary assignment, Barnum took command of his company when the company commander and radio operator were both mortally wounded. Facing 10-1 odds, Barney led his Marines out of Ky Phu and were all airlifted to safety.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Giunta was awarded his medal for the October 2007 battle at Korengal Valley, Eastern Afghanistan, for his selfless actions and personal courage. He was hailed for saving the lives of members of his squad and preventing a fellow soldier from enemy capture.
Marine Capt. Modrzejewski earned his medal for bravery and gallantry during Operation Hastings in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam in July 1966. His platoon endured a three-day battle with the enemy, culminating with a napalm blaze that threatened to burn his comrades alive.
U.S. Army Sgt. Patterson was awarded his medal for the May 1968 firefight near La Chu in the Republic of Vietnam. Under attack by the enemy in bunkers, he single-handedly destroyed five bunkers with grenade and machine gun fire. His dauntless courage and heroism inspired his platoon to resume the attack and penetrate the enemy defensive position.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ray was one of five brothers, three of whom served in the military. Ray received his Medal of Honor for the June 1966 battle in Drang Valley, South Vietnam. He was instrumental in saving the lives of members of his platoon, despite heavy artillery attack by the enemy, being shot in both legs and severely wounded by shrapnel.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Taylor was recognized with a Medal of Honor for his valor in a battle near Que Son, South Vietnam, in November 1967 during a search-and-destroy mission. Ambushed by enemy fire, Taylor rushed into two fiery armored vehicles saving fellow wounded soldiers, despite being injured by a mortar round.
Marine Capt. Vargas, who later retired as colonel, was awarded the medal for his valiant actions at Dai Do, Republic of Vietnam in April 1968. In a raging battle against the North Vietnamese, his company engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Despite his own wounds, he carried to safety a Marine whose arm had been severed. When the soldier pleaded for his arm, Vargas valiantly returned to the battle site to retrieve the arm. After the third day, Vargas finally allowed medics to treat him for a bullet wound to his side and shrapnel from mortar rounds.
There will be a brief question-and-answer period, followed by closing remarks.
Following the Medal of Honor event, the Disabled American Veterans of San Bernardino Chapter 12 will host a veteran benefits information seminar from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Santos Manuel Student Union. Representatives from various veterans groups and government agencies will be available to answer questions and assist veterans with the VA claims process, including assistance with filing a claim or reviewing current claim status; information about education vocational rehabilitation, the GI Bill and healthcare eligibility.
Participating organizations include the Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Regional Office, California Department of Veterans Affairs, San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs Office, San Bernardino Vet Center and its Mobile Vet Unit, the DAV Mobile Service Office and the Loma Linda VA Medical Center.
“Valor Beyond the Call of Duty” is open to the public; however, pre-registration is required by calling Marci Daniels at the CSUSB Veterans Success Center at (909) 537-5196 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once registered, attendees will receive a complimentary parking pass via e-mail assigned in a specific parking lot.
For more information about the CSUSB Veterans Success Center, contact Marci Daniels at (909) 537-5196.
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.