M. SANDO, JR.
Major (then Capt.), U.S.
Marine Corps, Company G, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious
Do, Republic of Vietnam, 30 April to 2 May 1968.
29 July 1940, Winslow,
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer,
Company G, in action against enemy forces from 30 April to 2 May
1968. On 1 May 1968, though suffering from wounds he had incurred
while relocating his unit under heavy enemy fire the preceding day,
Maj. Vargas combined Company G with two other companies and led
his men in an attack on the fortified village of Dai Do. Exercising
expert leadership, he maneuvered his marines across 700 meters of
open rice paddy while under intense enemy mortar, rocket and artillery
fire and obtained a foothold in 2 hedgerows on the enemy perimeter,
only to have elements of his company become pinned down by the intense
enemy fire. Leading
his reserve platoon to the aid of his beleaguered men, Maj. Vargas
inspired his men to renew their relentless advance, while destroying
a number of enemy bunkers. Again wounded by grenade fragments, he
refused aid as he moved about the hazardous area reorganizing his
unit into a strong defense perimeter at the edge of the village.
Shortly after the objective was secured the enemy commenced a series
of counterattacks and probes which lasted throughout the night but
were unsuccessful as the gallant defenders of Company G stood firm
in their hard-won enclave. Reinforced the following morning, the
marines launched a renewed assault through Dai Do on the village
of Dinh To, to which the enemy retaliated with a massive counterattack
resulting in hand-to-hand combat. Maj. Vargas remained in the open,
encouraging and rendering assistance to his marines when he was
hit for the third time in the 3-day battle. Observing his battalion
commander sustain a serious wound, he disregarded his excruciating
pain, crossed the fire-swept area and carried his commander to a
covered position, then resumed supervising and encouraging his men
while simultaneously assisting in organizing the battalion's perimeter
defense. His gallant actions uphold the highest traditions of the
Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.