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First Name: Francisco

Last Name: Vega-Ortiz

Birthplace: Caguas, PR,

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 04 December 1919

Date of Death: 30 June 1990

Rank: Private

Years Served:
Francisco Vega-Ortiz

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Francisco Vega-Ortiz
Private, U. S. Army
World War II

Francisco Vega-Ortiz was born on 4 December 1919 in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Military Service

Francisco Vega-Ortiz was very proud to be a World War II veteran. He served as a Private in the U.S. Army for five years.

Post-War Life

Upon his return from the war, utilizing his experience as a soldier, he became a Police Officer. From there, through hard work and dedication, he was promoted and became a Detective. In this capacity, he went on to become the Captain of the Bodyguards (La Escolta) of Don Luis Munoz Marin, (the first Puerto Rican Governor elected by Puerto Ricans.) While working at Fortaleza (the Puerto Rican White House), he had the opportunity to meet President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie, during an official visit to Puerto Rico. That was an experience he spoke of often and remembered very fondly.

He was an expert marksman; this ability allowed him to help his Fortaleza team win first place in a marksman competition that included other teams of Police Officers from all over the Island. Francisco was so responsible, dedicated, and loved his job so much that in 35 years of service, he never called in sick; not once!! That information was in his retirement papers.

His (only) daughter said she only saw her father cry three times. The first was when her oldest brother was drafted and sent to Vietnam. Although very young, she never forget that morning because she had to wake up early to say goodbye to her brother before her dad took him to the base to which he was supposed to report. So, while her brother was getting ready to leave, she was sad and was looking for her dad for answers as her mother was almost hysterical. When she found him, he was in the back of the house alone, crying and wiping his eyes with his handkerchief. Although he was a World War II veteran, he didn't want his son to have to face war.

Francisco had to sacrifice a lot of family time because of the demands of his job. Quite often he would have to stay at Fortaleza and couldn't come home for several days. So, every time he left for work, his daughter would get up at 4am just to see him and say goodbye because she knew she wasn't going to see him for many days. They got to spend more time together after he retired. After his retirement, he became her personal driver because he didn't want her to go out alone.

Death and Burial

Francisco Vega-Ortiz died on 30 June 1990 of a massive heart attack. He is buried at the Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamon, PR, in Plot I-3325.

Honoree ID: 2188   Created by: MHOH




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