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First Name: Michael

Last Name: Vega

Birthplace: CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: W.

Date of Birth: 15 October 1962

Date of Death: 20 March 2004

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served:
Michael W. Vega

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Michael W. Vega
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army National Guard
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Michael W. Vega was born on 15 November 1962 to Raphael and Maria Vega.

A football star at Vallejo High School in Vallejo, CA, Vega enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation, where he served from April 1982 to April 1986 as a Helicopter Mechanic. In doing this, he followed in the footsteps of his father and four brothers, all of who served in the military.

His last civilian job was in the Professional Contractors' Department at a Home Depot store in Stockton.

On 29 January 2002, he enlisted in the California Army National Guard. His return to military service, after completing his Bachelor of Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was to serve in a leadership position. He achieved his goal by completing Officer Candidate School and being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 17 August 2002. He was assigned to the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion and attended the Military Intelligence Basic Course at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

A highly qualified and respected leader, Lieutenant Vega was mobilized on 3 January 2004 when his unit, A Company, 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Sacramento, CA, was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Girlfriend Marisol Vazquez, who lived with Vega in nearby Lathrop, described him as a "soldier at heart" who used to rise every morning at dawn to run five miles so he could keep in fighting shape. When he got the call in January to go to Iraq, she said, Vega "believed in the cause and was ready to go."

On 11 March 2004, 1st Lt. Michael Vega's convoy came under attack in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad, and he returned fire with an automatic weapon mounted on the roof of his unit's Humvee. During the firefight with Iraqi insurgents, the vehicle turned over on top of Vega. His head injuries were severe and he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, where he died of his injuries on 20 March 2004. He was the fourth California National Guard soldier killed in the Iraq conflict.


First Lieutenant Michael W. Vega is buried at Saint Alphonsus Catholic Cemetery, Fairfield, Solano County, CA.

He was survived by his father, Raphael; his mother, Maria (Vega) Nothnagel; his stepfather, John Nothnagel; four brothers; three sisters; and nieces and nephews from California, Colorado, Florida, New York and Guam.

Honoree ID: 863   Created by: MHOH




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