Andre Vergara; another sullied record

| August 19, 2012

Here’s the photo that someone sent us (I can’t find the email, so I’m sorry that I can’t remember who it was) of Andres Vergara as he saluted during a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery last month at a service commemorating the armistice signing for the Korean War;

The Military Times ran a cropped photo with this narrative;

So, it was the four combat parachute jumps that caught my attention. There were four combat jumps during the Korean War and they were conducted by 187th Airborne Combat Team. Not by the 79th Army Band;

Try as I might, I couldn’t find a Korean Medal of Honor. I did, however, find Vergara’s Bronze Star medal citation, but it doesn’t mention saving any Korean orphans, strangely enough;

And, oh, by the way, those Master Sergeant stripes he’s wearing? NPRC says he retired as a Specialist 7, not an E-8;

Even more awards here;

I think he must’ve earned the CIB in Vietnam, since I see he was in an infantry battalion in the 82d during those years, but I don’t see where he attended jump school, and there are no jump wings in his records, so I guess we’ll give him that one, for now. I also see that he earned another Bronze Star for Merit in Vietnam as an interrogator. His 2-1 cuts off during the Vietnam War, so I’ll just give him stuff like the CIB, but all of that Korean War stuff is bogus, unless being a tuba player in the band means something different now than it did then.


Category: Phony soldiers

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Whoa, when did POWNetwork change its name?


Maybe someone should contact this man and talk to him before bashing his military career. I have little faith in Army “records”.

Old Soldier

There’s a lot of things that stink about this guy, but don’t forget the prior to the instition of the “Supergrades” in the late ’50s – and E-7 WAS a MSG…

Green Thumb

Maybe they could put a wreath around the tuba as some type of combat band scarab badge….

CIB = “Combat Instrument(s, al) Badge”.

Not as far fetched if you think about it..We do have the CAB.


Y’know, if you tell yourself a story about what you did for a long enough time, you believe it actually happened.

John Robert Mallernee

Comrades in Arms: I wouldn’t be in such a big hurry to throw stones at this guy. When I was living in Washington, D.C., at the Ol’ Soldiers’ Home (the one you Army guys contributed to from your paychecks and your Article XV fines), we were honored by the Korean Embassy, and I mean, the Koreans went ALL out in demonstrating their appreciation! The Korean combat veterans were given trips to Korea, and they were… Read more »


POST SCRIPT: As I understand it, the Army did away with ALL of the Specialist ranks above Specialist Four, and those who ranked above Specialist Four became Sergeants. When I transferred from the Signal Corps into the Cavalry, I was told to remove my Specialist Five rank and begin wearing Sergeant stripes. Maybe this guy was in a similar situation. As for jump wings, maybe he went to jump school in Viet Nam, because a… Read more »


From what I’ve read, you COULD have been in the brigade of the 82nd Airborne that was rotated into Vietnam AND have been a “leg” too. The replacements after the ORIGINAL paratroopers started leaving were not neccesarily airborne qualified. [the same happened to the 101st in VN I believe]

SFC Holland

Mr. Mallernee, Thank you for your comments. I am reserving judgment on this veteran until further information is made available.

Green Thumb


If I am not mistaken, it seems that I read or heard somewhere along the line that in a time of war(US Army)the band actually is tasked (technically speaking) with guarding enemy POW’s?

Curious if that is correct.




I’ve never heard of that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

John Robert Mallernee

I don’t know what they did in the 82d when Andre Vergara was in Viet Nam, but in the 101st Airborne, regardless of your MOS, assignment, or how long you’d already been in Viet Nam, EVERY trooper had to complete the Screaming Eagle Replacement Training School (i.e., “S.E.R.T.S.”, also known as “P” training), and our graduation exercise was a helicopter assault on an enemy position. That training wasn’t all phony balogna either, for we took… Read more »


JRM: the guy’s 2-1 shows virtually continuous assignments to band units from 1950 to 1960, both overseas (Pacific, Europe) and in CONUS. I think it’s probably a good bet that his primary duties were as a musician in a band throughout that period of time. I’m pretty sure if he’d been assigned to the 187th RCT in Korea his 2-1 would have shown that. And he’d have to have been assigned to that unit to… Read more »

James. E.Guillow

Damn give it a break fellows you should know that Military records are like “maybe” the information is there and “maybe” not. Don’t beleive your own records mite have mistakes and errors Its not like he is using his military record to write a book or movie or even run for office. Unless you can be 100% sure the information you received is right don’t throw shit


This is why I hate this website. Maybe someone should have asked this guy before berating him. John Lilyea the guy who runs this website ostracizes everybody else’s records because you know he was hardcore in the “shit” in desert storm for all “72” hours and if you do not agree with his political views you are wrong. Why don’t you do some due diligence before writing an article. This website does put a lot… Read more »


[…] Andre Vergara; another sullied record […]


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[…] 10) Andre “Tuba Steve” Vergara […]


@ 11 Green Thumb,

Band units secondary mission is Military Police.


@20 SGT Ted. Not any more. Bands are there to enhance the “morale and esprit de corps of the Soldiers”. I was fortunate enough to have that job for almost 25 years. i look back fondly on my time and will continue to know I was in the band. Nothing fancy, but I did my job and along the way met some real bad asses. The closest I got to being kind of a bad… Read more »


John wrote: “I’m not certain, but I think the 82d kept all their people on jump status.” That was the goal, but when the 3d Brigade of the 82d Airborne Division was alerted to go to Vietnam following the Tet Offensive, it was discovered that a large percentage of those in the brigade had not been out of Vietnam for long and were not required to return if they did not wish to go. Those… Read more »

SFC Rowe

Here is what I don’t understand… why are these old timers that fake their service or whatever wearing the new blues??? Shouldn’t they be wearing the khaki uniform or the greens from back in the day when they served? They shouldn’t be wearing the new uniform if they aren’t currently serving. There is too much that has changed since their time. I know for a fact that there weren’t any black berets like that when… Read more »

Don Pfeifer

I would not get too hung up on the Korean use of the term, “Medal of Honor”. The Koreans do not have a medal system like the U.S., but uses a system of “Orders” similar to the ones used in Europe. In the Korean hierarchy of awards, the Orders are followed by “Medals of Merit” (which is commonly translated as “Medals of Honor”) which is followed by Commendations (both Presidential and Prime Minister) and at… Read more »


My name is Lynnsey Cox and Andres “Andy” Vergara is my stepdad. I’ve grown up reading many of your articles in the American Legion Burn Pit. In all the years I’ve read the burn pit I never dreamed you would one day write and article completely tearing apart Andy’s service record. Although I do not agree with some aspects you have written, I respect you’re right to freedom of speech and respect you for uncovering… Read more »


He knows how to jump out of a plane.

” Sky-watching spectators began pointing at a blue chute and paratrooper dangling a Puerto Rican flag. US Army veteran Andre Vergara, 82, was the only veteran paratrooper jumping to have fought Nazis.”