This was my third Midway American Patriot Award Gala, and once again I felt the pride and admiration for my fellow Americans. Every year the gala reminds me of our commitment to defending our constitution, and the immeasurable sacrifices so many before me have made. I am forever grateful.

This year’s honorees were retired Marine Corps Colonels Robert J. Modrzejewski and Jay Vargas. Both are Medal of Honor recipients.

For Jay, he was destined for the Marine Corp, following the footsteps of his three brothers. Although his mother encouraged him to join the Navy, where she said they “sleep on fluffy pillows.” 

Bob tried his hand at teaching while in college but that lasted only a few months before signing up to be a Marine. 

Both went on to have highly distinguished and decorated careers, and for courageous and life-saving actions in Vietnam, were presented with the Medal of Honor. 

During the gala, they were surrounded by fellow Marines, both veterans and in uniform. This year is the 100th anniversary of training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), San Diego, and the Midway celebrated this incredible milestone along with the many local civic leaders. Brig. Gen. James Ryans, the commanding general of MCRD, spoke about the importance of training and the level of commitment it takes to be a Marine. It was another beautiful night on Midway’s flight deck, honoring two great American patriots, surrounded by the excellence that is the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fidelis,

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