The last Vietnam vet on active duty?

Great story by James K. Sanborn in the Marine Corps Times yesterday about Sergeant Major Michael Jarnevic, US Army, about to retire with 42 years in uniform; and service in Vietnam, Honduras, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Is this Green Beret the last Vietnam Vet on active duty?


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  1. Don’t think this guy served on active duty with the Army as he states. Look at his ribbons, not one has any battle stars and in fact all except the MC Good Conduct and Army commendation are ribbons issued to reserve personnel, he also doesn’t display any Nam ribbons and any good Sgt Maj would make sure he display all active duty ribbons with battle stars if he served in combat. Where is his MC Combat Action Ribbon?? I think you research this again and then retract it…
    USMC 55 to 73

    1. Mr. Brown, thanks for your comment. I’m not an expert on ribbons, and being former USAF…certainly not on USMC or US Army awards. However…

      In looking at the comments on the original USMC Times article, I note that several people made similar comments, and the Sgt Major replied:

      “…the Westpac cruise was from May-Oct 1974…let me say that again: 1974. Not 1973–I was in boot camp in 1973. This was the last Westpac cruise of the USS Ranger to SE Asia and was spent off of Yankee Station. No, the Ranger was NOT decomissioned in 1975, they did in fact go on another Westpac cruise to the Indian Ocean in Jan 1976, which is when I was transferred to 7th Marines at Pendleton.”

      “Here are the dates [of my service]:
      *28 Mar 1973 enlisted on the DEP
      * 28 Aug 1973 entered boot camp with Plt 2085, later dropped for pneumonia and picked up by 2096 graduated Dec 1973
      * April 1974 first duty station Mardet USS Ranger at NAS Alemeda
      * May 7, 1974 deployed to SE Asia (Yankee Station off RVN)
      * Oct 1974 returned to NAS Alemeda
      * 30 April 1975 Saigon falls; US embassy evacuated. Two Marines killed in rocket attack. This were the last KIA of US personnel in VN proper.
      * 12-15 May 1975; 18 service members KIA/MIA at the Mayaguez incident in Cambodia. This marked the official end of the SE Asian War.”

      “The VNSM/VNCM were stopped Mar of 1973 and later reinstituted for 29-30 April 1975. Mayaguez participants received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Because we were over there after 1973, we received nothing. Nevertheless, we were there in the combat zone….”

      “I was over there after they stopped issuing the VSM/VNCM and before they issued the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the evacuation of Saigon–in essence we got nothing….”

      There’s much more dialog on all these points between the Sgt Major and detractors. I’ll leave it to you to click back to the original article and review it.

      It is unfortunate that it seems to have turned into a battle of “I’m more of a veteran than you are,” but it also brings to light some interesting dichotomies in “combat” designations, etc.

      1. Thanks, John. It is astounding to me that this whole thing has degenerated into a “slamfest” concerning my service. I never stated anything other than that I had served over there when it was still a combat zone and before Saigon fell. I just had my retirement last week and one of my Marine buddies from MARDET USS Ranger was there for the ceremony and we talked about this. We aren’t saying we are heroes, but that we were merely there. The most unfortunate thing about this whole affair is that DoD could fix this and make VN service straight from 1959-1975, which is what the VN wall shows as VN service. I find it odd that they cut off the VNSM on 28 Mar 1973 (the day I came in) and brought it back for two days of the Saigon evac–why not run it from when the first guys were there clear to the fall of Saigon? Again, thanks for the defense when no one else did….

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