Richard Vega, born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, entered the Army in 1965. Following Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he began a long and distinguished career providing maintenance service to the line. In his first assignment, with the 1/57th Field Artillery in Okinawa, he worked as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, generator repairman, and vehicle dispatcher. He continued his overseas service with a tour in Korea as mechanic and shop foreman, followed by a tour in northern Thailand as a maintenance contact team leader and motor sergeant.
He returned to the United States in 1969 to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as motor sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 6/82nd Field Artillery. He won recognition as NCO of the quarter and was promoted to staff sergeant. He then served in South Vietnam as a maintenance contact team NCOIC with the 557th Maintenance Company. He decided to leave the Army after completing his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1971, but after a year's break in service, he again enlisted.
Retaining his previous rank of staff sergeant, he was assigned as chief instructor to the 709th Maintenance Battalion in Fort Lewis, Washington, where he trained more than 500 mechanics. Back-to-back tours in Korea came next, with the 702nd Maintenance Battalion in the 2nd Infantry Division and the 595th Maintenance Company in the 19th Support Command. He returned to Fort Lewis, Washington, in 1977, was promoted to sergeant first class, and served as a Repair Control Supervisor in the 9th Infantry Division's 709th Maintenance Battalion.
He next completed the Advanced Noncommissioned Officers' Course at Aberdeen Proving Ground as honor graduate, followed by tours in Korea and Fort Polk, Louisiana, and promotion to Master Sergeant. He now displayed leadership skills equal to his impressive technical expertise, serving as first sergeant for three companies and, following a final promotion, as command sergeant major for an unprecedented nine consecutive years for an area support group, three battalions, and three division support commands. After thirty years of dedicated service, Command Sergeant Major Vega retired in 1996.