KIA July 20, 2010
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA
Marine Cpl. Julio Vargas died July 20, 2010, from wounds sustained by a roadside bomb while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Vargas was on his first tour overseas and only his second day of patrolling when the bomb detonated.
Julio knew from a young age that he wanted to be a police officer and he focused intensely on that goal. He was a Boy Scout and as a teenager, volunteered in the San Fernando Police Department’s Explorer program. After graduating from Sylmar High School, Julio went to a small town in Texas to teach the Gospel for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had always been devout, attending the local Mormon church in Sylmar as a child. That was how he got to know his future wife, Rosa. “He was vibrant,” she said. “He was one of those people who when they walked into a room, you could feel the energy rise.” Julio grew up in Sylmar, the son of parents who had emigrated from Mexico. His mother, Enedelia, is a food service worker at St. Joseph’s Hospital; his father, Agustin, is retired. Julio and his wife, Rosa, married in December 2009, bought a house near Camp Pendleton and were looking forward to starting a family. Before Julio deployed to Afghanistan, he had asked his father, “Are you ready to be a grandfather?” In addition to his wife and parents, Julio Vargas is survived by two brothers – identical twin, Agustin, and younger brother, Ulises.
“He was a real-life hero, one of our nation’s bravest individuals, and his service and sacrifice in the name of freedom will not be forgotten,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.
Vargas’ personal service awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Cpl. Julio Vargas was 23 years old from Sylmar, California
Original portrait was presented November 14, 2014 during a special event hosted by Fleetwood-Fibre Packaging on board the Queen Mary Museum in Los Angeles, CA
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