Hometown Heroes: James Virgadamo

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:28 AM CDT
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Sulphur, LA (KPLC) - James Virgadamo was 18 years old when he signed up for the Marines in 1959. A few years later, he found himself fighting the North Vietnamese.

“I was fortunate. Had some close calls. It’s an eerie feeling first time you shoot somebody, kill them. You didn’t have much choice.”

Virgadamo has recently been fighting the effects of Agent Orange, a chemical that was sprayed during the war to kill jungle vegetation.

“The bad thing about where we were at, they had a mountain range west of us that went along south Vietnam and Laos. Twice a week we’d see planes when they flew over. They’d cover that mountain up and spray agent orange to kill it off.”

Virgadamo served in the communications division, keeping his unit informed of the enemy’s whereabouts.

“They had these old PRC 8,9 and 10 that you wore on your back. They had an antenna. That let the Vietnamese know where you were at. laughs. A lot of people didn’t like to wear those things.”

He eventually served his tour in Vietnam and retired from the Marines in 1971. James recently celebrated his 80th birthday.

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