Service with distinction

Military Science Department recognizes outstanding soldiers with induction into Hall of Honor

By Jim Patterson

Three Vietnam veterans, including two who received the Purple Heart, were inducted into the Military Science Hall of Honor during ceremonies in February.

Joe Lopez

Joe LopezJoe Lopez was inducted as an associate member for his outstanding service with the Military Science Department. He came to UT Arlington as a chief instructor in 1977. After assignments that included Panama, classified missions in Central and South America, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Mabry, he was reassigned to UT Arlington in 1985. He retired as command sergeant major from the Army and from teaching in 1987 after 32 years of active military duty.

Lopez joined the Army in 1955 with airborne training at Fort Campbell, Ky. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1960, he volunteered for Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C. After serving with the Green Beret in Panama, he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam. On the first, he trained and equipped a company of more than 100 Chinese Nangs and became known as “China Boy.”

Upon graduation from the Sergeant Major Academy at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, he was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Devens, Mass. Following assignments in Central and South America, he served as senior adviser at Camp Mabry for the Texas Army National Guard.

His awards and honors include the Purple Heart, Silver Star for Gallantry, Legion of Merit for Exceptional Military Service, Soldiers Medal for Heroism Not Involving Combat, three Bronze Stars for Valor, Combat Infantryman Badge and Special Forces Tab.

He and his wife, Maria, live in El Paso with their sons Diego and Marco. A third son, Maj. Joe Lopez Jr., commissioned at UT Arlington, is assigned at Fort Carson, Colo.

Don Stevenson

Don StevensonDon Stevenson was a member of the Fourth Army Rifle Team at Arlington State College (now UT Arlington) in 1965. He also served in various staff positions for the Corps of Cadets before receiving a bachelor’s degree in history in 1966.

He was commissioned artillery, received his basic training at Fort Sill, Okla., and was assigned as a forward observer with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky. He was wounded in action in Vietnam and returned to the U.S. for treatment. After recovering, he returned to Vietnam and was assigned to the 321st Field Artillery, where he eventually served as battery commander.

Upon completion of his second overseas tour, he became basic training company commander at Fort Polk, La. He retired from active duty in 1970 as a captain.

After serving in the Army Reserve, Stevenson retired from the Army in 1972. His honors include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Master Jump Badge and Distinguished Flying Cross.

After earning a law degree at Southern Methodist University, he was a founding member and managing partner in a private law firm in Dallas. He served as senior attorney for business operations for Enserch Corp. (formerly Lone Star Gas) and was senior attorney for Texas Oil and Gas. He also was an attorney for Hunt International Resources.

Stevenson went on to serve as a municipal judge in Coppell and Dalworthington Gardens. He has served as a special trial judge for the Dallas County Criminal Court of Appeals and has been the chief municipal judge for the city of Plano since 1997.

He and his wife, Ellen, live in Allen and have a son, Marc, and a daughter, Andi.

Bob Vaughan

Bob VaughanBob Vaughan was a member of the Arlington State College (now UT Arlington) Sam Houston Rifles and was sergeant major of the Corps of Cadets before earning a bachelor’s degree in history in 1962.

He was commissioned infantry, and after completing flight school he was assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, Ga. In 1966 he was deployed to Vietnam and served as an Army aviator with the 1st Aviation Brigade. Upon his return, he was assigned to the Army Aviation Center and School at Fort Rucker, Ala., as an academics and flight instructor.

In 1969 Vaughan returned to Southeast Asia for another combat tour of duty. He transfered from infantry branch to armor branch and received a regular Army commission. He was assigned to attend the Armor Officer Advanced Course at Fort Knox, Ky.

He later attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration and personnel management from Webster University in St. Louis.

Vaughan participated in the planning, training and development of plans for defense and possible conflicts with North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

After more than 24 years of service, he retired from the Army in 1987 as a lieutenant colonel. He then embarked on a career as planning officer with the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management under both Gov. Ann Richards and Gov. George W. Bush. The agency is responsible for managing emergency operations throughout Texas.

Now retired, he and his wife, Jan, live in Plano. Together, they have six children and 14 grandchildren.

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