‘He’s a great man’: Family on mission to fulfill Vietnam veteran’s wish

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CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — The daughter of a Vietnam veteran is on a mission to honor what could be her father’s last wish, to be buried in his Marine Corps dress blues. 

Retired Marine Sergeant Miguel “Mike” Cardenas fought in battles during the Vietnam War.

“He loves his country and loves the Marine Corps brotherhood,” said Cardenas’ daughter, Melissa Regacho. “He was wounded in combat in Vietnam, so that’s what brought him back stateside. He was shot and he almost lost his leg. They were able to save it.”

Regacho says her 73-year-old father is back in the hospital after a long battle with COVID-19, this time in the intensive care unit fighting for his life.

“He’s a great man. He’s the type of person that, you know, if he can help you in any way he can, he would do it. He’d give you the shirt off his back,” Regacho told NewsNation affiliate KTXL.

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She says doctors allowed the family to speak with him over the weekend for what could be the last time before putting him on a ventilator. 

“Basically we were able to say our goodbyes,” she explained.

During that time, Cardenas reiterated to his family what may be his dying wish.

“When he dies (he wants) to be buried in his dress blues and to have the full military funeral and everything,” Regacho said.

She says her father always intended to find the dress blues himself, but he thought he would have more time.

“Now we’re in a situation where we’re scrambling to try and find it,” she explained.

American Veterans First was able to track down those dress blues and are shipping them from Camp Pendleton. The dress blues should arrive within a week.

 “If this is the last thing we can provide for him,” she said. “It means the world to me to be able to do that. “

And even though she’s preparing for the worst, she’s still hoping against all odds her father won’t need those dress blues anytime soon.

“We’re still praying for that miracle but in the event that it doesn’t come, we have to be ready,” Regacho said.

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