The Villicano Brothers Legacy of Military Service to the USA
I am dedicated to serving our military and all that serve our nation. This is in loving remembrance of my Father, my four uncles (Dad’s brothers) and all our brave men and women for their heroism. They have been the true heroes and mentors in my life.
God bless you Dad and God bless America.
QUAD VILLICANO / VINNI’S FATHER
Fourth son Quad Villicano (Vinni’s father) KOREAN WAR 25th Division 5152, 31st infantry regiment, 2nd Battalion. The video below (produced by Vinni Villicano) is a brief excerpt of Quad Villicano’s compelling Korean War story. To see Quad Villicano's interview and story in its entirety, click here.
During the Korean War, on 22 April the Chinese launched another offensive along with the North Koreans, again pushing the outnumbered UN forces back. The US ground forces of the 25th Division fell back through successive blocking positions to a line about five miles northeast of Seoul. There the division prepared for another UN offensive, which was launched on 20 May 1951. Quad Villicano and his battalion conducted patrol mission deep beyond the enemy lines in North Korea to obtain intelligence of enemy strongholds and positions. The 25th Division progressed through a series of planned phase lines and battles that later became the 38th Parallel, and captured the “Iron Triangle” town of Kumhwa by the middle of June. Before the negotiated divide between North Korea and South Korean after the war, the 25th Division had fought with determination and strategy to push all the way to the North of North Korea, then was pushed back to south before another vigorous battle that would once again lead to the retake of lost positions of the North. It was this type of resilience combined with the individual eagerness to survive and the cost of freedom of every American soldier that fought in these battlefields of Korea that led to the liberation of today’s free democracy of South Korea. Quad Villicano was drafted into the US Army and completed basic training at Camp Roberts, CA. Quad served 11 months in Korea during the Korean War in the 2nd Battalion Infantry Quad received the highest honorable medal as an Expert Rifleman with the B.A.R (Browning automatic rifle.) His combat unit received a Presidential Unit Citation. He received his first Bronze Star after being on patrol deep into enemy lines where his regiment was mission was to collect strategic information beyond enemy lines. He was injured in combat by, presumably, artillery round. He received a second Bronze Star at the end of the war. When he returned to the States, Quad formed Villicano Custom Enterprises and continued custom farming and raising his family.
JOE VILLICANO/Vinni’s uncle
Oldest son Joe Villicano (Vinni’s uncle). WORLD WAR 2 Battle of The Bulge D-DAY-Tank Gunner & Commander Joe Villicano was drafted and trained by the US Army at Ft. Knox, KY. He served as a tank gunner in the 747 Tank regiment of World War 2 in Germany in the Third Army under General Patton. Towards the end of the war, he was promoted to Tank Commander. In 1944, U.S. General George S. Patton was chomping at the bit to lead the Allied D-Day invasion of German-occupied France. But instead, Dwight D. Eisenhower—then the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe—put Patton in charge of a decoy unit, the First U.S. Army Group. It would be almost seven weeks until Patton, known for his unruly demeanor and tendency toward vulgar speech, would finally get his chance to take the now famous Third Army into battle. When he did, he took the unit on a ten-month rampage across France, through Germany and into Nazi-controlled Czechoslovakia and Austria. Along the way, his Third Army forces entered the Battle of the Bulge, breaking the Siege of Bastogne. It was a turning point in the war, and afterward the Third Army pushed eastward again. Contributing to its success was its truly innovative “armored warfare” fighting style, which avoided entrenched infantry warfare by continuously pushing forward, and it echoed Patton’s hard-charging personality. Joe Villicano was in the 747 Tank division of the Third Army and served in the front line of D-Day during World War 2. He was nominated for a silver star for his heroic efforts.
During the 10-month Battle of the Bulge, Joe Villicano was shot out of five different Sherman tanks fighting against the Nazi German stronghold on D-Day to liberate the allies and survived. Big uncle Joe came home with multiple shrapnel wounds, and a smile with determination to play music and raise his family. Joe loved the farm life, loved to play the violin and was tough as a bear with the gentle loving heart of a teddy bear. Our family called him “Big Joe.” He died from his old wounds twenty years later on the farm.
Moses Villicano / Vinni’s second Uncle
Second born son Moses Villicano. WORLD WAR 2 US ARMY 82nd AIRBORNE Moses Villicano was drafted by the US Army and finished basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia. He served his country in World War 2 with the 82nd Airborne in the Pacific.
With two combat assaults under its belt, the 82nd Airborne Division was now ready for the most ambitious airborne operation of the war so far, as part of Operation Neptune, the invasion of Normandy.
The US airborne units serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II are considered to be among the best-trained and effective forces in the war. Deployed in fewer numbers than was the case across Europe, parachute units such as the famed 11th Airborne Division and the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment operated in harsh terrain, over long distances against a determined enemy in the most extreme situations. These parachute regiments were involved in some of the most significant combat situations in the Pacific, recapturing Corregidor Island, invading the Aleutians and the first troops to arrive in Japan before its surrender. Using detailed maps, an array of photographs and color artwork and organizational tables, Gordon Rottman describes the internal organization, unique weaponry and equipment, training and combat operations of these elite units, highlighting unusual aspects of their service record and the difficulties of dropping onto tiny islands surrounded by freezing seas, completing the Battle Orders examination of the organization and operational deployment of all the US airborne units that fought in the war. Moses Villicano made five paratrooper jumps onto five different islands in combat fighting against the Japanese. He was scheduled for one last jump on mainland Japan but that jump was cancelled after the US B-29s dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war ended, he was stationed in Japan near ‘ground zero’ where the two bombs were dropped. Despite being exposed to radiation fallout, he lived to the ripe old age of 87.
Johnny Villicano / Vinni’s third Uncle
Third born son Johnny Villicano. WORLD WAR 2 US NAVY PILOT USS White Plains aircraft carrier Johnny Villicano volunteered for the US Navy and completed basic training at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, CA.
The USS White Plains anti-aircraft gunners earned their first definite kill on June 17th. Later, VC-4 Avengers successfully torpedoed an enemy transport during a sweep of the island of Rota. Peleliu – 15 to 28 September 1944 In July she supported the Tinian assault. WHITE PLAINS and ten of her sister ships provided a portion of the pre landing bombardment and support for the troops landing on Palaus in mid-September. In October, after repairs at Manus, WHITE PLAINS headed for the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte. Because of the strategic importance of the Philippines which lay athwart their lines of communication with the West Indies, the Japanese chose to oppose the Leyte landings with their surface fleet. They launched their surface counterattack in three distinct phases, intending to disrupt the landing at Leyte. Admiral Halsey’s Third Fleet attacked the Centre Force, heavily damaging one heavy cruiser and sinking one battleship; several other capital ships were damaged. Shortly thereafter Halsey received information that a carrier force lay to the north. He left the Leyte area and steamed northward after Vice Admiral Ozawa’s decoy force of four aircraft carriers and two hybrid carrier-battleships. Meanwhile, to the south at Leyte, RADM Oldendorf’s Seventh Fleet old battleships and support forces in Surigao Strait obliterated VADM Nishimura’s Southern Force Van in a brilliantly successful night action. Mr. Johnny Villicano first served as a machinist mate on the USS White Planes aircraft carrier in World War 2. Later on, during the war, there was a shortage of combat fighter pilots and Jonny was fast-tracked through training and became a combat pilot of the Grummen Hellcat. Hellcats were credited with destroying 5,223 aircraft while in service with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Army. This was more than any other Allied naval aircraft. Postwar, the Hellcat was phased out of frontline service, but remained in service as late as 1954 as a night fighter. Johnny Villicano flew many combat missions over the islands in the Pacific. After the war, he returned to the US and worked on the farm, then became a professional bodybuilder and hair stylist in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tony Villicano/Vinni’s 5th Uncle
Tony Villicano US Army Private First Class 34th Infantry was drafted into the US Army. He completed basic training and a tour in Ft Riley, Kansas. Private First Class Tony Villicano first worked in the arms room maintenance as weapons infantryman, expert rifle and bayonet.
He was then stationed in California and after the Korean War he was shipped to South Korea as part of a peacekeeping mission. After his tour of duty Tony Villicano returned to California and in partnership with Villicano Bros. (The custom farming partnership with Villicano Brothers Custom Farming.) Later on Tony started his own company. Tony Villicano founded Villicano Equipment Co. He traded and refurbished new and antique farm tractors and farm equipment for over 40-years. Tony was one of Vinni’s closest uncles and he enjoyed many pleasurable and mentorship experiences while working with Tony on his farm equipment jobs.
JOHN DAVID (STEVIE) VILLICANO (Vinni’s cousin and the son of Vinni’s Uncle Moses Villicano. "We called him Steve."
VIETNAM WAR US ARMY GREEN BERET 173RD AIRBORNE Brigade “Sky Solders”, 503 INFANTRY, 3rd BITTALION. 1967 to 1971 Presidential Unit Citation for bravery in action. JOHN DAVID (STEVIE) VILLICANO John Villicano finished basic training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and was assigned as the point man (Lead) of Team D in the E-‐Company “Recon” 1 Battalion 503rd Infantry 173rd Airborne Brigade as a Green Beret. Mr. Villicano received 5-day “missions” from Military Intelligence unit about 30-‐miles north of LZ Uplift to capture Vietcong. The lead element of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (“Sky Soldiers”), stationed in Okinawa, departs for South Vietnam. It was the first U.S. Army ground combat unit committed to the war. Combat elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade included the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Battalions, 503rd Infantry; the 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Artillery; Company D, 16th Armor; Troop E, 17th Cavalry; and the 335th Aviation company headquartered at Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon, the Brigade conducted operations to keep communist forces away from the Saigon-Bien Hoa complex. In February 1967, the Brigade conducted a combat parachute jump into a major communist base area to the north of Saigon near the Cambodian border. In November 1967, the Brigade was ordered to the Central Highlands, where they fought a major battle at Dak To against an entrenched North Vietnamese Army regiment on Hill 875. In some of the most brutal fighting of the war, the paratroopers captured the hill on Thanksgiving Day, winning the Presidential Unit Citation for bravery in action. After more than six years on the battlefield, the Brigade was withdrawn from Vietnam in August 1971. During combat service, they suffered 1,606 killed in action and 8,435 wounded in action. Twelve paratroopers of the 173rd won the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery in battle. The Brigade was the first Army Unit sent to the Republic of South Vietnam. During more than 6 years of nearly continuous combat in Vietnam, the Brigade earned 14 campaign streamers and 4 unit citations, 13 Medal of Honor recipients, 137 Distinguished Service Crosses, more than 6,000 Purple Hearts and the only Combat Parachute Assault of the war. Sadly, more than 1,700 names of 173rd Brigade’s soldiers are inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
“God Bless my beloved cousin, John (Stevie) Villicano for his bravery and service as a bad ass Green Beret. He is missed by my family and many friends.”