August 15, 2019

Luján Honors Distinguished Vietnam War Veteran

Santa Fe, N.M. – Yesterday, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, presented a local Vietnam War veteran with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin – a commendation of our nation's lasting thanks to U.S. military veterans who served during the Vietnam War.

At a ceremony in Santa Fe, Congressman Luján presented Naval Petty Officer 3rd Class John "Chris" Abeyta with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to thank and honor Abeyta for his service to the country. 

"Today, I have the pleasure of recognizing one of the most distinguished veterans I know — someone I've respected for years and who epitomizes what it means to be a patriot," said Luján. "John ‘Chris’ Abeyta's valiant service in the United States Navy earned him numerous recognitions – the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Expedition medal. I'm honored to present him with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to further recognize and thank him for his service." 

Wednesday's pinning ceremony was part of a national effort to honor Vietnam-era veteran military service members who were on active duty between November 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975. Commemorative partners have helped communities publicly and individually thank 2.3 million Vietnam Veterans and their families through more than 15,000 ceremonies.

More than 11,000 local, state and national organizations have partnered with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration to honor the 6.4 million living Vietnam veterans.

Abeyta was born in Santa Fe New Mexico on January 24, 1950. Abeyta's family has lived in New Mexico near the Cristo Ray Church for generations. After enlisting, Abeyta served in Vietnam. He was stationed on the U.S.S. John R. Craig ED885. 

In April 1972, Abeyta's ship was attacked while supplying gunfire support to U.S. troops in Vietnam. The U.S.S. John R. Craig was fired upon by Vietnamese enemy forces and nearly sunk due to the heavy fire it took. Due to his valiant service, Abeyta was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Armed Forces Expedition medal for his service in Korea. After he returned from service, Abeyta attended the college of Santa Fe and later transferred to the University of New Mexico.

After college, Abeyta worked at the Santa Fe Community College as a G.E.D. instructor. During his tenure at the Santa Fe Community College, Abeyta served on the Adult Basic Education Board of Directors.

Abeyta has a deep passion for teaching and music. He has taught music at a Juvenile detention center in Santa Fe and has helped start a music group at the local Vet Center. The music group at the Vet Center began four years ago and is still going strong today. Abeyta has six children and one daughter laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe New Mexico. He is the grandfather to 13 grandchildren and the great grandfather to 7 great-grandchildren. 

Press Contact

Adan Serna (202) 225-6190