Oscar Clarence Vigen – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army


Combat Infantryman’s Badge

Oscar Clarence Vigen, 79, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served 18 years as a National Science Foundation budget analyst after his military service, died September 24, 2000 at Fairfax Hospital in Virginia of complications following a stroke.

Colonel Vigen retired from the Army in 1968 after serving in the office of the Army’s chief of research and development. He was chief of operations for the U.S. Antarctic Research Program when he retired from the National Science Foundation.

A resident of Alexandria, Colonel Vigen was born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and began his Army career in 1942. During World War II he participated in combat operations in the Pacific. Later he served with occupation forces in Japan and with combat units in Korea during the Korean War.

Subsequent assignments included duty in Germany and Washington state. He graduated from the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. His military decorations included a Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He was a member of the Military Order of the World Wars and the Retired Officers Association.

Col. Vigen was a vestryman and president of the board of trustees of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon. He had lived in the Washington area for 36 years.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Lois Vigen of Alexandria; five children, Edward of Fairfax, James of Norway, Douglas of Charlotte, William of Herndon and Kristin Vigen Clark of Alexandria; a brother; a sister; and eight grandchildren.


On September 24, 2000. Beloved husband of Lois A. Vigen; loving father of Edward, James, Douglas, William Vigen and Kristin Vigen Clark; brother of Gladys Hallstrom and Melvin Vigen. Adored grandfather of eight. Friends may call at DEMAINE FUNERAL HOME, 520 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA on Monday, October 2 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 9 a.m. at Ft. Myer Chapel with interment to follow at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Donations may be made in his memory to the National WWII Memorial, in memory of LTC Oscar Vigen, USA (Ret.), 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 501, Arlington, VA 22201.

From a contemporary press report:

Oscar Vigen, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, retired, died Sunday, September 24, 2000 at Fairfax (Virginia.) Hospital at the age of 79.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, October 3, at 9 a.m. at Ft. Meyer Chapel. Interment followed at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. A reception was held at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Va. at 11 a.m. Demaine Funeral Home of Alexandria, Va. was in charge of the arrangements.

Oscar Clarence Vigen was born on January 13, 1921 in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, the son of Edward and Martha (Moe) Vigen. He attended school in Pennington county and worked on the family farm. He was active in the local 4-H and as a high school senior won highest honors at the Minnesota State Fair.

When the United States entered World War II, Oscar entered the U.S. Army as a private in July 1942 but was selected for Officers Candidate School (OSC). He graduated from Fort Benning OSC in December of 1942 as a second lieutenant. He served with distinction in the South Pacific with the 27th Infantry Division as a platoon leader, company commander and battalion and regimental supply officer. He participated in the following island campaigns: Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Saipan and Okinawa. His unit was one of the first to enter Japan immediately after its surrender as a member of the Occupation Forces.

At the conclusion of the war, Oscar decided to stay in the service and received a regular Army commission as a captain. Shortly after the war, he met Lois Ander in Seattle, Washington, and they were married on July 22, 1946.

Oscar also saw combat service in the Korean Conflict with the US Eighth Army, serving in the G-F (Logistics). Other duty assignments took him to Germany, Fort Lawton, Washington, and Virginia where he served as Chief of Research and Development, Department of the Army, from 1964 until his retirement in 1968.

He was a 1957 graduate of the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; a 1953 graduate of the officer’s advance course of The Armored School in Fort Knox, Kentucky; and a 1961 graduate of the Army Management School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Oscar retired from active duty on January 31, 1968 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

During his time of service to his country, he was awarded the following commendations: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star for Valor, two Purple Hearts, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Asia-Pacific Combat Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), Meritorious Unit Insignia, Korea Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf clusters and Army General Staff Identification Badge.

Following his retirement, he went to work for the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a budget analyst. He served at the NSF for 18 years, and at the time of his retirement, he was the chief of operations for the U.S. Antarctic Research Program. The NSF honored his achievements by naming a geographical site, “Vigen Cliffs,” in Antarctica for him. He was a member of the Military Order of the World Wars and Retired Officers Association. He was a member of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon, Va., serving as a vestry member for many years as well as past president and board of trustees member. He also served his community as a board member of United Community Services and member of his neighborhood watch organization.

Oscar is survived by his wife, Lois Vigen; four sons, Edward, James, Douglas and William and their spouses; a daughter, Kristen Vigen Clark; eight grandchildren; a sister, Gladys Hallstrom of Red Lake Falls; a brother, Melvin of Irving, Texas; and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Bert Vigen.

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