Victor Apodaca was born on May 31, 1937, in Denver, Colorado. He attended the University of Colorado from September 1955 to June 1957, and entered the U.S. Air Force Academy in July 1957, graduating with a commission as a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force on June 7, 1961. Lt Apodaca completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Craig AFB, Alabama, in August 1962, and then attended Pilot Instructor Training from August 1962 to January 1963. His first assignment was as an Instructor Pilot with the 3641st Pilot Training Squadron at Laredo AFB, Texas, from January 1963 to January 1966, followed by service as Chief of the Simulator Training Branch with Headquarters 3640th Pilot Training Wing at Laredo AFB from January to October 1966. After completing F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training, Capt Apodaca began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia with the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at DaNang AB, South Vietnam, in May 1967. He went Missing in Action while flying a combat mission over North Vietnam on June 8, 1967, and was declared dead on November 15, 1973. During the time he was listed as MIA, he was promoted to the rank of Major. His remains were returned to the U.S. in 1989 and he was buried at the U.S. Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
Captain Victor J. Apodaca Jr. distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an F4C Aircraft Commander in Southeast Asia on 30 May 1967. On that date, Captain Apodaca suppressed a hostile force that were engaging friendly troops. Undaunted by the heavy automatic weapons fire, Captain Apodaca made repeated passes on the hostile position. As a result of his aerial skill, heavy damage and many casualties were inflicted upon the hostile force. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Apodaca reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.