Swede Vejtasa was born on July 27, 1914, in Paris, Montana. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on September 15, 1937, and was appointed an Aviation Cadet in the U.S. Navy on July 20, 1938. He was designated a Naval Aviator on July 13, 1939, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on August 11, 1939. His first assignment was with Scouting Squadron FIVE (VS-5) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) from August 1939 to May 1942, during which time he was credited with destroying 3 enemy Japanese fighters and damaging 1 while flying an SBD-3 Dauntless dive bomber. Lt Vejtasa then served as an F4F-4 Wildcat pilot with VF-10 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) from May 1942 to May 1943, destroying another 7.25 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 1 probable, for a total of 10.25 destroyed, 1 probable, and 1 damaged during World War II. His next assignment was on the staff of the Commander Fleet Air, West Coast, from May to August 1943, followed by service on the staff of the Commander Fleet Air, Quonset, from August 1943 to October 1944. LCDR Vejtasa served as Commanding Officer of VF-97 from October 1944 to June 1945, and then as Commander of Air Group 44 from June to September 1945. He was Commanding Officer of VF-17 from September 1945 to May 1946, and then attended General Line School at Newport, Rhode Island, from May 1946 to May 1947. His next assignment was as Navigator and Training Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Sicily (CVE-118) from May to November 1947, followed by service as Commanding Officer of VF-10A aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) from November 1947 to January 1949. CDR Vejtasa served as a Navy Liaison Officer at Edwards AFB, California, from January 1949 to January 1951, and then as Air Operations Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex (CV-9) from January 1951 to March 1953, during which time he made two deployments with the carrier in support of the Korean War, from August 1951 to March 1952, and from July 1952 to January 1953. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of Naval Air Facility, Inyokern, China Lake, California, from March to April 1953, followed by service on the staff of the Commander Carrier Division FIVE from April 1953 to July 1956. Capt Vejtasa attended Naval War College from July 1956 to June 1957, and then served as Systems Director for Air Weapons Systems in the Bureau of Ordnance with Headquarters U.S. Navy in the Pentagon from June 1957 to July 1959. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of the ammunition ship USS Firedrake (AE-14) from July 1959 to August 1960, and then on the staff of the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, from August 1960 to October 1962. Capt Vejtasa then served as Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA-64) from October 1962 to November 1963, followed by service as the Head of the Air Strike and Carrier Warfare Branch in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon from November 1963 to July 1965. He served as Commander of Fleet Air, NAS Miramar, California, from July 1965 to June 1968, and then served as Chief of Staff for Headquarters Eleventh Naval District from June 1968 until he retired from the Navy on July 1, 1970. Swede Vejtasa died on January 23, 2013, and his ashes were scattered at sea.
His 3rd Navy Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Navy Cross to Stanley Winfield Vejtasa, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and leader of a Combat Air patrol of four fighters of Fighting Squadron TEN (VF-10), embarked from the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the engagement with enemy Japanese naval and air forces near the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942. As great numbers of enemy dive bombers and Torpedo Planes launched a vicious attack upon his carrier, Lieutenant Vejtasa unhesitatingly challenged and shot down two Japanese dive bombers and then gallantly led his patrol in an attack on a group of enemy Torpedo Planes with such daring aggressiveness that the formation was completely broken and three of the hostile bombers jettisoned their torpedoes as they fled. Lieutenant Vejtasa then personally shot down five of the remaining Japanese planes, making a total of seven enemy aircraft destroyed in a single flight. His superb airmanship and indomitable fighting spirit were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.