1969 — From Iowa to Vietnam
In 1969 I was in college, newly married, and studying to become a teacher. My brother Stan, however, was preparing for a journey that would test his strength and courage in a small country called Vietnam. His decision to join the Army was one he did with honor and pride. I 'm sure he never imagined what lie ahead for him and his family.
My book, With Love Stan: A Soldier's Letters From Vietnam To The World, took two years of my life to write, but 37 years to become reality for me and my family. What started out as a weekend project ended up as a compilation of my brother's letters, photos, recollections of the men who served with him in the 199 Light Infantry Brigade, Charlie Co, 2/3, and reflections of his friends from home who also served in Vietnam.
It wasn't my intention to write a book. My brother's life wasn't that much different from any other nineteen-year-old American that served in Vietnam. His death was recorded in the local newspaper and the Des Moines Register the fall of 1969.His death was like so many other young GIs in the 60s and early 70s, just another casualty of an unpopular war. It was, however, his story, life, and his sacrifice, that I felt should be remembered. Stan was a living, breathing person, a good boy and a bad boy, not just a casualty or grave marker in his hometown cemetery.
I hope my writing gives the reader a look at who Stan was and how his family tried to cope at home. His letters are the writing of a 19-year-old who is trying to cope with the loneliness, fatigue, and fear that surrounds him every day and night during the seven months he spent in the field, in Vietnam.
I wanted to give my brother a voice, to honor him and all the men and women who served so bravely in Vietnam and came home to an ungrateful country.
SGT. Stanley D. Ross, as well as point man Private Benny Jackson, were mortally wounded in a firefight on October 20, 1969.
I hope you'll read Stan's story.
For those who read this and have served, you have my thanks and respect.
Thank you, Karen