Stanley John Kopcinski

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
20 August 1946 - 14 May 1966
Bayonne, New Jersey
Panel 07E Line 059



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Stanley John Kopcinski

18 Nov 2001

Lance Corporal Stanley John Kopcinski

Stanley J. Kopcinski was born August 20, 1946 and lived in Bayonne, NJ. After graduating from Bayonne Technical High School, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1964. He was a member the 1st Battalion 1st Marines and later transferred to the 9th Marines where he attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCpl).

On May 14, 1966 at the age of 19, Kopcinski was killed in action by a command-detonated mine near Da Nang in South Vietnam, Quang Nam Province. He was the first Bayonne soldier to die on the battlefields of South Vietnam, according to the Bayonne Times, May 17, 1966.

"He was such a quiet boy. When he was going to high school he had a part time job as a milkman, and used to get up early in the morning before going to school. He was just a young boy. It's a shame - to give up his life for that, I'm sorry to say. So young, so young. Why? I can't understand it."

Quote from Mrs. Richard Kuhn, Aunt
Jersey Observer, May 17, 1966

Stanley John Kopcinski, was born on August 20, 1946 and was killed in action in Vietnam on May 14, 1966. Stan attended Samuel E Roberson No. 7 school and graduated in 1960. He graduated from Bayonne High School Tech Division in 1964.

Growing up in the 19th Street area of Bayonne, Stan was very active in all street sports that we all took part in during the late 50's and early 60's. This includes playing stickball, basketball, touch football, etc. Stan seemed to excel in all these sports and was known as a better than average player.

Stan loved sports and also played in the little league as a youngster for Triple A Sport Shop along with playing in the touch football league with a team call the Comets.

While playing with the Comets, Stan was the quarterback and usually did a fine job throwing passes and bringing the team to victory. Stan was the type of kid growing up that did not look for a fight but could handle imself pretty well if the need arose. He went on to prove this during the early 60's by joining the PAL boxing team and fighting in the Golden Gloves.

Upon graduation from Bayonne High School in 1964 and knowing what patriotism is all about, Stan decided to do his part and joined the US Marine Corps. While in boot camp at Parris Island, Kopcinski scored the highest for his platoon as a rifle expert.

The following is an article that was written by a fellow Marine Frank Keefer who served with Stan during training and in Vietnam and was his close friend. This article was put into a Purple Heart Recipients book.

     "An affable, happy-go-lucky guy who always had a smile on his face and was never known to say an unkind word about anyone, "Kop" was everyone's best friend and the most loved man in his unit. Sometimes he was known as "Canvas Back" because of his Golden Gloves boxing experiences.
     "Kop's courage earned him "most likely to receive the Medal of Honor" accolades voted by his buddies when his unit, the famous 1st Battalion, 1st Marines (Guadalcanal, Chosin Reservoir), mounted out to be the first American combat unit sent to Vietnam.
     "Transferred to the 9th Marines during his combat tour, he was killed by a command-detonated mine on May 14, 1966, along with several members of his original unit, PFC Joseph Emmet Lilley, Mobile, Alabama, and PFC George Jacob Mack Cranston, Rhode Island, whose identical twin brother was wounded in action while serving with 1/1 in September 1965. PFC Golio and Lanham from 1/1 were wounded in that action. Only one of the original members, Gary Cooper of Philadelphia, was unhurt."

Stan was the first serviceman killed from Bayonne during the Vietnam War. He is buried in a cemetery in North Arlington, NJ. His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Holmdel, NJ, and the Bayonne Vietnam Memorial in Bayonne, NJ. The Marine Corps League of Bayonne gives an award out each year on Memorial Day in Kopcinski's name.

A memorial from his best friend,
Joseph Kochanski

04 Mar 2006

Stanley John Kopcinski

We lost 30 men from the city of Bayonne in Vietnam. My best friend Stan was the first one killed. He was a good friend and was proud to be a Marine. Each year on Memorial Day the L/Cpl Stanley J Kopcinski Award is given in his honor. Rest in Peace, brother.

From his best friend,
Joe Kochanski
Bayonne, New Jersey

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 3/9 Command Chronology for May 1966 contains the following entry:
14 May: Co "L" detonated M-16A1 mine vic AT 880505 resulting in (3) USMC KIA, (1) USMC DOW, and (9) USMC WIA.
The four men who died were assigned to H&S Company but were in the field with Lima 3/9. They were
  • LCpl Michael C. Darcy, Colton, CA;
  • LCpl Stanley J. Kopcinski, Bayonne, NJ (DoW);
  • Pfc Joseph E. Lilley, Mobile, AL; and
  • Pfc George J. Mack, Cranston, RI.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his best friend,
Joseph Kochanski
Bayonne, New Jersey
18 Nov 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 03/12/2006