Gary Lucky StephensonCorporal
A CO, 3RD BN, 1ST INF RGT, 11 INF BDE
Army of the United States
15 November 1950 - 12 August 1969
Panel 19W Line 025
The database page for Gary Lucky Stephenson
I keep wondering what you would have become if you had lived.
I miss you brother....
Tom E-mail address is not available.
26 July 2002
The poignant, simple words written to your little brother on his memorial compel me to send this note. I did not know Gary but he is my brother.
I had the privilege of commanding 3rd Platoon Charlie Company 3rd Battalion 1st Infantry 11th Light Infantry Brigade during the Winter/Late Spring of 1968. I was a nineteen and a half year old Army Infantry officer. The greatest job in the world was commanding a rifle platoon. We operated out of LZ Liz in Quang Ngai Province and up into Quang Tin Province. This was Southern I Corps and a very, very nasty place. We were in regular contact with NVA and Main Force Viet Cong.
I was terribly wounded in June of 1968. I was twenty years of age. I spent the ensuing eighteen months getting pieced back together at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. I was retired at the ripe old age of twenty-three due to my wounds. I then went to college, graduate school and law school. I have been married for thirty years to an extraordinary woman. We have been blessed with four above-average children: a daughter (20 and a junior at UCLA) and three sons (15,12 & 6). I have been a career prosecutor for twenty years. We live on a small farm in the heart of the Wine Country about seventy miles North of San Francisco. The Good Lord has been more than generous to me. I am thankful and humbled by it every day.
I lost many, many brothers in The Jungle. Some of them died in my arms. 1968 was the bloodiest year of The War. 16,489 Americans were KIA. I do not know how I managed to make it out. There was no oxygen in The Jungle. We breathed Death. It was everywhere and it dictated everything. The courage, love and sacrifice that took place on a daily basis stuns me to this day. When I look at the face of your brother and all of my other brothers on The Wall, I also ask "What would you have become if you had lived?"
As a group, they were magnificent young men. Were we that young once and did we walk on the edge of a razor blade for so long? Never, never again must we sacrifice our precious youth for half-hearted political folly. I carry Gary and all of my fallen brothers in my heart. It is where they belong. It is where I am closest to them. He is not heavy because he is my brother. Please know that Gary is loved and remembered. I will speak of my brothers and I will honor my brothers. I am so sorry that you have to keep wondering what your little brother would have become if he had lived. I am certain he would have been a wonderful person. I know that when The Good Lord reached out for him, he was with men of honor.
I grew up in Pennsylvania. It is not all that far from Rhode Island. Gary was about a year and a half younger than me. We served in the same Light Infantry Battalion. Your brother probably humped the same mountains and valleys that I did a year before he died. For all of these reasons, I wanted to send this note.
"I have beheld the agonies of War through
James Patrick Casey
Top of Page|
With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009