UNION CITY, Ind. – Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7084 in Union City, Ind., hosted the Jonathan L. Stoops Remembrance Ceremony and “Welcome Home/Thank You” Vietnam Veterans Dinner this past Tuesday evening.
Guests gathered to remember PFC Jonathan Lynn Stoops, for whom the post is named and who was fatally wounded in action June 6, 1968, in Quang Tri province, at the age of 20. Circumstances of the casualty were attributed to: “Died through hostile action… air crash on land”
Serving in Vietnam from 1967-68, with the III MEF/3rd Marine Division, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, H S Company, he was born Jan. 26, 1948, to Lyle W. and R. Vivian Stoops, who died in 1991 and 1994, respectively.
Stoops was a graduate of the Class of 1966, Union City Community High School, and is well remembered by his friends and classmates. Approximately 20 classmates attended the remembrance.
At St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Hetty Scofield, a classmate, placed a wreath on his grave. Robert Durbin, the incoming commander of the VFW, gave opening remarks, and Fr. Peter Logsdon of St. Mary’s Church, read a passage from the book of Wisdom and led in prayer.
“This war broke this country apart and brought out the worst in some people and the best in some people,” Logsdon said. “We lost part of ourselves in the war and we need to remember to bring people back together.”
Returning to the VFW excerpts from a story Don Corbin wrote on Stoops was read and fellow Marine John Holguin spoke and Fred Owens and Holguin presented the VFW with a charcoal drawing of the trio.
“Here we were one kid from New Mexico, one from Canada and the other one from Indiana,” said Holguin. “Jonathan was more laid back and mellow than we were. He was in the prime of his life. He was very thoughtful. He was older than both of us; we were louder. It was an honor to serve with Jonathan. Fred and I have continued our brotherhood.”
Classmate Joe Wood, who enlisted in the Marines with Stoops on the buddy system Nov. 27, 1967, remarked, “He was my best friend. In high school, he wanted to go into the Marine Corps and talked me into it. After we got to Vietnam, he went one way and I the other.”
“He was a sweet, nice guy…a really nice kid,” said classmate Karen (Fuller) Carpenter. “We all loved him.”
Jorge Ortiz, spokesperson for the State of Indiana also spoke as did Randolph County Veterans Service Officer Mike Kennedy.
Members of the Stoops family attending were Jonathan’s only living brother, Mark, who now lives in Fremont, Ind.; wife Nanette; sons Kyle and Jay; daughter-in-law Michelle; and granddaughter Kinley.
“This has been overwhelming,” Mark said. “Jonathan was a terrific and caring brother. He would obviously do anything for me and I was eight years younger. When you’re 12, you don’t comprehend the gravity of the situation.”
A free dinner and drinks followed.
PHOTO CAPTION: Attending the remembrance ceremony for PFC Jonathon Stoops were, from left to right, John Holguin, Stoops’ brother Mark, Fred Owens and Joe Wood. Wood was Jonathan’s best friend in high school and Holguin and Owens served with him in Vietnam. (Linda Moody (photo)