Gunnery Sergeant, Pay Grade E-7
Vietnam Era, Cold War
Medals/Awards - Purple Heart, Meritorious Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Vietnamese Service, Good Conduct (3), Certificate of Commendation. Letter of Appreciation, Expert 45 Caliber Military Pistol
Stanley Sosinski, U.S. Marine
Combat History Page - Participated in the following operations: Operation Virginia Ridge, Operation Herkimer Mountain, Operation Utah Mesa, Operation Iroquois Grove, Operation Arlington Canyon, Operation Williams Glade, Operation Georgia Tar and Operation Idaho Canyon
The combat history page is a page in the Marines official record book. This page lists all the combat military operations that the Marine had actually participated in while in the Marine Corps. Each operation is listed with a name and entering their name into a computer one can read the entire operation to it's area, unit, accomplishments. It also included enemy and friendly KIA and WIA.
Military Schools/Classes - 81 mm mortars, Marine NCO School, Unit Embarkation, Basic Warehousing, Warehousing Stall NCO Leadership Course, Recruiting School, Multiple USMC Correspondence Courses
Married: Sandra Smith on his birthday Nov. 10, 1978, in Houston, Texas
Family: Sisters Janice, Phillis, Sandra; nieces Michelle, Catherine, Lisa; great-nephews Nicholas, Carson; great niece Brooklyn.
Stanley Eugene Sosinski was born on Nov. 27, 1948, in Brooks Memorial Hospital. He is the son of Stanley H. and Caroline (Kuhn) Sosinski. The family lived on 20 W. Green St. in Dunkirk. His father was a steel worker for the Allegheny Ludlum Steel Plant and earned his pay as a welder. His mother stayed home and performed the duties of a mother, homemaker and wife.
As all young children find out, at the age of 5 you can no longer stay home and play, so it was off to kindergarten at Dunkirk School 6. Sosinski attended Dunkirk School 6 until his fourth year when his parents sent him to Sacred Heart Catholic School. He attended there until the eighth grade. He went to Cardinal Mindszenty High School for one year and spent the next three years at Dunkirk High School where he graduated in 1966.
While in high school, he landed work at Garden Gate Florist Shop and later he made ice cream at the Dunkirk Ice Cream plant.
On June 10, 1968, he decided to serve his country. He knew the Vietnam War was kicking into full gear with the Tet Offensive in motion so it wouldn't be long before his Uncle Sam would be looking for him.
He recalled going down to join the U.S. Army. When he got there the Army recruiter was out to lunch. He then ran into the Marine recruiter on his way out. The Marine recruiter asked what he wanted. He wasn't going to say anything and then said he was thinking of enlisting. The Marine recruiter basically said sign here and asked him when he wanted to leave.
He went to the famous 13 weeks of hell at the U.S. Marine Corp. Training Depot at Parris Island, S.C.
If a young recruit made it through basic training, he was given the title of a U.S. Marine. A seat on the bus would take him off to the hell hole which transferred him from being a civilian to being part of one of the finest fighting forces in the world. As the new Marines traveled off the island the bus headed north to Jacksonville, N.C. to Camp Lejeune where this new Marine was trained in all light weapons used by Marines. After Camp Lejeune the new marines were sent home for a 30-day leave with orders to West Pack, another name given to Marines headed for Vietnam.
In the Marine Corps of the 1960s it took about 180 days to take a young man fresh out of high school and actually put him a combat unit to engage with hostile forces in Vietnam. This was true for Sosinski.
He hit Vietnam in December and in his first days in the country he participated in combat operations with communist insurgents in defense of the Republic of South Vietnam. About a month in the country, he received a shrapnel wound to the abdomen. He was hospitalized in Da Nang for 30 days which is where he met Jimmy Stewart who was entertaining troops and visiting the wounded.
When he got back to the hospital bed he received all his mail he missed while out on patrols. It took around six hours to read all the mail. One night he recalled looking out of his bunker and saw this small to medium size animal which looked like a dog. When he investigated it more he found out it was a rat. After that he didn't leave any food laying around.
He finished his first tour and decided to do another so he signed up for tour number two. During his second tour, he saw operation after operation. They were mostly search and destroy with the order of the day being body count. It seemed that all that mattered after the firefight, patrols and operations was the body count. The better the body count the better the operation. After his second tour was over he was assigned to Iwakun, Japan to live out his enlistment obligation.
He returned to Dunkirk and bought a small home and intended to settle down. Two years later, he realized civilian and military life were basically the same in some aspects. He decided to revisit a Marine recruiter and see what the corps had to offer.
After he signed the papers, he was off to California for two years and then he got transferred to Okinawa, Japan. That is where he met his wife-to-be. She was the sister of a friend of his that he was stationed with. After corresponding with each other they decided to meet. When they met for the first time he knew she was the one for him. They married on his birthday, a day he claims he could never forget.
From Okinawa he was assigned to recruiter's school. After recruiter's school his assignment was now in the Niagara Falls area where they lived in Lockport. With rank and time he was given his choices of duty so it was next off to Barstow, Calif., after two years. In came orders which were unaccompanied so his wife went back to Houston with her parents and waited for his tour to end. A year later he returned with his 20-plus years and retired from the military.
The Sosinski family decided to retire in Arkansas. It was funny because the state of Arkansas sent them so much more information on their state than the others. They loved what they read and decided to give it a try.
He received a job at the Mountain Hope Hospital and has now been retired from the Marine Corps for 20 years and married to the same woman for 33 years. The couple's long range plan is to both be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
This is the story of a local boy who when it was time felt that it was his duty to serve. To most of us in that era it was our duty, most of us were children of World War II veterans and Korean veterans who all had gone, served, came back and said nothing. Most of us felt we were required to do the same. It was our duty to go do our part, join the military, come home, find a job, get married and raise a family.
No one went in trying to get Purple Hearts or chest full of medals. He went a little further; he did his tour in Vietnam came home and went back for another. Coming back after the second tour one could wonder how much more with the war over in Vietnam winding down could this marine want to achieve?
With Americans returning back from Vietnam the country found itself having more men it now needed, for most coming back meant early outs. Yet for Sosinski, it meant still being part of the U.S. Marine Corp. He served our country for 20 years of his life, seeing combat and the rest of the time preparing for it if it ever came our way.
Stanley Sosinski thank you for serving and welcome home. Marine Stanley Sosinski is our Hero of the Week.