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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall Coming To Coudersport Sept. 13-17

Representatives of local veterans’ service organizations have joined forces with the Potter County Commissioners to bring The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., to Coudersport. 

This special traveling exhibit will be set up at Coudersport Area Recreation Park (CARP) from Thursday evening, Sept. 13, through mid-day Monday, Sept. 17. 

The public is encouraged to attend a brief welcoming ceremony at the courthouse square Thursday at 9:30 am and an opening ceremony at 5 pm Thursday at CARP. The Moving Wall lists the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who were killed in the war. It will be on display 24/7 with guides available to answer questions and help locate names. 

More details on the Moving Wall visit will follow. 

To prepare for this special occasion, I have prepared profiles of each of the nine Potter County men who lost their lives in the Vietnam War and would appreciate your sharing these with your readers.

Paul W. Heimel
Veterans Service Committee

Specialist 4th Class Donald L. Stiles
Panel 47E, Line 41

Donald Laveren Stiles was just 19 years old when he lost his life in service to his country during the Vietnam War.

A native of the Rubbertown section of north Coudersport, he was raised by his grandparents, Edward and Belle Austin Stiles, after his mother Vivian Stiles died when Donnie was less than two years old.

Friends in his childhood neighborhood recall that Stiles was one of the boys who enjoyed playing army. Among the other regulars was his good friend, Bruce Maynard, who also lost his life in the Vietnam War.

Stiles enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17. Following basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., he attended special infantry training in Texas. He married the former Linda Ruggiero. The two had met at Fort Dix.

Soon after the wedding, he was deployed to Vietnam as an atomic demolition munitions specialist, serving with A Battery, 1st Battalion, 7th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division.
Specialist Fourth Class Stiles was killed in action in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam, on April 2, 1968, after taking another soldier’s place on a mission. He suffered wounds from bomb fragments after stepping on a land mine.

His uncle, the late Ted Stiles, recalled, “They gave him a two-week leave. He came home, got married, went back and was killed. My mother and father raised him, and they thought the world of him.”

Ted and his son visited the Moving Wall and found Donald’s name when the exhibit was set up in Smethport several years ago.

“It brought back a lot of memories,” he added.

1 comment :

Sally Tall said...

I remember him when we were little kids. I have always thought of him and how young he was when he passed away. It was very sad.