February 18, 1944 (Norwalk, CT) – June 10, 1967; 23 years old
Last local address: 65 Van Zant Street, East Norwalk
Enlisted on October 31, 1963; MOS: 94B20, Food Service Specialist
Tour Start Date: December 1, 1966
Service number: 11432410
9TH INFANTRY DIVISION, 60TH INFANTRY REGIMENT, 2ND BATTALION, HEADQUARTERS AND HEADQUARTERS COMPANY
Casualty Location: Long An, South Vietnam
Awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and the Purple Heart Medal
As told by Joseph W. Callaway Jr. in his book “Mekong First Light: An Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam” (used with permission)
“A cook, SP5 Robert Francis Stevens, whom I knew in Charlie Company, 2nd of the 60th Infantry, in fact from Norwalk, Connecticut, the town adjacent to New Canaan, had volunteered for field duty. I told him to stay a cook, that the work was tough, not glorious, but safe. He used to say if a New Canaan man can do it out on the line, then a Norwalk man should be even better. I couldn’t talk him out of the decision. As a member of Sergeant Marshal’s 2nd Platoon, he was killed in the “bowling alley” on his first patrol, on June 10 1967, when he was shot through the side of his chest by a sniper. He never knew what hit him. He was just walking along in a rice paddy next to a wood line when he was drilled by a VC and fell over dead. It was so arbitrary and final. It seemed that life should have more value than this.”
Posted on vvmf.org on 5/26/2008 by Sandy Maroney, cousin of Robert Stevens
The years have passed since ’67, but the tears still flow. Fond memories of you proudly wearing your Army outfit, the family gatherings, my high school gift from you and the treasured letters you sent me from Nam. You were honored as one of the 612 in Coventry and we all miss you so dearly! Until we see each other in heaven, rest in peace and know you are missed! love, Sandy
From The Norwalk Hour June 12, 1967
A sixth Norwalk serviceman has been killed in action in Vietnam. Army Specialist Fifth Class Robert F. Stevens, son of Mrs. Mary T. DeFeo of 65 Van Zant Street, died in action on Saturday. A telegram from the Secretary of the Army reported that SP5 Stevens was on a combat operation in the Mekong Delta area when he was hit by a Viet Cong sniper. A native of Norwalk, SP5 Stevens had been in the Army since 1963, the year he graduated from Norwalk High School. He had been in Vietnam with the U.S. Engineers for almost two years. Previously he had served in France and Germany for one year each. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his father, Leland Stevens of 22 Summit Avenue; his grandfather, George Tuttle of 51 South Main Street and several aunts and uncles. Funeral arrangements, in charge of Ganung Funeral Home, will be announced. SP5 Stevens is the third Vietnam fatality from Norwalk this year and the sixth since the war began. He is the second Army man; the others having been Marines. The other Army victim was Sergeant William J. Tarsi, killed in 1966. This year, two local Marines – Corporal Michael J. Scanlon and PFC Alexander Wainio – were killed in separate campaigns in the far eastern country. In addition to Sergeant Tarsi, the two Norwalkers killed in 1966, both Marines, were Captain Albert Prevost and William Lilly. Funeral services for PFC Wainio are scheduled to be held this afternoon in Georgetown.
Specialist Stevens is buried in St. John’s Cemetery, Norwalk; Veterans section, Grave 27. Photo by webmaster.