Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

William C Stacey

Redding, California

January 31, 2012

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
23 Marine Sgt

2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Camp Pendleton, California

 Killed while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

From KOMO News komonews.com 02/01/12:

'We're going to miss him. A lot of people are going to miss him'
By John Discepolo Published: Feb 1, 2012 at 11:23 PM PST
SEATTLE -- The father of a Seattle Marine killed in combat said his son's ultimate sacrifice will allow others to "come home."

Sgt. William Stacey was on foot patrol Tuesday in Afghanistan when an enemy explosive device went off, killing the 23-year-old.

William's father, Robert Stacey, described his son as a born leader with wisdom beyond his years. He said it was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that inspired William to protect his country.

"He was the guy who did what the team needed him to do," Robert said.

William grew up in Seattle, where he played baseball and eventually left to attend Shasta College in Redding, California.

Despite his love of baseball, Robert said William always wanted to be part of a bigger team.

"He'd always been interested in military things ever since he was very, very small. But he saw 9-11 as an attack on the country," Robert said. "And he believed that by serving in the Marines he could help defend the country."

William entered the Marines in early 2007 and was deployed five times, with four of the deployments in Afghanistan.

"He jumped at the chance to do the training of the Afghan army and police. He saw that as a really important step to handing over defense of the country to the Afghans," Robert said.

That important step would be his last, and while his death is saddening, his father said his son's efforts to save other marines is something that will never be forgotten.

"We were very proud of him, and he'd come to be quietly proud of himself, and boy he had every right to be," he said. "We're going to miss him. A lot of people are going to miss him."

From  The Seattle Times seattletimes.nwsource.com 02/02/12:

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - Page updated at 08:30 a.m.
Seattle Marine killed Jan. 31 in Afghanistan made his mark 
By Erik Lacitis 
Seattle Times staff reporter

On Tuesday morning at 7:30, Bob Stacey was heading out the door of his Roosevelt home to take his daughter, Anna, 16, to school and then head off to work.

He is the interim dean of the University of Washington's College of Arts and Sciences and a history professor.

"She was the first one to see them, and she just said, "Oh, no. Oh, no.' " remembers the father.

Across the street, getting out of the car, were two U.S. Marines in full uniform.

No words needed to be said.

"We both knew," says Stacey.

On Jan. 31, Sgt. William C. Stacey, 23, on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, was on foot patrol when he was killed by one of those infamous improvised explosive devices, his dad says the Marines told him.

It happened near the town of Now Zad, yet another place that news stories describe as a "contested" region.

Will Stacey was the 399th resident from this state killed (mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan) since the "war on terror" began following Sept. 11, 2001.

Bob Stacey is married to Robin Stacey, also a UW history professor. That morning, she already was teaching a class.

"I waited until she finished and then went down and brought her back home," says Stacey. The two Marines waited. Will and Anna were the couple's only children.

Stacey says it is important to his family to let those reading this know that his son was part of the Marines family.

He used words many other parents of fallen soldiers have at such a time.

"Will believed this was the right thing to do, that it was the great challenge of his generation," said Stacey. "He saw himself as helping to defend his country and trying to make life better for the Afghan people."

Stacey's sister, in an email, wrote that her brother "was just one of those people who could take the most serious occurrence in the world and crack a joke. I don't think there will ever be anybody who could put a bigger smile on my face than he could."

"... It touches me to hear all of these things about him as a Marine, but what touches me even more is everybody's memories of who he was when he was home, when he was just Will. That's how I want to remember him; I never want to forget everything that he's done for this country, but most of all I never want to forget his infectious laugh, smile and sarcastic humor. He may not have been blessed with a long life, but boy did he live the one he got to the fullest."

Will Stacey was profiled in an online publication called thefastertimes.com in a Nov. 30, 2011, story called, "Line in the sand: An Afghan firefight, firsthand."

The writer, Lawrence Dabney, described the beginning of a typical mission: "We were rambling down the pass from the Bedouin's tents when the first bullets winged by overhead. Long, drawn-out whistling sounds, almost musical, nothing like the zip I'd heard in flicks. ... "

This week, after learning of Sgt. Stacey's death, Dabney again wrote about him:

"He commanded the squad I was embedded with when I ended up in my first firefight, and it was plainer than anything that he kept the men under his command alive. ... He is the sort of man you would want commanding your troops, analyzing a million pieces of data to save a few extra lives. ...

"He helped turn Now Zad from a scarred hell to a place where hundreds of children can walk to school every day. He brought sanity and compassion to a place sorely in need of both. ... "

Will Stacey was a 2006 Roosevelt High School graduate. His dad said he struggled in school and decided to join the Marines. He began serving in January 2007 and blossomed in the military.

In January 2011, he signed up for another four-year hitch.

His son was weeks away from returning to Camp Pendleton, his overseas deployments over, and spending his last three years as an instructor, perhaps as a drill sergeant or infantry instructor, says the dad.

The son also talked about eventually going to college and studying history.

"He could have done a lot of things," his father said.

On Tuesday morning, another person Stacey called immediately with the grim news was Kimmy Kirkwood, 23, a graphic designer in Santa Monica, Calif. She had known Will Stacey since high school and was his girlfriend.

The young couple had all kinds of plans for the future, she says.

One of them was to go to the Marine Corps Ball at Camp Pendleton to be held in April for those who were deployed and couldn't make the traditional Nov. 10 ball.

"We had never been to the ball. He sent me money to buy a dress," says Kirkwood.

The young woman was tearful. She says she knows other girlfriends and spouses of Marines. They all know what could happen, she says. "But you never actually think it's going to happen to you."

Sgt. Stacey was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart. He was with the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.

Members of his family say they are still figuring out a local memorial service. However, as Sgt. Stacey wished, he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wrote his sister, Anna: "In just 23 years, he loved so many people, and so many people loved him, and I know that if in my lifetime I can touch just a fraction of the people that he touched, I will have lived a good life."

From KCRA TV 3  kcra.com 02/01/12:

Redding Marine Dies In Afghanistan
Sgt. William C. Stacey Was 23
POSTED: 3:23 pm PST February 1, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) -- A 23-year-old Redding Marine was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan.
Sgt. William C. Stacey died in combat operations in the Helmand province.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, in Camp Pendleton, Calif., the Department of Defense said in a news release.

From ABC News abcnews.com 02/03/12:


Fallen Marine’s Last Words: ‘It Was All Worth it’
By Alexandra Ludka
Feb 3, 2012 2:11pm
Sgt. William Stacey joined the Marines in January 2007, completing a total of five deployments. He was scheduled to return home from his final deployment in Afghanistan this spring.
But Stacey was tragically killed Jan. 31. He was on foot patrol when an enemy explosive device went off and took the life of a soldier who was just months away from returning home.
“None of us who love him know how to measure the vastness of this pain,” his mother, Robin, said in an email to ABC News. “He is but one of a number of men and women who have risked and sometimes lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, just as we are but one of thousands of families whose hearts are breaking today.”
To see photos of Sgt. William Stacey and his loved ones, click here
Stacey’s family found a letter he had written in case he died serving his country, perhaps hoping to ease some of their pain.
The letter, which was published in the Seattle Times, shows a glimpse of the selflessness of the fallen hero.
“My death did not change the world; it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all,” he wrote. “But there is greater meaning to it.”
He wrote of the children of the world who he hoped would one day know freedom.
“Perhaps I did not change the world. Perhaps there is still injustice in the world. But there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the new schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader’s henchmen are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long. If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all worth it.”
“We are very proud of him. He’d come to be quietly proud of himself, and he had every right to be,” Stacey’s father, Bob, told KOMO News. “We’re going to miss him. A lot of people are going to miss him.”

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