Robert Lee Stanek

United States Marine Corps
06 July 1946 - 04 February 1968
Milan, Tennessee
Panel 37E Line 028


Robert L Stanek

Purple Heart, Navy Achievement w/ V, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Lee Stanek

11 Jan 1999

Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago; sometimes it seems like yesterday - it's been thirty years since Bob was killed.

You would have liked him. He had a rapport with young and old alike. He was from a close-knit family and learned, by example, to be an honest and caring person. He loved to ride his motorcycle, play his guitar and was an amazing artist. The little kids in the neighborhood followed him like the Pied Piper. He enjoyed teaching them to play baseball and fly model planes. Of course, that also gave him an excuse to be a kid.

He was my first love. He would have made a good life-partner, but we only had six months of married life before he left for Vietnam. He would have made a terrific dad, but there wasn't time for that either. He didn't want to go to Vietnam, but he believed in serving his country. His letters never spoke of what he was going through, only about our future. I am so proud of him and his sacrifice. He has been my Guardian Angel all these years. His presence helped me through the darkest of times. I thank him for being there for me when I really needed him.

I would also like to thank Ed, my wonderful husband of twenty-eight years for being so understanding and supportive of this special part of my life. It is with his encouragement that I am writing these thoughts.

The following letter was sent to me by someone I have never met - which somehow makes it even more special. I hope Tim doesn't mind that I'm sharing it, but I have no way of asking his permission after all these years. His heart-felt tribute to my former husband means more to me than I can ever express.

I would love to get in contact with Tim again or anyone else who knew Bob.

Judy Gurr

10 July 1968

Dear Mrs. Stanek,

I shouldn't have waited so long to write this letter. I feel it is ill timed and will only serve to bring you sadness. Earlier it might have been more appropriate, and in better taste. Nevertheless, it's been on my mind for some time now, and it's best that I say what I have to say, then leave you alone.

I served in Viet Nam with Bob, and over the course of the months we got to be pretty good friends. Over there it's the only thing you have that's of any real value. From this friendship grew a respect and admiration that did not end with his passing. I still possess it today, and so does everyone else who served with him or had close contact with him. This alone is perhaps the finest tribute that we can pay to his memory.

I know nothing will ever compensate for your husband's loss, but I thought that maybe this one small fact would give you some idea of how we, his comrades, felt about him.

Tim Haney

I would love to hear from anyone else who knew Bob.

Judy Gurr

27 Nov 2003

Robert L. Stanek lived in Mokena, Illinois, for eleven years in the late 1950s and early 1960s. An effort is underway in Mokena to co-name a major, four lane street in the Village of Mokena, Will County, Illinois, in memory of Cpl Robert L. Stanek. A proposal has been submitted to the Will County government to implement the co-naming. Local support and endorsement for the effort is growing. The Village of Mokena and local veterans' organizations have endorsed the proposal and it is expected to pass Will County government in the future. Following is the proposal for the conaning of 191st Street "Robert Stanek Memorial Drive":

Robert Stanek Memorial Drive

To The Will County Board: Herein is a proposal to the Will County Board regarding a past Will County and Mokena area resident, and a local hero. A local hero, that has not yet received due honor and recognition here in Will County and Mokena for his service and his sacrifice. Recognition of this hometown hero is long overdue.

This proposal involves honoring and remembering Corporal Robert Lee Stanek. Robert Stanek was a Will County/Mokena area resident in the early 1960's. He was a promising and talented young man. He was energetic, creative, well liked and patriotic. He was a family man, with two brothers and a sister, and loving and supportive parents. He was married to Judy Gurr, however he and Judy did not have the opportunity to complete their "family Life" together. He was an "all American" that stepped up to the plate and offered his youth, strength, determination and courage to ensure democracy, freedom and peace throughout the world. In 1965 he volunteered to serve his country in the United States Marine Corps.

On February 4, 1968, Robert Stanek lost his life on a battlefield in Thua Thien province, South Vietnam, while serving as a squad leader with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was just 21 years old. Robert Stanek was the only Mokena area resident to have lost his life in the Vietnam War. Robert deserves honor, recognition and remembrance in Mokena. In cities and towns across the country memorials and remembrances can be found honoring local military veterans. We must do the same in Mokena. This proposal requests a resolution from the Will County Board to co-name 191st Street in Mokena as "Robert Stanek Memorial Drive", and to provide memorial street signs as well. Appropriate because this is the street on which he and his family lived for eleven years in the 1950's and 60's.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Will County Board, the citizens of Mokena have a responsibility and obligation to recognize this decorated war hero. "Robert Stanek Memorial Drive" will provide the means by which the citizens of Mokena and Will County, as well as others, can remember, respect and honor him. Robert Stanek is a true hero because he died with valor while serving his country. We must honor him and his sacrifice. "Robert Stanek Memorial Drive" would be a great memorial and a source of pride for the people of Mokena and Will County.

Hopefully you will agree that honoring Robert Stanek is necessary and is long overdue.

Thank You,
Kenneth Moses

Corporal Robert Lee Stanek, USMC
Awards and Decorations

Purple Heart Medal
Navy Achievement Medal w/ Valor
Presidential Unit Commendation w/ Bronze Star
Combat Action Ribbon
RVN Meritorious Unit Citation w/ Palm
RVN Cross of Gallantry Medal w/ Palm
RVN Civil Actions Meritorious Unit Commendation
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 Bronze stars
RVN Campaign Medal
Vietnam Commemorative Medal

Placed by a friend and comrade,
Kenneth Moses

28 Jun 2004

I would be Bobby's stepmother, and I am writing for his dad, Jim. Bob was killed on 2-4-68. His mother passed away 10 years later. She died of cancer, and probably a broken heart. We were married a year later and have been married for 26 years. Bobby, and his mother, have never been forgotten. He was a very good son. He loved little children and was an outstanding artist. We look at some of his drawings and just can hardly believe that he was so good at it. When we watch war movies on TV there are always tears, but we are proud that he served his country.

He was an honor to our family.

From his father,
James Stanek, Sr.
6028 Belew Dr, Milan, Tn. 38358

19 Jul 2004

The co-naming of 191st Street in Mokena, Illinois, as "Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive" is now a reality. Street signs have been installed and a formal dedication ceremony took place on Memorial Day, 2004. The dedication ceremony was a grand event. An estimated 500+ people, including many local government dignitaries, Stanek and Gurr family members, VFW, American Legion, US Marine Corps, Lincoln-Way Central High School Band, and numerous local and regional citizens attended the ceremony. The dedication master of ceremony was Mr. Vince DiFiore, Frankfort Township Trustee. Dedication speakers included Robert's brother Mr. James Stanek Jr.; Mayor of Mokena Mr. Robert Chiszar; Frankfort Township Supervisor Mr. James Moustis; Will County Executive Mr. Joseph Mikan; and Will County Sheriff Mr. Paul Kaupas. The VFW, American Legion and US Marine Corps provided color guards. A 21 Gun Salute, by the American Legion and Taps by the US Marine Corps also took place. Most honored participants were Robert's father, Mr. James Stanek Sr from Milan, Tennessee, and his widow Mrs. Judy Gurr from West Palm Beach, Florida. A dedication reception at a local banquet hall for dedication participants, dignitaries and family members followed the dedication ceremony. The entire event was a great success and truly memorialized and celebrated Robert L. Stanek's heroism and sacrifice, for freedom and the United States of America.

From a comrade and friend,
Kenneth Moses

22 July 2004

Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive -
thoughts from a grateful family

It had been six years in the making and then suddenly the dedication was upon us. Every detail was attended to. This was the mission of Ken Moses to honor his friend and comrade and he was determined to see it through. It could not have been more perfect.

The sign read "Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive" and our family could hardly believe our eyes as we pulled onto the main street of Mokena, IL after traveling by motor home for two days from Florida. Bob had earned his place in history. The signs would be there long after all of us are gone. And we owed it all to Ken Moses' vision. We all came to realize just how strong the bond is between Marines. It didn't matter that 36 years had gone by since they were both in Vietnam.

If Ken ever wondered, even for a moment, if Bob's family and friends still cared enough to want him honored in this way, he saw for himself at the dedication. From Bob's 85 year old father who is not fond of traveling anymore, coming from Tennessee - to Bob's nephew, Drew, who was not born when Bob died, having his uncle's dog tags tattooed on his arm. My whole family traveled from Florida. During the ceremony all war veterans were honored. My 81 year old dad was proud to stand for W.W.II and Bob's cousin, Marv, struggled to stand up from his wheelchair for Korea. Bob's brother, Jim, took on the emotional task of speaking for the family. He did a great job. Bob was my first husband and I was asked to bring the flag that draped his casket at his funeral. The flag was refolded and re-presented to me after a 21 Gun Salute and Taps was played. Thank God my husband, Ed, was there to hold me together because it felt like we were transported back to 1968. I am very fortunate to have such a supportive husband.

Throughout the dedication ceremony Ken Moses stood back and let everyone else have the spotlight. The family had made sure that the speakers acknowledged and thanked Ken from a grateful family, but we all felt that it was just not enough. Ever since I knew that the dedication of Robert L. Stanek Memorial Drive would be happening, I have pictured Bob PHYSICALLY saluting Ken Moses and saying "Semper Fi". I felt the day would not be complete until that was done. At the restaurant after the ceremony, I asked a Marine who had participated in the day's events if he would salute Ken for Bob. He responded that he would be honored. I thought I had remembered what a salute looked like, but apparently I had never seen one that represented such deep respect. The Marine asked Ken Moses to stand. We all watched, in awe, as the Marine stood at attention and looked Ken straight in the eyes. Then, in slow motion, he raised his arm until the salute was complete. We all had a lump in our throats. Everyone that experienced it will remember it forever.

Judy Stanek Gurr

Tribute to Ken Moses

Ken lost his courageous battle with cancer on February 24, 2006. He was diagnosed not long after the dedication of Robert Stanek Memorial Drive. Nothing is fair about this wonderful man losing his life, but we are all grateful that at least he was able to see all his hard work come to fruition. When Ken's wife, Irene, contacted me with the sad news of his passing, one of my first thoughts was that Ken had given about six years of the last eight years of his life working toward honoring my husband. The bond between Marines is stronger than anyone who is not a Marine could possibly understand.

Ken's attention to every detail was so evident at the dedication ceremony for Robert Stanek Memorial Drive. Irene saw that Ken was honored at his funeral with a military ceremony just like she knew he would want and that he so richly deserved. Ken Moses will always be our hero. And we send our thoughts and prayers to his devoted family.

Judy Gurr

24 Oct 2004

I am Bobby's sister Cindy. Since the day my brother was recognized for his bravery at the memorial service, I have been so overwhelmed with all of it. I loved him so much and there is not a day goes by that I don't think of him.

In the town that my father was transferred to when Bobby was a junior in high school, Bobby was also honored with a memorial head stone to be placed at a basketball court behind the junior high school. Instead of flowers my mother asked for donations to help build this, because of the love he had for children. Since then a new school has been built. Since the school has moved I felt like my brother's memorial should go with it.

So I proceeded on a mission to have it moved. I called the man he was with in basic training, Charles Vlink, and asked him if something could be done. I got a call today, 7-30-04, telling me they had moved it to the Milan City Memorial Park where there is a monument for all the fallen soldiers who lost their lives in different wars. This took me by surprise how quick this took place and I'm grateful for all the things that have been done for him in his memory. He will never be forgotten.

I love you Bob,

Your sister, Cindy

Cindy Stanek Johnson
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Bravo 1/5 Marines lost three men on 4 Feb 1968; two were killed in action and one, Cpl Roderick, died of wounds. The Virtual Wall is uncertain if Cpl Roderick was wounded earlier or in the same action.
  • Cpl Ronald Roderick, Taunton, MA
  • Cpl Robert L. Stanek, Milan, TN
  • LCpl Charles E. Richards, Stamford, CT

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Jan 1999
Last updated 08/10/2009