Not forgotten: Brothers serve in Vietnam, die years apart
Edward Stiger was born on May 2, 1948. He was less than a year apart from his younger brother, Greg, who was born on April 12, 1949. The two brothers were very close growing up and both enlisted in the military after graduating from high school. Greg went into the U.S. Army and Edward enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Both were given orders and sent to Vietnam.
From Waverly, New York, the Stiger brothers were raised by their father, a WWII U.S. Army veteran. Their mother died when they were very young. Both excelled in sports and school, and were very popular in their small town, according to a biography written for Edward.
Greg served as a Pfc. in the U.S. Army and began his tour in Vietnam on October 17, 1968. Sadly, he would never make it home.
Greg was killed a little over a month later on November 13, 1968 by hostile fire in the Pleiku Province of South Vietnam. He was 19 years old. Today, his name is inscribed on Panel 39W, Line 63 of The Wall in Washington, D.C.
Edward Stiger would complete a tour of a duty without his younger brother. Before he was honorably discharged in September of 1970, he served as a LCpl in the U.S. Marines Corps, where he saw a lot of combat and was wounded as a result.
Upon his return from Vietnam, Edward struggled with life back home and with the relationships he formed. He was married but got divorced a short time after. Edward later moved from his hometown to Colorado. One can assume it “was an effort to get away from things that reminded him of his brother” and to try to start a new life. Sadly, Edward took his own life on Dec. 19, 1973.
Everyone that knew Edward said that the Vietnam War killed him just as it killed his brother, Greg. Both Edward and Greg had daughters that they never knew.
Greg’s daughter, Kelly left a remembrance on his Wall of Faces memorial page. It reads in part, “I have been told that I am very much like you in many ways. If I had one wish it would be just to hold you and say I love you. I could not be more honored to have had a father like you.”
Edward, who suffered after he returned home, is remembered through the In Memory program. In Memory is a program started by VVMF and honors those veterans whose lives were cut short as a result of their service but are not eligible for inscription on The Wall as a result of Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines. An In Memory plaque sits on the three-acre site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. in their memory.
Edward was recognized through the program in 2013 and is memorialized through the In Memory Honor Roll.
Whether killed in action or taken from us at home, the service and heroism of our Vietnam veterans will never be forgotten. Through The Wall and the In Memory program, two brothers are together again. Both of them have a connection to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the special place set aside to honor our Vietnam veterans in our nation’s capital.
Bios were taken from VVMF’s Wall of Faces and In Memory Honor Roll pages. If you lost a loved one as a result of PTSD or service-connected illnesses after the war in Vietnam and would like to honor them through the In Memory program, please click here.