The Saratoga Sun -

Despite cancers, no regrets

 

Photo courtesy Gerald Stanart

Gerald Stanart in uniform.

Gerald Stanart served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force, beginning in 1965. Like many others in the service at the time, Stanart was stationed in Vietnam for his time of service.

Involved in mobile communications, Stanart recalled a time when his group had to get through an air base to get critical parts. "We took some fire going through town, but we expected that," Stanart said of the journey. They drove through the town so fast that the enemy forces were unable to take anyone out.

Stanart said that from his view, one of the problems with the war was the lack of military involvement in decision making. "Politicians shouldn't be conducting wars," he said.

"Our country asked us to go to war, so we did what we had to do," Stanart said of his experience serving in Vietnam. Being a veteran of that area in that time period, he suffered from throat and lung cancers because of exposure to Agent Orange. However, he has been cancer-free for 13 years and has no regrets of his time spent in the Air Force.

The only thing Stanart was disappointed about from his service was the uproar when the soldiers returned home. "We had to wear civilian clothes to get back into the country," Stanart said, otherwise they faced backlash from protesters. However, Stanart is grateful for the different veterans' organizations that have taken care of Vietnam vets in recent years.

After leaving the Air Force, Stanart worked at a nuclear test site in Nevada and then began working in the copper industry, where he met his wife Mara. After spending 22 years with Thunder Basin Coal, the couple decided to retire to one of their favorite spots, a piece of land they own east of Encampment.

 

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