Saturday, November 7, 2009

Staff Sergeant Glen H. Stivison, Jr.

I met Glen in South Korea around Christmas of 2000. Well, that's what we thought, anyway. There was a bit of recognition between us, but as he wasn't a paratrooper, the odds that our paths had crossed before then were a bit slimmer than usual. So, one day, we sat down together and shot off the names of people we knew, where we knew them from, and everywhere we had deployed to. A mutual friend of ours came up... a Staff Sergeant Fussell (pardon me if I misspelled that... it's been a while). Somehow, between our trips down memory lane and our propensity to talk alot (well, mine... Glen tended to be a tad laconic unless he had a beer in his hand), we discerned that we had indeed met before in a Burger King at Fort Irwin, California, during a rotation at the National Training Center in 1997.

Of course, memories being unreliable by nature, we never confirmed it happened, but in becoming friends over the early part of 2001, we just sort of bought into our own theory and claimed it as the truth.

Glen was, and this is no exaggeration, a typical "jolly giant." He wasn't altogether tall, but he had what some could call a weight problem. The Army, you see, shuns upon weight, but usually grants exceptions to those soldiers who are worth keeping in. And, well, Glen was worth keeping in.

He had been in mechanized units prior to his arrival in Korea, and as 2001 seemed to be a year in which the Army mysteriously decided to transfer a bunch of light soldiers to the Asian peninsula, Glen's expertise was far more valuable than it would have even normally been. He knew his shit, regardless, but with the plethora of light fighters (many of whom, like myself, had never even been in an Armored Personnel Carrier), his knowledge of what needed to get done and how it needed to get done trumped the best of us.

I can't say we hung out often, though we did have plenty of talks, usually in his barracks room or behind the motor pool. And, despite what I mentioned above, I never really saw him drink all that much. He was usually in his room waiting for his wife to call, or waiting for the time difference between South Korea and wherever she was living to provide a window for him to call her. Glen Stivison (we called him Stivy) didn't give a shit about much of anything... as long as nothing interfered with his spousal phone calls.

He was a calm man, and entirely genuine. He always knew when bullshit was bullshit, and knew enough to know that most confrontations with idiots and assholes led nowhere. Come to think of it, that was probably why he didn't talk a whole lot at work, save to jump in on a joke or to calm somebody down.

I lost touch with him when I left Korea just before Christmas of 2001. Still, given my nature and the fact that he was one of the few people in Korea that I actually liked, I often attempted to track him down. MySpace finally reunited us just over a year ago... right before a deployment. I'm not certain if that deployment is the same one that took his life, but it bothers me just the same.

The Army lost a good man this past October, and a family lost a good patriarch.

Love you, brother.


  1. Nice tribute, Jeff. Sorry for your loss.

  2. mmm...sorry to hear of your loss and that of this family...he sounds like a good man.

  3. So sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute.

  4. It is good to have tributes like this as it helps us all connect to the lives and the courage of people such as your friend. Thinking of their sacrifice isn't much I know but sometimes it is the least and the best we can do,

  5. He was killed in action? Terrible. Just awful but then, you all know what you signed up for I guess. I'm so glad that you did catch up with him after all that time. Such a shame your burgeoning new relationship was cut short. So sad.

  6. fitting that I just read this wonderful tribute to your fallen friend today since it's veteran's day.

    thanks for sharing glen with us, the world did lose a special person.

  7. Jeff said it right, I met Stivi in south korea and it is a huge loss for the family and the united states army, He was an awesome guy and will be missed.