Stelter, LeeRoy (Interview transcript and video), 2017


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Stelter, LeeRoy (Interview transcript and video), 2017



Smither, James (Interviewer)
Lest We Forget


LeeRoy Stelter was born April 7th, 1948 in Coloma, Michigan where he grew up and stayed until transferring his senior year from Coloma High School to St. Joseph High School. He graduated in 1966 and immediately went to work in a factory making record players. Stelter enlisted in the military after his cousin suggested it might help his career, taking an interest in the potential for a background in electronics as a microwave radio repairman. He started basic training in 1967 in Fort Knox, Kentucky and says he had no trouble adjusting to the army because his parents raised him to do as he was told. Two months later Stelter was flown to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to begin his training as a microwave radio repairman learning basic electronics, how to operate gear, and solid state equipment. In 1968, Stelter recalled watching other groups perform drills preparing them for evacuations and riots in the wake of several political events. Stelter finished training at Fort Monmouth in May. He was deployed to Vietnam after a 30 day leave, assigned to the 327th Signal Company in Long Binh. After several months he was then reassigned to Vinh Long to replace a soldier who was lost in a mortar attack. Vinh Long was part of a radio relay set up by the signal company between Dong Tam and Can Tho, and Stelter recalled that it “was under attack every night…it was like the 4th of July, the whole place was incoming rounds, outgoing mortar fire” for three or four months, gradually deescalating. Stelter stayed at Vinh Long until June 1969 after which he took a 30 day leave before returning to Vietnam for a second time and being assigned to Can Tho. In all 8 months of his second term, he never heard any mortars or incoming rounds and was free to come and go from the village. In April 1970, Stelter returned home from Vietnam on a commercial flight and went back to work at the same factory he had as a teenager, making record players. In 1972, he married his wife who he said helped him return to some degree of normalcy. He attended Lake Michigan College before transferring to Western Michigan University and obtaining a degree in Industrial Engineering, after which he worked in manufacturing for the next 35 years.




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Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.


Veterans History Project (U.S.)






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Stelter, LeeRoy, “Stelter, LeeRoy (Interview transcript and video), 2017,” Digital Collections, accessed March 4, 2024,
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