Stanley John Kopcinski


Bayonne lost 30 men in Vietnam. Stanley J. Kopcinski was the first one killed. He was  proud to be a Marine. Each year on Memorial Day the L/CPL Stanley J Kopcinski award is given in his honor. 

L/CPL Stanley John Kopcinski (KOP) Stanley John Kopcinski, was born on August 20, 1946 and attended Samuel E. Roberson School (No. 7) and graduated from Bayonne High School in 1964. While growing up Stan was very active in all street sports that were popular in the 50's and 60's such as stick ball, basketball, pitching-in, touch football, etc. Stan seemed to excel in all sports and was known by his peers as a better than average player. His love of sports led him to join the Little League where he played for Triple A Sport Shop. As quarterback for the Comets in the Touch Football League, more often than not, he did a fine job throwing passes and bringing his team to victory. Stan was the type of kid who would not provoke a fight but if the situation arose, he could handle himself fairly well. He went on to prove this during the early 60's by joining the P.A.L. boxing team and fighting in the Golden Gloves. Upon graduation from high school and being aware of what patriotism was about, Stan decided to do his part by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corp. where he was assigned to a 106 Recoiless Rifle Company. At his graduation from Parris Island boot camp, he was chosen as Honor Man of his platoon by achieving the highest score as a rifle expert. The following article was written by Frank Keefer, a fellow Marine who became a close friend of Stan while in training and serving in Vietnam. This article was published in the Purple Heart Recipients book. An affable, happy-go-lucky guy who always had a smile on his face and was never known to say an unkind word about anyone, "Kop" was everyone's best friend and the most loved man in his unit. Sometimes he was known as "Canvas Back" because of his Golden Gloves boxing experiences. Kop's courage earned him "most likely to receive the Medal of Honor" accolades voted by his buddies when his unit, the famous 1st Battalion, 1st Marines (Guadalcanal, Chosin Reservoir), mounted out to be the first American combat unit sent to Vietnam. Transferred to the 9th Marines during his combat tour, he was killed by a command-detonated mine on May 14, 1966, along with several members of his original unit, PFC Joseph Emmet Lilley, Mobile, Alabama, and PFC George Jacob Mack Cranston, Rhode Island, whose identical twin brother was wounded in action while serving with 1/1 in September 1965. PFCs Golio and Lanham from 1/1 were wounded in that action. Only one of the original members, Gary Cooper of Philadelphia, was unhurt. Stan was the first serviceman killed from Bayonne during the Vietnam War and he is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, New Jersey. His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., the New Jersey Vietnam Memorial in Homdel, and the Bayonne Vietnam Memorial in Bayonne. Each year the Bayonne Detachment of the Marine Corps. League presents the Lance Corporal Stanley J. Kopcinski award which is given in his honor. Joseph Kochanski