Saturday, March 17, 2007

Robert Stanley laid to rest

To the friends and family who gathered at Spotswood Baptist Church yesterday morning, Staff Sgt. Robert M. Stanley will remain "forever young."

The Rod Stewart lyrics played at the funeral for the 27-year-old Spotsylvania native who was one of nine U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq on March 5.

About 500 people filled the church to pay tribute to Stanley, who served with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division.

Gary Foss, principal at Fredericksburg Christian Schools, which Stanley attended through ninth grade, said the young man "was always willing to help others" and "is remembered as having a very loving and serving spirit."

Foss spoke of the close relationship Stanley had with his parents, Robert and Thelma Stanley. He told a story the elder Stanley had shared with him of a father–son road trip when the boy was a teen. Most of his friends didn't like their fathers, Stanley told his dad, but that wasn't the case here. They were best friends, the younger Stanley had said.

Foss also told of Thelma Stanley's love of rocks and the foreign stones Stanley brought back from each of his deployments.

"We thank the Stanleys for raising Robbie, the man we celebrate today, and whose memory we will not forget," Foss said.

Stanley's platoon leader for 16 months and friend for almost two years, 1st Lt. Nick Loudon, said he wasn't with Stanley when his vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device, but he escorted his friend's body back to Fredericksburg.

"Rob always has and will have a special place in my heart," he said. "It's really impossible to describe someone who was the caliber of Rob in such a short time."

Stanley was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Purple Heart for wounds received in action and both were presented to the family at yesterday's service.

"He was as willing to walk through the water in New Orleans as he was to walk through alleys in Iraq," the Rev. Tommy Winstead said of Stanley's multiple deployments overseas and to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. "He did it for people he didn't know, people who didn't care and in some cases, people were trying to take his life."

From the Star

Related Link:
Robert M. Stanley dies of injuries from I.E.D.