Author: Stephanie Hanson
Title: A Corpsman’s Legacy
Publisher: Leatherneck Publishing
Reviewer: W. H. McDonald, Jr. – AAA Founder
Keep a large supply of Kleenex handy – this story will move you!!
I have never struggled so hard to write a book review as much as I did with this book “A Corpsman’s Legacy”. It wasn’t anything negative about the book (just the opposite) but because of my own reactions to it. I simply was moved beyond words. I could not find the right way to tell others that this is more than just a book but a story of undying love.
Author Stephanie Hanson writes a heartfelt memoir of her search for her birth father. This spiritual quest leads to several amazing discoveries and many great new people in her life. It also leads her to discover that she is also helping others to heal as well as just herself.
Stephanie was happily adopted and she had no great desire to look for her birth parents. However, promoted by her need to have medical information; she searched and found her birth mother. In an emotional reunion, her mother gave her an old tattered newspaper clipping of an obituary for her father Gary Young, who was killed in Vietnam in 1969. It was from that small piece of information that sprang an emotional journey for her, her family and so many others. This is why the story is so deeply appealing because it is not just about some self-serving personal discovery but more like a group march for truth and fellowship. She really connected emotionally and spiritually with those who were somehow involved with her father, or with his unit in Nam, or who were just supportive of her quest.
One of the more endearing and beautiful events in the book (And there are many!) is when she is given her father’s old watch that he had been wearing in Vietnam when he was killed. Gary’s brother still had it after all those years; but it never worked and he was never able to get around to getting it fixed. So the watch had stopped and was fixed on a time long ago when her dad died. When she was given the watch it again begins to run and work like it was never broken; it was almost like a signal from the beyond—which I firmly believe it was since I do not accept mere accidents of fate. I believe that everything happens for a reason and her whole story emulates that same kind of spiritual energy.
She chronicles her contacts with veteran Marines on the internet where she posts messages which eventually lead to connections and those connections lead to even more. This search begins to take on a life of its own and a powerful spiritual healing takes place for those involved in the search as they each find a part of their missing soul. Stephanie allows those other voices to be heard by including their email messages in the book. So the reader can fully follow how this quest unfolded and evolved.
The old tape recordings from her father that he sent from Vietnam were another gift to Stephanie from Gary’s step-father; but it was Gary’s dog-tag that meant the most to her—a tag that no one realized that they still had. Her story has so many emotional twists and turns that I do not wish to spoil the reading experience for others. This book will impact you as it did me. You will enjoy the ending which is perfect and almost storybook and unreal. But it gives you an emotionally satisfying finish to her book but certainly not an end to her story because one can assume that this will still continue to unfold and that others who read this book will also be touch by it.
The American Authors Association gives this book its highest rating of FIVE STARS. It also receives the Founder's Endorsement! A must read book if there ever was one!
Reviewer: Joe Fabel – AAA Vice President
Perseverance drove the searching of Stephanie Hanson. She was determined to discover all she could about that man called father. Stephanie was adopted but ignorant of the identity of her birth parents.
When she becomes a young adult her aunt weakens to Stephanie’s questions and identifies who her birth mother really is. It is a most emotional and trying reunion on both sides, mother and daughter. So many hidden thoughts and feelings had to be brought to light; deep hurt had to be overcome.
With her reunited mother’s help in providing some basic information on her dad (who died during the Vietnam “police action”), Stephanie searches through web site after web site dealing with Vietnam veterans, especially those who were Marine Corpsmen, her father’s designation.
Assistance pours in from those veterans who understood the pain she was enduring, but they all recognized the determination of this daughter of “one of their own”. Her search finally allows contact with the Marines who actually brought her father’s broken body back from the helicopter crash site.
Stephanie is adopted by these Marines due to her openness and perseverance and respect for the fighting men. She is so proud yet humbled when she is “pinned” with a miniature set of aviators wings. Her father had wanted to eventually earn his “wings.”
This is a most human story, one that brings into focus the emotions and commitments frequently found when dealing with the men and women who protect our freedom. “Once a buddy, always a buddy.”
Reviewer: Christy W. Sauro, Jr. – AAA Member
One of the Best Books I Have Read!
I was deeply moved by this incredible story. The author, who was adopted at birth, does a wonderful job in bringing herself and her biological father to life. By the end of the first chapter I felt as if I knew her and her father personally. After that I could hardly put the book down. Her story begins at age 26, when she needs to locate her biological parents to obtain her medical history. In her quest for that information she learns for the first time that her father was Gary Norman Young - a Navy Corpsman who was killed in action in Vietnam on February 7, 1969. He died before learning that he was going to be a father. The author tells her story from the heart with unwavering honesty, so be prepared to share viscerally in her excitements and disappointments as she embarks upon a remarkable journey to get to know her father. What transpires is often unexpected and at times truly amazing. What started out as her personal conquest evolves into something much more. And how she handled the life changing events that followed made it clear to me that she inherited more from her Corpsman father than his smile. I found the book to be well researched and accurate. It is well worth reading!