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Vietnam Vet’s Mother: “It’s Like He Just Came Home”

Brad Choat
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The 199th Light Infantry Brigade from the Vietnam War held a reunion over the weekend in St. Louis. (KMOX/Brad Choat)

The 199th Light Infantry Brigade from the Vietnam War held a reunion over the weekend in St. Louis. (KMOX/Brad Choat)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - More than forty years after coming home from Vietnam, a war veteran from St. Clair, Missouri is collaborating with his daughter to write a book.

John Stillman served with the 101st Airborne and 199th Light Infantry brigades, returning to the U.S. in 1968.

Stillman says he’s just now comfortable sharing his story, “I can’t explain why I kept this in so long, but I’m not the only one. I’m finding with lots of folks I talk to that our stories are just now coming out.”

Stillman brought his 90-year-old mother with him to a reunion of the 199th this weekend in St. Louis, “I heard her say to someone, it’s like he just came home (voice chokes up). She never knew some of this stuff.”

Daughter Lori Stillman says she approached her father about the book idea last Veterans Day, after she spoke to classes at his alma mater, Webster Groves High School, “I said, Dad I’d like to write a book. Would you like to tell your story? He said sure. Then he told me the next day that he kept a journal the whole time he was in Vietnam. There’s some things that are very emotional, very moving, and very shocking. I’m amazed at what these men went through. The ones who made it home have it pretty rough.”

Lori Stillman says her goal is to have the book ready for publication in 2015.

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