STARK, LAWRENCE J.
Name: Lawrence J. Stark Rank/Branch: Civilian Unit: Date of Birth: 02 May 1935 Home City of Record: Chicago IL Date of Loss: 01 February 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162734N 1073551E Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Other Personnel in Incident: Gostas, Theodore USA (released); Henderson, Alexander CIV (released); Meyer, Lewis CIV (released); Olsen, Robert CIV (Released); Page, Russell CIV (Released); Rander, Donald USA (Released); Rushton, Thomas CIV (Released); Spalding, Richard CIV (Released); Daves, Gary CIV (Released); Willis, Charles CIV (Released).
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 14 February 1997 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources and information provided by Ret. Major Gostas and Lawrence Stark.
REMARKS: 730305 Released by PRG
Stark was working in the northern part of South Vietnam during TET '68 when Hue came under seige. Ret. Major Ted Gostas (135th MIBN PROV) recalls being trapped without his radio in the city, and being unable to warn hundreds of 5th Marines as they walked into an ambush and their death. Government records indicate Stark and 11 others were captured soon afterward. Ten of those were civilians working with the Vietnamese.
Stark was held captive for 5 1/2 years prior to his release on March 05, 1973.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
LAWRENCE J. STARK Civilian working for the Department of the Navy Captured: January 31, 1968 Released: March 5, 1973
I was born in Chicago on May 2, 1935. I attended St. Christiana's Grammar School and St. Rita's High School. From 1953-57 I attended St. Joseph College, Rensselaer, Indiana receiving a degree in Business Adminstration. I was drafted into the Army in February 1958 and after spending two years in Germany was honorably discharged.
In April 1966, I went to Vietnam with a construction firm as a labor coordinator. This work terminated in 13 months. My next tour in Vietnam was as a Navy civilian in Da Nang. After three months, I went to Hue which is in the northern part of South Vietnam, heading an industrial relations office which had the responsibility of hiring Vietnamese to work for various military organizations. It was while working in this capacity that Hue came under seige and I was captured.
After spending two months in the hills outside of Hue and another month enroute to the North, we arrived at a camp in North Vietnam. I was to be imprisoned there and at other prisons in the North for the next five years. To add to one's loneliness and feeling of helplessness, I was forced to spend five months in solitary. Also, at no time during these five years was I able to receive or send any communication.
A typical day would run something like this:
We would rise at 6:30 a.m. and after washing would have breakfast which usually consisted of bread and a teaspoon of sugar with hot water. From about 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. we would do various things such as read (if material was available which was not very often) or work on little projects such as learning a foreign language. Lunch generally consisted of a bowl of soup with a spinach-like vegetable and bread or rice. There was a little pork fat in the soup. After lunch we would take a siesta from noon to 2:30 p.m. and then we would work on our mental stimulation projects. Dinner would be the same as the lunch and during the rest of the day we would just pass the time in conversation with our roommates. Our conversations would be centered around our families, friends, interesting experiences as well as hobbies, interests and discussions of the fairer sex. At 9 p.m. we would retire for the night. I was seldom asked to work and had very little recreation.
We did receive some news while we were in prison, but most of it was full of propaganda, and there was very little said about the good things that were happening in the United States, such as the moon flights. There was, however, a great deal said about the bad things that were occurring in the States.
Upon returning to the United States I could not help but be aware of the changes that had occurred in the area of dress, hair styling, the liturgy of the Mass, and car styling to mention a few of the most obvious. But I have been most pleasantly surprised by the public concern in political issues. In thinking back I cannot recall such awareness before my capture. It is my fervent hope that this concern is not temporary, but will be long lasting. I firmly believe that good government requires an alert and demanding public It is quite natural that our interest is on the POW-MIA issue, but let us not in our generosity forget to pray for the veterans and especially the disabled veterans of the Viet Nam conflict.
======================= Larry lives in Maryland and is a activist with the LIVE POW issue. He has testified before Congress, and has spoken across the county on the Prisoner of War issue.