Fallen Marine Sgt. Will Stacey honored with Bronze Star

Pre-deployment letter gained national attention

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A Marine sergeant killed in Afghanistan was posthumously honored with the Bronze Star medal for his actions during combat.

In a ceremony at Camp Pendleton Friday, the family of fallen Marine Sgt. Will Stacey was presented with the medal.

In 2007, fresh out of high school, Stacey joined the Marine Corps against the wishes of his mother, Robin Stacey.

"Even though the story has turned out tragically for all of us, he died being the best he could be," she said.

A sergeant in 2011 with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Stacey twice came under attack in November and December of that year and twice got his men back to safety.  

However, a month later, he was killed by an improvised explosive device.  

"We didn't know what a great Marine he was because he never talked about that," said Bob Stacey, who accepted the Bronze Star with combat insignia on behalf of his son.

"Many of the new Marines in 2-4 may not have had the opportunity to know Sgt. Stacey, but every marine in this battalion knows of Sgt. Stacey," said Lt. Col. Ron Weiler, the battalion commander.   

Stacey made five deployments, three of them to combat zones, but it was the letter he wrote before his first deployment that still resonates today.

The letter read, in part, "If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change world, then it was all worth it."

Click here to read the full letter

On the parade deck where the medal ceremony was held was a picture of the 23-year-old Stacey on deployment, a huge grin on his face as he encountered a herd of goats.  

"I love that picture because of his smile; it's so funny and it's the exact smile I remember," Anna Stacey said of her older brother.

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