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Vietnam War veteran Bob Stack honored in Newport Beach for his service

Vietnam War veteran Bob Stack, center, shares a fist bump with a fellow club member.
Vietnam War veteran Bob Stack, center, shares a fist bump with a fellow club member during a ceremony on Saturday to honor him for his service at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A local Vietnam War veteran got a hero’s welcome more than 50 years after his deployment on Saturday afternoon.

Bob Stack was honored with a ceremony at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach, one which included the presence of a color guard from the American Legion and other veterans at the event.

A Cypress resident, Stack said he served as a member of the artillery attached to the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968, participating in Operation Cedar Falls and Operation Junction City. He added that he was a Purple Heart recipient.

Club members cheer on Vietnam War veteran Bob Stack  on Saturday at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach.
Club members cheer on Bob Stack during Saturday’s ceremony.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“I’m very happy that I came back alive because I was in an area where there was a lot of [combat] when I was in [that] country,” Stack said. “It happened to be I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I just survived, so I’m extremely excited about that.”

The missions Stack were associated with took place in an area known as the “Iron Triangle.” He said he has tended to shy away from sharing the details of his time in the service.

“My time in Vietnam, that’s what’s so hard is I kept having to recycle those situations that I was in,” Stack said. “It took a while to overcome that.”

Stack, 74, went on to have a career as a banker. In retirement, he is enjoying playing tennis at the Palisades Tennis Club, where he is known by members as “Bob the Lob” for his defensive skills on the court.

Cyndie Martin, another club member, said she felt strongly that Stack should be recognized, saying that it would help provide an element of healing for other veterans to see that one of their own was being honored.

Three years after he was asked to participate in a similar celebration, Stack agreed to partake in this one.

“This is kind of cool,” Stack said. “I’m so happy that the club and Cyndie have arranged this, put this together, because it’s sort of like the welcome that I kind of thought we’d get. If I was a volunteer, it would be different, but I was a draftee.”

Bob Stack, center, accepts a certificate of recognition signed by California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.
Bob Stack accepts a certificate of recognition signed by California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Earlier this year, Stack was presented with a certificate of recognition from California State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (74th district).

“On behalf of the California State Assembly, we would like to congratulate you for being recognized as an AD74 community veteran of distinction,” the certificate reads. “Thank you for your selfless commitment to protecting our country and for all of your community efforts.”

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Members of Newport Harbor Post 291 of the American Legion color guard march to center court during Saturday's ceremony.
Members of Newport Harbor Post 291 of the American Legion color guard march to center court during Saturday’s ceremony.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)


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