• bayonne
  • Hudson
  • August 20, 1946
  • May 14, 1966
  • Marines
  • RANK:
  • LCPL
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Stanley J. Kopcinski was born on August 20, 1946, to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Kopcinski.  His home of record is Bayonne, NJ.  He had one stepsister, Betty, and one stepbrother, Pete.  Stanley graduated from Bayonne Technical High School.

Kopcinski enlisted in the US Marine Corps in 1964.  He was a member the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines and later transferred to the 9th Marines where he attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL).

On May 14, 1966 at the age of 19, Kopcinski was killed in action by a command-detonated mine near Da Nang in South Vietnam, Quang Nam Province.  He was the first Bayonne soldier to die on the battlefields of South Vietnam according to the Bayonne Times, May 17, 1966.

Stanley John Kopcinski, was born on August 20, 1946. and was killed in action in Vietnam on May 14, 1966.  Stan attended Samuel E Roberson No. 7 school and graduated in 1960.  He graduated from Bayonne High School Tech Division in 1964.

Growing up in the 19th Street area of Bayonne, Stan was very active in all street sports that we all took part in during the late 50's and early 60's.  This includes playing stickball, basketball, touch football, etc.  Stan seemed to excel in all these sports and was known as a better than average player.

Stan loved sports and also played in the little league as a youngster for Triple A Sport Shop along with playing in the touch football league with a team called the Comets. 

While playing with the Comets, Stan was the quarterback and usually did a fine job throwing passes and bringing the team to victory.  Stan was the type of kid growing up that did not look for a fight but could handle himself pretty well if the need arose.   He went on to prove this during the early 60's by joining the PAL boxing team and fighting in the Golden Gloves. 

Upon graduation from Bayonne High School in 1964, and knowing what patriotism is all about, Stan decided to do his part and joined the US Marine Corps.  While in boot camp at Parris Island, Kopcinski scored the highest for his platoon as a rifle expert. 

The following is an article that was written by a fellow Marine, Frank Keefer, who served with Stan during training and in Vietnam and was his close friend. This article was put into a Purple Heart Recipients book. 

An affable, happy-go-lucky guy who always had a smile on his face and was never known to say an unkind word about anyone, "Kop" was everyone's best friend and the most loved man in his unit.  Sometimes he was known as "Canvas Back" because of his Golden Gloves boxing experiences.

Kop's courage earned him "most likely to receive the Medal of Honor" accolades voted by his buddies when his unit, the famous 1st Battalion, 1st Marines (Guadalcanal, Chosin Reservoir), mounted out to be the first American combat unit sent to Vietnam.

Transferred to the 9th Marines during his combat tour, he was killed by a command-detonated mine on May 14, 1966, along with several members of his original unit, PFC Joseph Emmet Lilley, Mobile, Alabama, and PFC George Jacob Mack Cranston, Rhode Island, whose identical twin brother was wounded in action while serving with 1/1 in September 1965.   PFC Golio and Lanham from 1/1 were wounded in that action.  Only one of the original members, Gary Cooper of Philadelphia, was unhurt.

Stan was the first serviceman killed from Bayonne during the Vietnam War.  He is buried in a cemetery in North Arlington, NJ.  His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Holmdel, NJ, and the Bayonne Vietnam Memorial in Bayonne, NJ.  The Marine Corps League of Bayonne gives an award out each year on Memorial Day in Kopcinski's name.

Written by Joseph Kochanski, Best Friend

Sources: Joseph Kochanski (friend), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.


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