Foreman, Stephen

Stephen Foreman was born August 3, 1946; he grew up near Pittsburgh, in the small town of Jefferson, Pennsylvania.  Life was good in that small, racially-mixed town; Stephen’s father worked at the steel mill, and the family raised its own chickens. Stephen was a boy scout, and later played football and other sports in high school. When he graduated he was drafted into the US Army.  Stephen was actually on vacation in Colorado Springs at that time, and the army told him he had to return in 3 days – or else.  Stephen did return; he enlisted and quickly found himself in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and then Fort Riley, Kansas.   Stephen’s older brother had also been drafted, and he was already in Vietnam when Stephen was in basic training.  His brother told Stephen to do whatever he could to avoid going to Vietnam, but Stephen felt that service was the right thing for him, and he was deployed in December 1966.  At Fort Riley Stephen was assigned to the 3rd of the 5th Cavalry, a mechanized unit, and he was trained as the driver of an armored personnel carrier (APC).  They headed to Vietnam via troop ship, arriving at Long Bin after a 21 day ocean journey.  Long Bin would be their base, but Stephen recalls that they spent the vast majority of their time in the jungle, doing scout patrols and supporting the infantry.  Stephen was involved in a number of intense firefights, and on one occasion he was awarded the bronze star for valor in combat. When his year was up, Stephen took the freedom bird back to Fort Lewis – and declined the army’s offer to re-up him.  He returned to Jefferson, where he remembers struggling to fit in.  He did return to school, and eventually found work at a grocery warehouse, and then door-to-door sales with Prudential.  Over time he found his way back into life, leaving the war behind.  He turned his attention to his family, raising his two children, Anthony and Camille.  We met Stephen Foreman through the Veterans’ Breakfast Club, and in May 2023 Stephen visited Mr. Masters’ History 10 class via zoom.