Herbert J. Stober
- Vietnam War
- Flight Crew Special Air Warfare
- Awarded Bronze Star & Air Medal
- KIA in ground accident on March 19, 1969 at Ubon Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand while loading ordinance on a C-123 preparing for a Black Spot mission.
Interred at Rochester Cemetery, Rochester, Wisconsin
Sgt. Herbert J. Stober was born in Racine Wisconsin on December 15, 1947. Life would throw its first curve to Herb at the age of six months. His father, a World War II Marine, died from the after effects of being a Japanese POW for the duration of the war. Sadly, his Mother abandoned Herb and his brother shortly thereafter. Herb and his brother became wards of the state, being placed in several institutions. It was God’s will Herb and his brother were kept together.
In August of 1950, Racine County social services placed Herb and his brother in a foster home with William and Mae Albright in Rochester Wisconsin. To the mutual good fortune of all, this new family would stay together supported by their mutual love until their passing.
Herb attended Rochester Grade School and Waterford H.S. As a boy he fell in love with the outdoors. Often he could be seen walking the two blocks from his home to fish along the banks of the Fox River. When a bit older, in the fall, he would be seen hiking to a favorite hunting spot. He was a quiet boy who had very close friends, usually of the same demeanor, and his friends were the best kind, loyal and true.
With the encouragement of his father, Herb became active in the Boy Scouts and would eventually earn the highest rank in Scouting, the Eagle Badge. Rather than organized athletics Herb developed a love for downhill skiing, and during the winter months he would spend a significant amount of his income from odd jobs pursuing that love.
After graduating from High School it was not a surprise Herb preferred to get going with life and do something rather than spend another four years in a classroom. These were the late sixties, and many young men were being drafted, or making it a full time job to avoid being drafted. Herb however wanted to do things his way, and so he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He did look good in Air Force Blue.
After basic training and technical school, Herb was assigned to a Special Air Warfare unit and was stationed at Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field Florida. It was there that I saw Herb for the last time. In the fall of 1968 Herb’s unit was deployed to Korea for further training before being sent on to South East Asia. Herb’s unit was stationed at Ubon Royal Thai AFB. Their mission was to use their aircraft (a modified C-123) as a bombing platform. Their aircraft were entirely painted black. This was done to reduce their visibility at night, the time they would operate. Their mission if fact was called “Operation Black Spot”. Their assignment was to bomb what was known as the Ho Chi Minh trail (the main supply route used by the North Vietnamese army to move troops and supplies to their battle fields in South Vietnam. Herb was a loadmaster on these aircraft.
On March 19, 1969 Herb’s family received the worst of news. Their beloved Son, Brother, Grandson, Nephew, and Cousin had been killed in an accidental detonation of a bomb he and a comrade were loading on their aircraft. Herb’s death created a hole in the hearts of all who know him and loved him. An entire community grieved the loss.