View Full Version : Uncle of killed Wisconsin Marine calls for an end to war

12-13-05, 01:10 PM
Uncle of killed Wisconsin Marine calls for an end to war
(Published Tuesday, December 13, 2005 09:54:37 AM CST)

MENOMONIE, Wis. - The uncle of a U.S. Marine from Wisconsin who died in Iraq is calling for an end to the war.

Sgt. Andy Stevens, 29, was one of 10 Marines killed by an improvised explosive device near Fallujah on Dec. 1. Officials believe one of the Marines triggered a hidden pressure plate device that caused four buried artillery shells to explode.

Stevens, of Tomah, was the oldest victim in what was the war's deadliest attack on U.S. troops since August. Eleven other Marines were wounded in the attack.

After learning of the death, Stevens' uncle Duane Kuester vented his frustration by erecting a large cardboard sign along the road in front of the family's cattle farm three miles west of Menomonie. The handwritten sign lists Stevens' name and date of death and reads: "Our family member dies in Iraq. When will this war END? Will countries ever get ALONG?"

"I don't want people to forget what's going on," Duane Kuester said. "We want the war to be over with and get our boys home."

Stevens, who had relatives throughout western Wisconsin, decided to rejoin the Marines after the Sept. 11, 2001, so he could fight terrorism.

Family members said Stevens wasn't as gung-ho about returning to Iraq for a second tour. He was older and more aware of the risks, although he never expressed fear, said another uncle, Larry Kuester of Menomonie.

Yet Stevens strongly believed in the military's mission in Iraq, Duane Kuester recalled.

"If you look up the word patriot in the dictionary, that would be Andy," he said. "He was a true patriot and an all-American kid."

"He was doing what he wanted to do, and he was proud of what he did," said Stevens' stepfather, John Olson of Eau Claire. "He was a good Marine."

Olson and Stevens' mother, Kaye Olson, chose Eau Claire as a retirement spot because of the many relatives who live in the area.

Kaye Olson, who grew up in nearby Dunn County, is planning to retire from the Army National Guard early next year after 25 years. John Olson served 38 years with the Air Force and Army Reserve.

Military officials will present Stevens' family with his Purple Heart posthumously at his funeral services, which will be Wednesday in Tomah and Thursday in Menomonie.