Fallen soldier honored at ceremony
Kingston native Cpl. Chester Joy was killed in Vietnam in 1967
More than 100 people attended a ceremony Sunday afternoon in memory of Cpl. Chester Joy, a Kingston native who was killed in action in Vietnam on May 16, 1967.
The ceremony took place on the grounds of the National Guard Armory on Kiersted Avenue.
Joy, the second local Vietnam casualty, would have ended his tour in August of that year but suffered a mortal head wound in Quang Tri Province.
Known to his loved ones simply as “Buddy,” Joy was just 20 years old when he died. He served with F Company, Second Battalion, in the vicinity of the 26th Demilitarized Zone, attacking hostile forces in a push by the U.S. Marines.
“He was a bright young man, with all sorts of possibilities before him, but he chose to serve his country, and so he put his fate in his leaders, and in God,” said William Forte, chairman of the Kingston Veterans Association. “Today isn’t a day to debate why these brave men were sent. Odds are a lot of them didn’t agree with or understand those reasons. The fact is, once someone starts shooting at you, you don’t care why you are there. ... There are two unbreakable rules in war: number one, people die; number two, nobody can change rule number one. Buddy knew this when he enlisted.”
“Our family is overwhelmed by the number of people who have come to this memorial service,” said speaker Virginia “Ginny” Douglas, Chester Joy’s sister. She thanked the office of state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, for helping to organize the event, and also local veterans’ organizations for their participation.
An American flag, 20 by 30 feet, was presented and donated to Ulster Hose Company 5 in memory of Joy. Douglas said the gesture was made in reciprocation for a flag donated at the time of Joy’s death.
“That flag was flown over the headquarters of 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines, at Phu Bai during the war,” she said.
Joy was the recipient of the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.
William Forte, chairman of the Kingston Veterans Association, speaks during Sunday’s ceremony at the Kingston armory honoring the memory of Cpl. Chester Joy, who was killed in action on May 16, 1967, in Vietnam.