William Chapman Stacey (Will) was born in New Haven, CT, on March 1, 1988, but grew up in Seattle, WA, where he moved with his parents when he was four months old. A gifted baseball player from a young age, he could hit a pitched wiffle ball over a two story house when he was only two years old. He continued to play baseball until he joined the Marine Corps, rising through the Little League ranks as a perennial all-star, and finishing his high school baseball career as an All-Conference Honorable Mention second baseman for the 2006 Roosevelt High School baseball team in Seattle.
As a child, he was a voracious reader, with a particular interest in military history. The American Civil War held a special fascination for him; at six years of age, he could (and did) talk knowledgeably for hours about tactics and troop dispositions at the Battle of Gettysburg with the tour guides at the Gettysburg battlefield. By age ten, his interests had shifted to the Second World War, about which he displayed, to the surprise of his teachers, a remarkably detailed knowledge. His energy and enthusiasm, combined with his concern for others, made him a natural leader amongst his classmates, who generally followed him wherever his interests led him.
When he was eight years old, his sister Anna was born. Will was Anna’s favorite person from the moment she was born, and she was his. They adored each other, and their pride in each other knew no bounds.
Middle school was a difficult period for Will, but he put himself back together in high school, becoming one of the most widely-known and well-liked members of the 2006 graduating class at Roosevelt High School. Academic work, however, remained a struggle for him, despite his undoubted intelligence. And so, after a few unsuccessful months in junior college, he joined the Marine Corps in the fall of 2006, entering the Corps officially on January 3, 2007. When asked why he chose the Marine Corps, his answer was simple: “I wanted to do something that was really, really hard.”
His pride in what he accomplished with the Marines was well-deserved. In five years, he served five overseas
deployments, including four that took him to Afghanistan. An 81-mm mortarman, he was also a qualified Forward
Observer, a Rifle Expert with training as a sniper, and an intelligence analyst. He rose to become a Sergeant and squad leader, and was under consideration for promotion to Staff Sergeant at the time of his death (a fact he never knew). On January 31, 2012 he was killed in action by an IED while leading his squad on a mission in the district of Now Zad in Helmand Province, where he had served as a volunteer combat replacement on an earlier tour of duty in the fall of 2008.
He also had a lot to come home to. In August 2008 he had begun dating Kimmy Kirkwood, the woman to whom (as he told a friend the weekend before he died) he planned to propose upon his return from deployment.
As he requested, he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on March 13, 2012, where he will rest amongst his comrades-in-arms.
He is survived by his parents, Robert and Robin Stacey; his sister Anna; and the love of his life, Kimmy Kirkwood.
In a letter he left with his parents, to be opened in case of his death, he wrote:
“My death did not change the world; it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all. But there is a greater meaning to it. Perhaps I did not change the world. Perhaps there is still injustice in the world. But there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the new schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader’s henchmen are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long. If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change the world, then I know it was all worth it.”