LIVERMORE — The Livermore Public Library will host an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 5, for author Stephanie Hanson Caisse of Mississippi.

Caisse, a native of Portland, Ore., has written two books about the Vietnam War and her effort to find information on her father, Gary Norman Young, who died in action Feb. 7, 1969, two months before she was born. He was a U.S. Navy corpsman who flew with the Marine Corps helicopter squadron HMM-364, the Purple Foxes.

Her first book, “A Corpsman’s Legacy,” published in 2006, tells of her early efforts in her search. Her latest, “A Corpsman’s Legacy Continues,” published in 2014, expands her search for the military history of her father.

Both books have a local interest. Ronnie Gordon, a 1966 Livermore Falls High School graduate, served in the U.S. Marine Corps under his birth name of Rodney G. Shank and died in combat in Vietnam.

Caisse’s father and Shank, a gunner, were killed by enemy fire in a medevac helicopter rescue mission in a hot zone.

The key to uncovering her father’s history has been Caisse’s perseverance in tracing seemingly every lead to reveal details of her father’s military life and death. Her determination resulted in a formal presentation of her father’s medals to his family, along with his Combat Air Crew Wings. A bonus of her research has been reuniting veterans who had not seen each other for decades.

Speaking of corpsmen’s innate, selfless sense of duty, she said, “My father lived that kind of life. I don’t focus on the fact that he died doing it, but that he lived to do it.”


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