The famous but tragic fate of the five Sullivan brothers, who made the ultimate sacrifice together on the U.S.S. Juneau in World War II, had to be weighing on Maebelle Hunter’s mind when five of her eleven children all joined the military in the middle of the Vietnam War. Henry “Buddy” Hunter, the eldest of the five, joined the Air Force ahead of Donald, Randy, Larry and Lenny, who all volunteered for the Army Signal Corps at a time when many other young men were looking for ways to avoid the unpopular and treacherous trip to the jungles of Indochina. Close throughout their childhood on Spruce Street on Stamford’s West Side, the Hunter brothers were not about to let a mere war come between them.
Lenny, the second youngest of Maebelle’s children attended Stevens Elementary, Rogers Junior High and Stamford High School before joining the U.S. Army on June 23, 1967. Since he was only 17 at the time, his brother Randy had to sign him up because, had she known, he did not think his mother would have allowed it. When he shipped to Vietnam in 1968 with the 578 Signal Company, he spent most of his days stringing communications wire in the jungles by climbing poles that sometimes tapered to the width of a baseball bat, never mind that he was also then exposed to the risk of enemy fire. Not willing to be separated for lon g, he still managed to travel to Cam Ranh Bay to see Henry (and even do some fishing!), and Larry came to see him in Quy Nhon near the end of his tour.
When, to Maebelle’s great relief, Lenny, along with his brothers, returned home safely, they have remained close. In fact Henry, Randy, Donald, Larry and Lenny played on the same bowling team for twenty five years, winning the Connecticut State U.S.B.C Open Tournament in 2012!
Lenny spent his career working for the U.S. Postal Service in Darien, retiring after 37 years. Still active in veterans’ affairs, he is Post Commander at the Darien VFW and volunteers at the Bridgeport Veterans’ Food Pantry. He and his wife Mary, have four children, fourteen grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Stamford COTY is grateful to Lenny Hunter, and his four brothers, as distinguished veterans