Friday, June 4

Who was Robert Dean Stethem


Since 2007, Maryland District 7 and Waldorf Little League have held a Memorial Day Tournament  to honor Robert Dean Stethem and all of our fallen heros that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The Stethem Sports Complex is named for him as well as the Career and Technology Center in Pomfret, Md. The U.S. Navy Seabees have named the Port Hueneme Naval Construction Training Center Headquarters Building in his honor.


For the residents of Charles County, Maryland, the Stethem name is well known. For those not so familiar, we have prepared this information page so that everyone can understand why we honor Robert Dean Stethem. We have also provided the web link above to Robert's Arlington Cemetery page.


The following speech was made by Robert's brother, Patrick, at the 2010 Memorial Day Ceremony.


We hope you are as touched by his words as we were.




From the 2010 Memorial Day Tournament Opening Ceremony


"It is your support of the Robert Dean Stethem Memorial Sports Complex that allows our community’s children to gather here, year after year, and learn the life lessons of both winning and losing, of both working as a team and striving for individual achievement.  Thank you for what you do to keep this sports complex not only operational, but welcoming.  You honor your community by doing so and you honor the name and the memory of an American hero, my brother Robert Dean Stethem


Next month will mark the 25th anniversary of the Hezbollah hijacking of TWA Flight 847.   The events of that day, June 14th 1985 devastated my family.  The knowledge of my brother’s suffering has at times seemed to be more than we can bear.  How could we have been prepared for the news that that Father’s Day weekend would bring?


With the knowledge of Rob’s suffering at the hands of his enemies came the knowledge of his courage, his steadfast commitment to his team mates, his fellow passengers and his country’s honor.  His bravery, his sacrifice, his dignity in the face of death brought him the posthumous honor of the purple heart, the bronze star and the Aegis class guided missile destroyer, the USS Stethem.


We were not prepared for how our struggle for justice would span over the decades.  Two of the hijackers remain at large.  The third terrorist, the one directly responsible for Rob’s death, was apprehended in Germany in 1987 and given a life sentence only to be released in a prisoner trade deal between Germany and Lebanon in December 2005.


We were not prepared to lose Rob and to bear the knowledge of his suffering.   We were not prepared for the struggle and heartache over the years at the hands of uncooperative foreign governments that would continue to add insult to injury.  There was one more thing for which we were not prepared.  How could we possibly have been prepared for the immediate outpouring of support that seemed to come from all directions?  How could we have known that 25 years after his passing, Rob’s memory would still be honored by people such as yourselves, his fellow Americans.


Countless times over the years you have placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “I remember that day.”  You could not possibly know what your support and kindness had meant to me.


I know that Rob is with us today in spirit and is so proud of this sports complex.  He never lived to have children of his own, but what a blessing that so many kids play on the fields that bear his name.


Thank you and God bless you and your families.  And may God bless the United States of America."


Patrick Stethem