Anton Gross in chopper
Anton (Tony) was born and raised in Evanston. After finishing two years at Oakton Community College and DeVry Technical Institute, he shipped out to Vietnam in 1964.
During his tour in Vietnam, Tony was first assigned to a clerical position reporting and documenting the daily combat activities – much like the “Radar O’Reilly” character from the 1970’s TV show M.A.S.H.
He quickly became both gunner and photographer for the unit. He carried a camera in one hand and a pistol in his holster during his Army service in Vietnam. He documented daily combat activities while capturing shots of reconnaissance missions and entertainment events, including the Bob Hope USO Shows.
He served on a mission that was covered by Bill Maudlin the well-known war correspondent and sketches of the night battle were featured in a 2-page spread in Life Magazine in 1965.
After the Army, Tony began his career at Wilmette Savings in inventory control. The remainder of his career was spent at AT&T in inventory control and computer oversight.
Tony and his wife Jeannie met after his release from the Army. He lived in Evanston on the north side, she on the south side. He was army, she a flower child. Jeannie’s large South Side Irish family welcomed him in as one of their own, creating many good memories. They were happily married for 33 years.
Tony enjoys meeting with other veterans at the weekly VETSO (Veterans’ Organization) meetings. He relays that it’s a chance to meet others, it offers a sense of comradery, a sense of belonging, and a space to share and talk with others who experienced time in the service.
Tony wears a medallion identifying his service in Vietnam each day to reach out to other vets, to help them talk about their service and to encourage them to attend the weekly VETSO meetings. He’s also active in the ecumenical services, the Blessings groups, and is an avid gardener.