Virginia (Ginny) Kirsch was the daughter of Max Joseph Kirsch and Norma Jean Brownyard. She had four sisters and two brothers in her family. Her father was a co-owner of a men's clothing store and her mother was a high school English teacher.
Ginny graduated from Brookfield High School in 1966. She continued her education by enrolling at Miami University of Ohio and graduating there in 1970. After college she taught English and Religion at Badin Senior High School in Hamilton, Ohio, but in July 1970, she joined the American Red Cross to serve with the US troops in Vietnam. She attended Red Cross training classes in Washington D.C. and arrived in Vietnam approximately two weeks later. After a brief period of orientation in Saigon, Ginny was ordered to report to the American Red Cross at Cu Chi to serve as a "Donut Dollie". Cu Chi, located not far from Saigon (now Ho Chi Mihn City) is famous for the intricate underground tunnels built by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong that permeated the area bringing troops and supplies clandestinely all over Vietnam. The Red Cross "Dollie" program sent teams of young women to Vietnam to operate Red Cross Recreation Centers and to conduct audience-participation programs for men stationed in various sections of the country.
Ginny had been in-country in Vietnam for approximately two weeks. During that time she had been taken by helicopter to remote outposts where she provided a much-needed distraction to the men stationed there with her games and other audience participation skits and exercises designed to ease the stress levels of the men, even if only for awhile. Just her presence lifted the mens spirits as she was a reminder of what was waiting for them back home. She had only been back in the base camp at Cu Chi, home to the 25th Infantry Division, for a day or two when, on August 16, 1970, in the middle of the night, someone came into her quarters and stabbed her repeatedly, killing her. A witness saw a white male about age 23, 5'10" and 165 wearing a white t-shirt and dark jacket running from the back door of Ginny's quarters.
In November 1970, Army investigators arrested a young soldier after he failed a polygraph test and confessed to having killed a young woman while high on heroin. He was charged with Ginny's murder but in 1971 the charges were dismissed due to the witness not being able to identify him as the person they saw running from Ginny's living quarters. But he was not the only suspect in her murder.
The morning after Ginny was murdered, an Army soldier named Gregory W. Kozlowski was found to be in possession of a tape recorder and camera which was stolen from the Red Cross billets between 1:00 – 3:50 AM that day, the approximate time of Ginny's murder. These items were the property of the witness at the crime scene who lived three doors from Ginny's room. However, the witness could not positively identify him as the man seen running from the billets.
Army investigators were concerned about Kozlowski's mental status. He was flown to Japan with a preliminary diagnosis of having a mental illness. He was sent back to the United States on convalescent leave but before he left Vietnam/Japan the Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division granted him immunity for the larceny offense for reasons not clear to this author. Presumably, the immunity for the theft was to aid the Army investigators in their case of murder against Kozlowski.
On October 21, 1970, Kozlowski shot himself but did not die. He received medical treatment for the wound and was transferred to Letterman Army General Hospital, at the Presidio, San Francisco. Because there was evidence of mental illness, his case was referred to a medical board for psychiatric evaluation. The Army had continued their investigation of Kozlowski for Ginny's murder and on January 17, 1971, the witness was able to pick Kozlowski's photograph out of a pictorial line-up the investigators presented her. But just a few days before, on January 9, 1971, an Army Medical Review Board issued a finding that Kozlowski was unable to determine right and wrong at the time of Ginny's murder and that he was unable to cooperate intelligently in his own defense. As a result, his pending murder charges were dismissed.
On June 8, 1972, Kozlowski was arrested for the murder of Kenneth A. Glasse, 21 years old, of Milwaukee. The murder occurred in Horicon, Dodge County, Wisconsin. Kozlowski was charged with first degree murder and held in Dodge County Jail under the jurisdiction of Sheriff Edward Nehls. While incarcerated in jail, Kozlowski asked to speak to the Sheriff and admitted to him that he was guilty of murdering a Red Cross girl in Cu Chi, South Vietnam, on August 16, 1970. The sheriff contacted the Army in Washington and confirmed what Kozlowski had told him and they verified Kozlowski was a suspect in Ginny's murder. However, the Army never came to take custody of Kozlowski but reportedly, did close their case as they were convinced he was Ginny's murderer.
Kozlowski stood trial for the murder of Kenneth Glasse but was found "Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity". He was, however, committed to a mental health institution and has lived in one for his entire adult life after coming home from Vietnam except for a brief period in 2008 when the court allowed him to live in a group home in Milwaukee. This was short-lived however, and soon Kozlowski was returned to the institution. As of this writing, he is still a patient at the Winnebago Mental Health Institution.
Time has marched on since Ginny's death. Her death has all but been forgotten except by her family and the men and women she worked with. Her name is NOT on the Vietnam War Memorial wall in Washington, D. C. as she was not a member of the military and did not die in combat, but it is on an American Red Cross plaque honoring the Red Cross workers killed in Vietnam. The fact her name is not on "The Wall" is a travesty, just like her murder not being avenged by the United States Army/government is a travesty of justice.
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