Sandhill and Sun Ranch


     Al was the second of 12 children raised on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Cuming County, Nebraska. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a field radio operator from 1969 to 1972, including a tour in Vietnam on artillery forward observer teams. Al received his B.S. in Wildlife Science from the University of Idaho, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in Range Management/Agriculture, specializing in Fire Ecology.
     From 1982 to 2006 Al worked for The Nature Conservancy. During this time he focused on managing, and conducting research on large native grassland preserves with bison and fire. While with the Conservancy, Al held concurrent adjunct faculty appointments with South Dakota State University, the University of Nebraska on its Lincoln and Omaha campuses, and with the University of Oklahoma. He has authored or co-authored over 40 peer reviewed scientific publications.
     In addition to his work with the Conservancy, Al with his wife Lois and their four children developed a cow/calf, yearling, and grass-finishing cattle operation on a combination of owned and rented rangeland in the Nebraska Sand Hills. Currently, Al is operating the family ranch, doing private consulting within the U.S. and internationally, writing, and providing leadership on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations.


     Book Cover

     Description: "IN THE LAST YEARS OF A LOST WAR" is one marine's story of war and lost idealism, love and redemption.  Al Steuter recounts his Vietnam experience from memories reinforced with the declassified Command Chronologies of the units he served with, and the letters he sent back home to his girlfriend - Lois. The book describes how he came to enlist in the Marine Corps, and volunteer for Vietnam and combat duty, at a time when most young men were avoiding military service. However, this is not a book about combat. Though contact with the enemy was frequent and violent, the engagements were small-scale and brief. It is a book about Steuter's involvement in the last years of this controversial hot war within the global Cold War.  He served as an itinerant field radio operator on a succession of artillery forward observer teams attached to U.S. and Korean Marine infantry companies and artillery batteries.
     Steuter describes his service as an individual case of the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that combatants face. During his time in Vietnam, he gradually shed the complexities of his Catholic Faith and youthful patriotism, in favor of a very personal relationship with God and a self-reliant attempt to do his personal best in a war which he came to realize was lost. Steuter left Vietnam emotionally conflicted, angry with himself and his country, and addicted to the tension and danger of the bush. In the end, a difficult but ultimately enduring relationship with Lois, and a love for wild lands helped him deal with the lasting personal struggles of a combatant living with the death and killing of war.

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