Memorial Day 2011

 

Larry Joe Young, Sgt, USMC, 10 Jan 49-22 Sep 02

 

Iím dedicating my 2011 Memorial Day to Larry Young, a lifelong friend, comrade in arms and fellow Marine.

 

†† Larry and I met in late Feb 1968.I was sitting on the back of 6X (2 Ĺ T) truck when this arm stretches up towards me and the Marine yells out ďgive me hand up boyĒ! I could tell from his voice he was a country bumpkin from the deep south.†† We had both just finished up with Operation Hue City during Tet 68.I was with Bravo 1st Bn, 1st Mar and he was with 2nd Bn, 1st Mar.We both volunteered for the Combined Action Program (CAP) although neither of us knew what in the hell it was, but knew it had to be better than a Marine rifle company.††† The truck took us to the airfield at Phu Bai and we were headed towards DaNang, the III MAF CAP school near China Beach.

For those that donít know it, CAP was a Marine initiative to help pacify villages throughout I Corps.A squad of 12 Marines and one Corpsman were assigned to remote villages to help defend the area, collect intelligence and train/work with local militia normally 20-30 young boys or old men.You were out on your own using different organizations for support with artillery and/or air support.††

We attended the CAP school for about 3 weeks or so, learning some of the language, culture, and enemy weapons.†† Unfortunately, we had a little too much to drink one night and decided to go outside the old French fort walls to have a few more drinks on the local economy.†† The USMC frowned on that and Larry, me and 2 other Marines were reduced in rank and fined $50 a month for 2 mos as the result of Art 15s the morning we were departing for are new units.(of course if we had knew the regulations at the time.. we would of asked for Summary CM.. and they would of let it slide because it would of took to long to gather a board, of course the sound of a CM was scary).

†† We were both assigned to 1st Combined Action Group, Hqíd out of Chu Lai, I went to India 3 and Larry went to India 2, both west of Tam Ky, which just happened to be about 300 yards away from us on a hill above my CAP.†† So during our time there we got a chance to keep in touch, especially when I got a pkg from home.. Larry would scurry his ass off that hill to enjoy some of the things my mother would send.He was particularly thrilled with the canned Chef Boyardee raviolis.We would have joint patrols and/or ambushes occasionally that both of us would volunteer for.On one occasion that I remember he and I volunteered to walk point for an Army Co. that was moving through our area.The Army Co. was going back down towards the Americal Div area near Chu Lai which was quite a distance.†† So we stopped for the night.The Army troops were so noisy and carefree that Larry and I decided to sleep about 100 yds away from the main group just in-case they were attacked.†††

†† Larry and I both ended up leaving our original CAPs, he went down to Lima 6 and I went up to India 7.†† Larry ended up getting wounded (shrapnel to the back of his hand)..a very minor wound,however this would come in handy for Larry later on as a way to sleaze out of a cruise at Camp Lejuene.

†† I left Vietnam in late Nov 68 and went to E Co.2nd Bn 2nd Mar at Camp Lejuene, NC.†† Within the month Larry came wondering into the Co orderly room, he was assigned to the same Co.†† He also ended up with the awful task of being the Co Cdrís driverÖ a job any proud Marine would turn down!! Haha††† He had brought his wife and relatively new born daughter with him.†† He rented a trailer and later on when my wife joined me we rented a small house about 100 ft away.He had a car and I didnít so we relied on the Youngís for transportation when needed.Of course they were always happy to help out.†† As a matter of fact, their baby dau, Laura, was the first baby I ever rocked to sleep and I was damned proud of that fact.†††

†† Our unit was scheduled for a Caribbean cruise in May of 69 which at the time was called a Bn Landing Team (BLT), now itís called a MEF.††† If you remember I mentioned Larryís woundÖ well all of a sudden his hand was bothering him and he needed physical therapy and couldnít make the cruiseÖÖ. Something I never let him live down!!!

I did the cruise and in the mean time Larry managed to get a job at Camp Geiger trainingInf Marines.††

Upon my return I ended up going TAD to Geiger in the same Bn as Larry.††

Needless to say, it seems Larry and I were destined to be friends.

We both got early outs in May 70 because the Marine Corps was scaling back on itís war participation.He went back home to Al and I to Pa.††

†† I ended up going into the Army a couple months later.†† Larry and I kept in touch throughout the years.We visited each other when we could.Of course he ended up with 4 kids, 2 dauís and being the good southern boy he was, kept trying for a son and finally had twin boys.!! Haha

†† I would have to say Larry put the same dedication and initiative into being a husband/father as he did being a good Marine.††

†† Larry was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, but didnít slow down that much.I was at his home on 9/11 and we watched those towers fall together.†† My wife and I had flown up, but had to drive the rental car back because of the flight cancellations.††

†† Larry and Jennifer came to visit us in 2002 and we drove out to Colorado together.That was the last time I got to spend much time with Larry.He died the following year from Agent Orange related cancer.††

†† I donít think thereís a day that goes by that I donít think of Larry in some manner.†† Itís hard to find a lifelong friend in todayís busy world, so I cherish the friendship I had with Larry Joe.

Please take the time on this Memorial day to think of a veteran thatís moved on !!

 

Iíll catch up with Larry again someday and Iím sure our friendship will continue.

 

Semper Fidelis

 

Fred

†† ††††††††††††††††††

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††† Larry J. Young1968