went through Boot Camp together
by Valentin Andrade to Larry Daniels' nephew, Raymond Tatum
Raymond, I arrived
in Vietnam on July 13, 1966 three days after my 18th birthday and
joined my..... our Battery (Whiskey Battery [4.2 inch or 107 MM
mortars], 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
on or about July 18, 1966. Sleep was fitful at best.
I was sent from
Chu Lai to Danang via helicopter and from there to Dong Ha via small
aircraft called a Caribou, then a wild helicopter ride to a place
near the DMZ. Operation HASTINGS was to all that were there, a tough
time. We received fire day and night.The next three weeks after
arriving there are a blur to me now.
At the time it
seemed that night came all to soon. The daytime seemed safer to me,
it wasn't, just seemed that way. The terrain was very mountainous
and lots of jungle. I had never been so tired and dirty in my life.
Being fresh from the world I was used to regular meals and bathing.
Marines in the bush, especially unexperienced ones get a rude awakening
The men I joined
in the field were the best I have ever known. I was helped and advised
as much as possible, and the transition to combat was made easier.
I will never forget any of those men. I cannot remember most of their
names now because the Battery was in a transition period, that is
it was a rotation period, men were rotating back to the States and
people were leaving all the time.
There were several
Marine Infantry Companys that came into our area, your Uncle may have
been with them, we all look the same in green uniforms with helmets
low over our eyes. He could have walked by me, and I would not have
I spoke with a
member of our Boot Camp Platoon 274 by the name of Whitehead. He was
the one that told me of Larry's death. I was surprised to learn that
it had occured on HASTINGS, and that I had been close by. He told
me that your Uncle died while charging a machinegun emplacement.
Your Uncle was
a tough man. During Boot Camp and Infantry Training he never lagged
behind, that was a source of pride for us both. His position in our
squad was right in front of me, and I stayed on his butt no matter
how tired I was.
The last time
I saw Larry was right after Infantry Training at Camp Horno, Camp
Pendleton, California, sometime in December 1965. Some of us had to
stay in camp for an Artillery School over Christmas and everybody
else went home for leave and then joined there outfits in the 1st
Marine Division. There is not much more that I can remember about
Larry. He was a short man, but he never backed down from a fight,
and Marines fight amongst themselves all the time, sometimes just
for fun. Weird, but true.
These past 36
years since your Uncle's death have been kind to me. I guess that
is what makes the death of all those young men so hard at times. We
have gotten to enjoy life while they lost theirs in a far off place.
The anniversary of his death is close, and I will go to a Grotto close
to my house and light a candle for your Uncle and all the friends
we lost in that War. Please feel free to contact me if you or anyone
in your family is ever in San Antonio, Texas.
Honour Of My Uncle
All my life, I've been told about how wonderful my uncle was by my
mother (she is Larry's older sister). Mom and Larry were only 1 year
apart, so they grew up very close and had a history that I've been
told about all my life. I am a little wistful that I never got a chance
to meet him as I was born 15 years after he died in Vietnam. I bear
his middle name in rememberance of his life. However, in spite of
not seeing him, I am very proud of him for the service he provided
for the USA, his sacrifice, and I am proud of him for being such a
great friend to all who served with him. I know he makes my mother
proud every day, and he made my grandmother proud every day.
son of Sandra Jean Daniels, sister of Lawrence E. Daniels
I miss you and I still think about our times growing up. I spent 3
years in the Army and always wanted to revenge your death. However
I was not chosen to go and do it. Out of all of us from the neighborhood
you were the only one who did not come back. Thanks for your sacrifice
We all miss you.