Lawrence “Larry” Ireland – born in Flint, MI but a true Texan to the “T” having been a resident in the state 7 years prior to and 29 years after the war – was 23 years old when he volunteered for the Army in 1966. His first stop was Fort Sam Houston where he underwent basic training and preparation for specializing as a medic.
He arrived in Vietnam on January 6, 1967 and was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in Pleiku.
His first five months were concentrated in the field in the Pleiku area battling the Viet Cong. Intense fighting took place during this period with much of it in thick jungle-ridden areas. As a result, much of the combat took place in close proximity, which led to a majority of his time being directed at administering treatment to the wounded. In June 1967 the Platoon, and Larry, were moved to an area south of Da Nang near a village called Duc Pho residing on the South China Sea.
About a month and a half later, on July 15, 1967, Larry and his Company were conducting a search and destroy operation south of Duc Pho in temperatures reaching 103 degrees and higher. An intense eight-hour battle broke out after contact was made with an enemy unit, resulting in a large number of casualties. It was during this severe skirmish that Larry exemplified the character that defined him throughout his life. Without hesitation, he exerted every ounce of energy trudging through the virtually impenetrable underbrush and heavy, heavy enemy fire to provide aid to the wounded. Upon stabilizing his fellow soldiers, he carried them back to the evacuation point to safety and then re-joined his Platoon in completing the assault on the enemy. For this gallantry in action, Larry was recommended for and received the Silver Star Award.
Not long after the battle, on August 10, he was taken out of the field and sent to the 25th Medical outside Duc Pho, but the “good life” didn’t last long when he was called back to the field only 5 days later on August 15.
Larry was again taken out of the field on his 24th birthday, August 31, 1967 spending much of September through November moving in and out as needed.
On November 16, 1967 he was taken out of the field for good.
The Silver Star Award was officially bestowed upon him on December 14, 1967 in Vietnam for his valor in the July 15th battle. “What a way to leave Vietnam” he said receiving his orders to come home a few days later.
Larry died July 7, 1997 due to complications from Agent Orange having lived a life as an amazing husband, father, son and friend to all.