David Neil Larson

United States Navy
14 February 1949 - 08 August 1972
Wausa, Nebraska
Panel 01W Line 062


David N Larson

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for David Neil Larson

10 Apr 2004

Dave, I think of you virtually every day. You are missed and loved. I know that you are in peace in a better place and that eases some of the hurt. Genie tells me frequently that you were her rock while I was in Nam. Thanks. I never had the opportunity to convey that. Go with God and rest in peace, brother.

Denny Larson

12 Apr 2004

David, I did not know you personally, but I was out there on those "tin cans" with you, and know what you were going through. Knowing your brother, Denny, and the wife, Genie, I can only wish I had known you also. I have visited you at the Wall in DC, and at several traveling walls, and will continue to do so until the day we can meet in that better place. Some gave all, thank you, bless you.

From a friend,
Ed Anderson
U S Navy (Ret)
E-mail address is not available.

9 Aug 2004

David, it has taken me 30 years to finally face the horrors of what happened that day. You were a very good friend to me as was Bob Mills. I am now facing PTSD and hopefully your memory and the others will get me though this. We served together since I came on the ship in late 1971.

A lot has happened since that terrible June day. I can still smell the flesh and blood. I pray for you and the others frequently now and hope that God will keep you tight to his side and bring you everlasting peace.

John F. Tobin

23 Dec 2004


You and your family have been in my heart and prayers for all these years and will continue to be there for life; thereafter we will meet again.

I am the Hospital Corpsman who treated you aboard the STODDERT and evacuated you for more care.

We will have a Ship's Reunion in 2005 and I will make sure that you attend that with me. I carry your memorial from the Wall with me at all times along with the other shipmates that lost their lives on that day none of us will ever forget.

You are in a much safer and better place that we are and I am proud to say it was a great honor to serve with a true hero.

From a shipmate,
Troy W Dooley

14 Feb 2005

I think of you often, David, and talk by e-mail to your brother. You are frequently on my mind, especially during the spring of the year. On Memorial Day 2000 I dedicated a ceremony to you and the others of the STODDERT. I am sure you know that, but just wanted others of us still here to know that also. During the time we were together on the ship 6/1969 until I left 12/71, we worked together, you in the deck force and later in Mount 51 where I was the Gun Captain. I continue to wonder why this happened to such a great guy and I was spared by being transfered a few months before. I hope that the answer is to honor you and the others.

From a shipmate,
Alan Waller
711 26th Ave N W, Minot, Nd 58703

08 Mar 2007

Dave, shipmate and buddy. Only the best memories live on. The work you put in on the underway fueling stations on the "Benny Sweat". I fondly recall the stuffed bird of paradise you bought when we were in Indonesia. I think that it was to be a gift for your Mom. Rest in Peace.

From a shipmate,
Mike Hoffman
Enfield, Ct 06082

29 Aug 2007

Dear Denny and Shipmates of the BENJAMIN STODDERT,

I am a combat vet from the U.S. Navy who served on the gun line in 1972 in Vietnam. I am ashamed I was never aware of the gun explosion on the USS BENJAMIN STODDERT (DDG-22) on 26 June 1972. My deepest sincere sympathy all of you and your families. I read your great memorial and it really pulled hard on my heart. It brings back a lot of difficult memories of that time.

I served on the only heavy cruiser in the Navy in 1972. We arrived in Vietnam in May of 1972. Unfortunately on October 1, 1972 at 1:00 A.M. our Turret 2 exploded killing 20 great men. Please visit our memorial to our fallen shipmates.

We lost two other men in accidents previous to the explosion.

I share e-mails with many of the former crew members of my ship. There are over a hundred on the e-mail list who served aboard over the many years she was in service. I will forward your memorial to them. I'm sure many will visit the site in tribute to your brothers and shipmates sacrifice to their country.

My mind is always back there. I just wanted to pay my respects.

David Holt
USS Newport News CA-148
Vietnam 1972

28 Jan 2008

Larson: I served with Big Red on the Benjamin Stoddart during a WestPac and became a member of the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club while on the gunline in 1970. I heard about his passing only after I got back stateside. My memories are all good ones.

John Gouskos

12 Feb 2008

David, I didn't know you well: you were a very short-timer and I had almost 4 years left to go; you were a Gunner's Mate, I was an Engineman. But I knew you were a fellow Nebraskan and that you missed our home as much as I did.

On June 26, 1972, I had been aboard the Stoddert not even two months. My GQ station was FWD Diesel, but I wasn't allowed to go there because of fear of secondary explosions. A chief grabbed me, and I and another sailor were tasked to help clean out the live rounds from Mount 51. I saw the Chief wounded and moaning, and felt helpless watching them recover the officer's body, as we carried WP rounds to the rail and tossed them overboard. I knew that I'd never look at life the same again. When we got the news that you had died in August, I thought of the pain your family must have suffered.

God Bless you and keep you.

From a shipmate,
Art Hansen
May 1972-January 1976
Now in Kearney, NE

11 Mar 2008

Dave, it has been a few years since the Mount 51 incident. It was hard to lose as good a friend as you. We were joking together just seconds before all hell broke loose. Dave, I know you are with God, and someday, when my time comes, I will meet up with you again. I could say more, but then I am not a guy that goes on. See ya, buddy.

From a shipmate,
Cliff Jensen

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In response to the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam in the Spring of 1972 (the "Easter Invasion") President Nixon directed that the naval forces operating off-shore be reinforced. A considerable proportion of the reinforcements consisted of "gun line" ships - destroyers and cruisers suitable for providing naval gunfire support to troops ashore.

USS BENJAMIN STODDERT (DDG-22) was one of the gun line ships, and she conducted numerous fire support missions without incident. However, on 26 June 1972 she suffered an explosion in a 5" turret, killing two crewmen outright and wounding a number of others. Two of the wounded later died of their injuries. The four men were

  • Lieutenant Commander Michael J. Martin, Kew Gardens, NY (KIA)
  • Senior Chief Gunner's Mate Gordon R. Uhler, Toledo, OH (DoW 06/28/1972)
  • Gunner's Mate 1st Class Robert T. Mills, Clearlake Highlands, CA (KIA)
  • Seaman David N. Larson, Wausa, NE (DoW 08/08/1972)

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Apr 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009