Larry Sims McKibben

Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
29 August 1947 - 02 May 1968
Houston, Texas
Panel 54E Line 013


Distinguished Service Cross

Army Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Larry Sims McKibben

26 Dec 2005

A great friend,
A great inspiration to us all.


A Note from The Virtual Wall

Detachment B-52, 5th SF Group, also known as "Project Delta" was located at Nha Trang but was tasked with providing special-area and cross-border patrols throughout much of South Vietnam. On 02 May 1968 Det B-52 lost two men: While the casualty database indicates both died within Military Region 2, South Vietnam, several privately operated Internet sites indicate their patrol unit actually was operating across the border in Cambodia in the "Fishhook" area. The Valor Remembered Foundation site has two linked pages regarding the incident in which SFC Wright's team was assaulted by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops.

In summation, SFC Wright led a team composed of three Americans, two ARVN officers, and seven CIDG troops. The team was inserted by helicopter into an area thoroughly controlled by the NVA. Shortly after insertion, the team encountered two NVA troops and killed both - but not before one of the NVA got off a shot, thereby warning his comrades. Wright's team continued, but then encountered and in a brief but noisy fight killed (without injury to themselves) a 12-man NVA patrol. An emergency extraction was initiated, but the extraction helicopters (from the 240th AHC) came under fire about five miles before reaching the pick-up zone and themselves suffered losses. At this point, SFC Wright was severely wounded; he then rolled onto a hand grenade in order to protect his troops and was further injured when it exploded; and finally was killed by gunshot. SSG Mousseau, the second in command and himself badly wounded, took command. A 5th SF Group relief team led by Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez was introduced in a second emergency extraction effort, during which three crewmen from the 240th AHC were killed:

  • WO Larry S. McKibben, Houston, TX, pilot (Dist Svc Cross)
  • SP4 Michael D. Craig, Rosemead, CA, crew chief
  • SP4 Nelson E. Fournier, Schenectady, NY, gunner
According to the VHPA, these three men were
"shot while waiting for wounded to be loaded on board by SSG Roy Benadvidez, who won the last Medal of Honor on this day. NVA were charging the aircraft, but McKibben would not leave without the wounded. He was [posthumously] awarded the Distinguished Service Medal."
The VHPA indicates the helicopter, UH-1H tail number 66-00699, was "capable of one time flight" and the surviving pilot, CW2 William Fernan, apparently flew it out.

Of the 12-man recon team, six were dead or dying - SFC Wright, SSG Mousseau, and four Vietnamese. The only American survivor, radioman Sp4 Brian O'Connor, was severely injured and was evacuated from Vietnam before his superiors could fully debrief him on the mission. Although Sp4 O'Connor recovered, it is not known whether the remaining five Vietnamese team members survived their wounds.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009