Larry Eugene Smedley

United States Marine Corps
04 March 1949 - 21 December 1967
Orlando, Florida
Panel 32E Line 040


Medal of Honor

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Larry Eugene Smedley

Larry E Smedley

11 Apr 2002


by John Barrett

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States
in the name of the Congress of the United States
takes pride in presenting the

Medal of Honor


Larry Eugene Smedley
United States Marine Corps

for service as set forth in the following


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader with Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, in connection with operations against the enemy. On the evenings of 20-21 December 1967, CPL Smedley led his 6-man squad to an ambush site at the mouth of Happy Valley, near Phouc Ninh (2) in Quang Nam Province. Later that night an estimated 100 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army regulars, carrying 122mm rocket launchers and mortars, were observed moving toward Hill 41. Realizing this was a significant enemy move to launch an attack on the vital Danang complex, CPL Smedley immediately took sound and courageous action to stop the enemy threat. After he radioed for a reaction force, he skillfully maneuvered his men to a more advantageous position and led an attack on the numerically superior enemy force. A heavy volume of fire from an enemy machinegun positioned on the left flank of the squad inflicted several casualties on CPL Smedley's unit. Simultaneously, an enemy rifle grenade exploded nearby, wounding him in the right foot and knocking him to the ground. CPL Smedley disregarded this serious injury and valiantly struggled to his feet, shouting words of encouragement to his men. He fearlessly led a charge against the enemy machinegun emplacement, firing his rifle and throwing grenades, until he was again struck by enemy fire and knocked to the ground. Gravely wounded and weak from loss of blood, he rose and commenced a one-man assault against the enemy position. Although his aggressive and singlehanded attack resulted in the destruction of the machinegun, he was struck in the chest by enemy fire and fell mortally wounded. CPL Smedley's inspiring and courageous actions, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty in the face of certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

11 Nov 2002

On this the 11th day of November 2002, the day after the Marine Corps Birthday, it is only fitting that a member of the Vietnam Veterans of Central Florida spends a moment here remembering and giving praise to Orange County Florida's only Medal of Honor recipient. Larry, your name is on our wall of honor, and we have dedicated our pavilion in your name as well. You and the rest of our departed brothers and sisters are forever in our thoughts.

From a brother Marine,
Dan Mills

13 Dec 2004

I have never heard of a braver man. I am joining the Corps in a few months, and I will be honored to say that Cpl. Smedley was (and will forever be) my older brother. It fills me with so much pride to be able to say that. I wish I could have met Cpl. Smedley. His valiant sacrifice will be remembered for centuries to come.

From a future Marine,
Bryan Olson
Loomis, California

17 Dec 2004

The first time I heard of CPL Smedley was right after "911".

A former recruiter told me about what he had done. Just by listening to the story, it gave me the strength and courage I needed to join the Marine Corps. Ever since I've never been more proud of my accomplishments.

Therefore, I pay my respect to this remarkable Marine.

You've inspired future generations.

Semper FI, Oorah!

"Once A Marine Always A Marine"

From a brother Marine,
LCpl Miguel A. Lopez

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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