Larry Eldon SmithPrivate First Class
C CO, 3RD BN, 7TH INF RGT, 199 INF BDE
Army of the United States
19 January 1947 - 02 February 1967
Panel 14E Line 109
The database page for Larry Eldon Smith
I want to hear from anyone who served with Larry Eldon Smith. I pray that I am not too late to find someone who was with him on the day that he died. Just stories of the time you knew him. I am also looking for pictures. Please help me to know more of what happened during the time he was in Vietnan. Thanks for your help.
Letters to me about what happened the day Larry gave his life.
10 Feb 2006
We lived on the same street when I was 11 years old. Your age at that time was 14 years old. Our homes were only about 5 houses apart. I remember seeing you around on your bike. We all went swimming at the same place. I do not remember how long we lived there on the same street. My mother moved a lot. I think that we moved 5 times when I was 11 to 13 years old.
We started dating when I was 13. I lived at 6006 North Hale Ave. We spent a lot of time at my home. We would sit outside in your car or stand and talk in the front yard. When we went in the house my mother would get up and talk with us. I would make coffee or hot cocoa. My mother was fine with her children staying up all night. She never got upset with us and the noise at night. If she could hear us in the house she knew that we were close. She love the noise of us having fun. My family always had a lot of fun and laughs.
It was at the beach that I saw you next. There was a dance on Saturday and Sunday. You dressed like the movie guy in "Rebel without a Cause." The rolled up sleeves and your hair was like Elvis. You always had blue jeans on that were like your skin. Week after week I watched you at the beach. I remember thinking what a great body you had when you walked by me every week. You were wide at the top and small at the hips. The greatest set of legs on any man. Three weeks of watching you walk by me. Then I had to say something to you. Then we talked for many weeks after that first time. Then one weekend, it was time for me to walk home. You asked me if you could drive me home? I told you I could walk home, I had been walking home all summer. I told you I was not sure if I should. You said you would take me home. That I would be safe with you. I said okay and I did get in the car with you. You started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. You went away from my house. I said to myself, when he comes to a stop sign I would jump out of the car. You knew or could feel that I was getting upset. You started talking to me. Your calm voice helped me settle down. You drove to a restaurant near the beach. You said you would take me home after I had something to eat. Everyone knew you at the restaurant. After we ate you drove me home. You told me that I should not just get in the car with anyone. You came in the house and introduced yourself to my Mom. You did not ask for my phone number, so I was not sure if you liked me.
The drive-in movie theater had seats in front of the snack bar. If you did not have a car to go to the drive-in movie at that time, you could still go and sit in the seats in front of the snack bar. My Mom or Dad would drop my brothers and I off at the drive-in office on weekends.
We would pay our way in and sit in the seats in front of the snack bar. Every other Saturday night was all night movies. All night movie night was the only time I did not have to be home at 12 midnight. If we did not find a ride home by morning we walked or called Mom to come pick us up. Some of our friends always took us home. I was walking around the aisles at the drive-in looking to see who was there that night. You called to me. It was the first time I had seen you after you drove me home from the beach. I talked to you at window of your car. I laugh now, I guess you were at the movies looking to pick up some girls. You and another guy were there at the movies. We talked for some time. Then you told the guy to get in the back seat of the car. You ask if I would like to sit and watch the movie with you. I did join you that night. You took us home the next morning.
The next morning when I came in the kitchen my Mom asked me what is that on my neck. I acted dumb and said what is wrong with my neck. She told me to go look in the mirror. I did and knew that you had put three hickeys on my neck. I said I am not sure what it was on my neck. My Mom told me all about them and how I came by them. She said that I better never get any more. You had told me that you were coming to see me that evening. Mom was waiting on you. She told you not to put any more marks on me. You always loved to kiss me on my neck. To this day I still love to have my neck kissed.
Our love was sweet. I told you that marriage was the only way that I would give myself to anyone. That I would only marry someone that I loved with my whole heart. You respected me for my beliefs. You never pushed about sex. Your respect of my feeling was what made you the master of my heart. After I told you that I did not like cussing or drinking you made sure that it was never any part of our time together.
We talked about marriage. I knew that it was the one thing that you wanted for us. When I was 15, you asked me to run away and marry you. I told you that I would not do that to my parents. We should not treat our parents that way. You went to talk to my parents about us getting married. My parents were just fine with us getting married. Your parents wanted you to wait until you turned 21 years old.
I need to deal with the time that you went to Georgia. You told me that you were going up there to get a job. You said that you were going to send the money for me to catch a bus to come up there to get married. You had told me that you would keep in touch with me. You never wrote me or called. I know that you had a problem with the law in Georgia. Your Father had to go get you out of jail.
You went to Georgia just before school started in 1965. You went to get a job and a place for us to live. You said that just as soon as you showed your parents that you could take care of us that they would say okay for us to get married. That was not what happened. You got into some trouble in Georgia. Your parents had to go and get you. It was not that you did anything wrong. It was the guy who shared rent with you that got you into trouble. He did B&Es and stored the stuff at the apartment. So you went to jail with that guy. Should I say that the police took you both to jail. You had no idea that he was that kind of guy.
The first day you were back from Georgia you came by the school and waited until I came out. You pulled up next to me said Hi Babe. You said come I will take you home. I got in the car. You started in on me about my hair. You loved my long dark brown hair. I had cut my hair and become a blond. You said that you did not like the change. You said that you loved my brown hair. You told me that I was a dark haired beauty, that I did not need to be a blond to be better looking. You loved me just the way God made me. My feelings were hurt. One thing was that you had not written for about three months while you were gone. I waited for your call or a letter. I became silent with my hurt feelings. You knew that I was going to pout. So you told me, as you had many times, "When you want to see me call and I will be right here". I could pout a long time.
I was still pouting 6 weeks later. That was a record for me. I was babysitting when you knocked on the door. I remember my voice was sharp to you. I knew that you had to have gone to my house and my mother told you where I was. I was not to have boys visit me while I was babysitting. You were there to test the waters. I was cold to you still because I was hurt about what you said about my hair. You were hoping that I would calm down so we could start dating again. You saw that I was still pouting so you asked me to give the ring back, the ring that I had been wearing for two years. I told you to wait and I would call my mother and see if she would give it to you. She said no. I told you to come back later after I was home and I would give it back. It was at home in my dresser.
Another 6 weeks and we were not dating. So your mother called my mother to see how they could get me to calmed down. Your mother was so worried about you. You were not being yourself. You were like a lost soul. She told my mother every day your face grew longer. Your sad and lost look did worry your whole family.
On New Year's Day my mother told me to call you and ask you to come over for lunch that day. I said to her if she wanted you to come she could call you. She was not backing down on me making this call to you. I told her that I was not going to cook anything for you. She said that that was okay but she wanted you to come at 1 pm that day. I did what she said to do. I called your Aunt's house and asked to speak to you. Your not having a phone at your house was why I had to call her house. She heard my voice and said do not hang up, he will be right here.
She lived 3 houses down the street from your home. It was early in the morning when I called. On your day off from work you did not like getting up before 12. It did not take long for you to get to the phone that day. You said, Hi Babe. I still had ice in my voice to you. You were just so sweet and kind to me. I told you to come to lunch at 1pm. You said "See you soon, Babe".
You came 15 minutes early. I was real happy that you came early to my home. It said to me he cares. When you came in the house, my Mother told you that I had not cooked for you. You said that it was okay. You told my Mother that you would take me out to eat. I said that I was not going any place with you.
I was being a brat. My mother said that it would be okay with her. I turned to my mother and told her I was not going with you. She told me to go get ready to go. I said that I did not want to go. Mom said do it now.
So, I did get dressed to go with you. I was just being a real brat. I wanted to be with you. I wanted you to beg me to forgive you. You would not give in to my idea of how things should be for it to be okay with me. So we went to eat. You asked me what I wanted to eat. I told you that I did not want anything to eat because I would not tell you what I wanted to eat. You ordered the one thing that you knew I loved to eat. I did not touch the meal. So you had it put in a box to go. You said that I could eat it later. I had the brat act down to a fine art. You would not give in to me. We got back in the car. You gave me a box to open. It was a pretty key chain with my name on it. I said thanks and put it in my pocket. We drove around for a long time. I asked you if you would let me drive your car. You pulled in to a parking lot and let me get behind the wheel of the car. You did not tell me the car had touchy brakes. I hit the brakes too hard and you hit your head. You got a big knot over your right eye. You turned the car off and took the keys. You told me that I was not going to drive any more that day. Here goes another pout for me. I know now you were trying not to get hurt any more that day. You did not know if I could handle the car. It is a good thing that you did not let me drive the car. The first day I got my driver's license I hit the tree in my front yard. It caved in the left side of my Dad's car. My Mother asked "How did you get the knot on your forehead?" You told her that you hit it in the car. It is true about hitting in the car. I helped you get it.
You then asked if I would go to the movies that night with you. I said no. But Mother said I would be ready at 7:30pm. You said see you later Babe. You then kissed me on the head. I was still being a brat. So I went across the street and called a guy that I had been seeing and told him that my Mom was trying to make me go out with you, that you were coming to get me at 7:30pm that night. He said that he would pick me up at 7:00pm. When he came to get me that night my Mother said "Paula, you have a date with Larry." Mom was standing in the front yard yelling, "You cannot leave. What am I going to tell Larry?" I told her that she had made the date so she could keep it. I am sure you, Mom and Cathy Jo would have made a cute group.
That all happened on Jan. 1, 1966, a Saturday. On Thursday of the next week Mom and I went to my Grandmother's in the evening. We had just come in the door when the phone rang. My Grandmother answered the phone. She said yes and said to my Mother that it was for her. Mom took the phone and said hello. If I remember right she said "Sure, that is fine. Yes, I understand fully. Just do what you have to do." Then she turned and handed me the phone and said it was for me. I was puzzled. I said hello and you said hello Babe. The ice in my voice could have given you frost bite. You were so kind to me. You asked me if you could take me to the movies on Friday? I told you I was busy. You then asked for Saturday. I told you that I already had a date on Saturday. You asked me about the next week. I told you that I was booked for that also. That is when you said Paula you will be there on Friday night waiting on me. I said no way. You said listen if you are not there I will come looking for you. When I find you I will beat that dried up drink of water into a big wet spot. You said that you had put up with this stuff far too long. Did I understand that you loved me? I always knew that you loved me. I was just being a brat. That was the last time I ever had a pouting spell. We saw one another every day until you went to boot camp.
I was not a bad child, just a rebel. I had my own ideas about things. My parents just did not know how to handle me. I was a hand-full for them. I did not handle your being gone to boot camp. I was put in the hospital 3 times while you were in boot camp. Your not being there was hell for me. You always took care of me. I was so upset about you being away. My stomach was bleeding. Two times for my stomach to the hospital.
I had been horseback riding. The horse threw me. I hit the ground and the horse stepped in the middle of me. I did not know I was hurt. I was bleeding inside for three weeks. I was passing out from the loss of blood. They operated - I was hemorrhaging and almost died. You came home on leave while I was still in the hospital. Your mother told you that I had lost a baby. How could you believe that of me? You knew how I was about sex before marriage. I would never let anyone touch me. No one was going to get in my pants without marriage. I had respect for myself. I never let you touch me and you were my whole world. It was important to me to give that one gift to my husband. I did not want to be used before I was married. I wanted my husband to be the first to unwrap and enjoy my full love and know that no one else had been there before him. It was my dream that you would be my husband. I was a good girl until I did get married. You know that I wrote to you almost every day you were in boot camp.
I was in the hospital a lot of that time. So I did not have time to date. I was waiting on you. I was in the hospital some of the time you were in jump school. I was sick because of you being gone. I was missing you so badly. I guess I did make myself sick from missing you. I quit eating and lost a lot of weight - 4 dress sizes. Every time I did eat it would come right back up. I did write to you a lot about how sad I was with you being gone.
I did not pass to the next grade because I had been in the hospital so much. Your being gone had not done anything for me but make me sick. I hated your being gone. I had always knew before that I could call you any time and you would come to me right away. It may have been wrong but you were my whole world. If you were near, I was fine.
I know now that I should have married you. You could have just said to me, we are getting married and that is that. You would not have gone to Vietnam. You would have been here with me. It was not so important to have your mother's blessing. She would have come around as soon as she saw how happy we were all the time.
You came home from jump school and asked your parents again to give their blessing for you and I to marry. You told your parents that if they would give their blessing for us to marry, you would not go to Vietnam. You had been hurt in jump school and were having a lot of problems with your knee. The Army wanted to let you out of the service. You had told them that you needed to go home first. They let you go home so you could think about what to do. Your parents said no, wait one year. That was never to happen. You lost your life so far away. Your dream of us as husband and wife was gone. Our hearts have always been as one because of the our love.
I did marry three years later to a man a lot like you. We are still married now, almost 30 years. He is not you. I keep kissing him and pray that he will turn into you. One million kisses and he has not turned into you. We have two children, a girl and boy. My children know all about you, my Love. I named my daughter after someone in the last movie we saw together. She called me the other day and said Mom did you get my name from a Elvis movie? I told her it was the last movie I remember seeing with you. She said another piece of the puzzle. She went to "The Wall" and took pictures and did bring a rubbing of your name to me. It will not replace you not being here.
I am going to the "The Wall" this March. I hope that it will help me to heal from the loss. I am not sure if I can heal from you not being with me. I still miss you. I have never stopped telling people about you. All the joy of knowing you and all the great times I shared with you. You will always be my Sweetheart. Just to hold your hand would give me great joy. The memories are great. We spent a lot of time at my house with my family around us. You were always glad just to be with me. Every time you would hold me close, I knew you always wanted me right next to you forever and always. I knew my place was at your side. Your Mother and my Mother both knew that we were lost without the other. I am still lost without you here with me. It has been almost 33 years and I miss you with all that is me. The world is all wrong without you here with me. No one knows how I hurt everyday. I am the clown to cover the hurt inside. They say the good die young. What did I do that made me have to be here without you?
We never yelled or said bad things to one another. Ours was a kind and loving friendship. I just pouted trying to get my way. You were always so kind and loving with me. You let me have my way most of the time. If you thought I would get hurt you would not let me do it. You only wanted me to be safe. I wish you were here to make me feel safe again. It is awful to be here without you. This letter is my way of pouring out my heart to you. It will let the world know what a wonderful man you were. It is a great loss to the whole world that you are not here. It is so true that I miss you. It has been real hard here without you. This is my way of talking to you.
I keep asking God why am I still here. I want to be with you. I want to share forever with you. Forever in Heaven with you is my dream. If I have a heart attack, I have told everyone do not try bring me back let me go. I am ready to be with you. My children are grown and doing a great job of living without me. I am happy that I did teach them to stand alone in this world.
I want to sit down and talk for hours with you. I want you to hold me. I remember your voice, your sweet touch and the smile of yours are all right here in my heart. I remember the times I laid my head on your chest and you put your arms around me. I slept in your arms many a night at the movies. I only sleep like that now when I dream of you holding me. Then I wake and you are not here holding me. I know that I did sleep on all our dates. I knew I was safe in your arms. It was as if your joy was just to hold me near you.
I want to believe that you are to this day at my side. That you walk every step with me every day. I pray that you are not as sad as I am with you gone. I miss your arms around me. I miss your kisses. Your kisses were the sweetest. No one ever has kissed me the way you did. I never found the joy of being kissed by anyone the way I did with you. The way you held me when you kissed me, I have never been kissed like you kissed me, by any one in all this time. I have a hungry for your kisses. I did try to teach my husband how you would hold me. He just did not get it. I gave up on being kissed and held the way you did it. These are my sweet memories of your kisses with you. The memory of your kisses and arms around me bring me good feelings.
I went to visit your mother many times over the years. Your bedroom was just the way you left it. My picture was still on the dresser in your room. Your mother would look at my children say they could have been her grandchildren.
I went to see your sister yesterday. She blames herself for your death. She believes if she had not gotten married and gone away with her husband that you would still be here. Your mother did the same things as another mother I knew did to her other child. Your mother put the blame on your sister for you getting into trouble in Georgia. Your mother told Jamie that you were not the same after she went away. I am trying to remember back to that time. I remember you being pretty happy. We were dating and having a lot of fun. We did not start having any problems until you went to Georgia and came back. I do believe that you joined the Army because your mother would not give her blessing for you to marry me. I am not sure why she did not want you to marry me. I know now that I should have dealt with this stuff first off. We should have confronted her together. It would have been better to talk to her with your father at the same time.
Jamie remembers seeing you after your death. You have been trying to talk to all of us. You did not tell her you wanted to marry me.
You joined the Army because your mother would not give her blessing for us to marry. If you would have just waited and not joined the Army we could have handled all of the stuff. You went to war. I am here without you at my side. I hope that I am not wrong about how much you loved me. I do not see how I could be wrong about your love. If you did not love me you would have never come around every time that you were home. You told me that you had bought me a car. That it was to be my wedding gift from you. You were trying to get me to go and marry you that day. You wanted me to go with you to Georgia and get married. Now I can see what you were trying to do with the car. You wanted me to say okay lets go and get married. You were in hopes that the car would make me marry you without your mother's blessing. I see now what you were trying to do.
Why did you not just tell me to get in the car, that we were going to get married? You were so kind and loving to me. You just needed to be firmer with me.
If you did not love me you would have been after me all the time to have sex. We never did do any thing like other couples. We never did any petting. You showed me so much respect by not pushing me to have sex. Your treatment of me always was so kind most of the time. The only time you ever showed anger with me was the time you came home from boot camp. I was in the hospital after an operation. Your mother told you that I had lost a baby. It was not true. I had been horse back riding and fell off the horse then the horse stepped in the middle of me and I was bleeding on the inside. When my mother took me to the hospital I could not stand up without passing out. I was so white I looked like death warmed over. We were both young and made some mistakes. That is what growing up is all about in the first place.
I was still a child of 16 that year. You knew how I was about having sex. Why would you believe I would do it with anyone? I never let you touch me in a sexual way. I was not that kind of girl who would play sex games with anyone. I did save myself until I married. You had dated me for three years. Why would you think that I would do anything like that to myself? I would hurt myself the most of all if I did. I have to respect myself first of all. I respect myself to much too just have sex without marriage. You knew how I acted with you. I would never change just because you were in the Army. I cared for you and I would not have done anything to hurt you. I loved you with all my heart. It is true that I dated after you went back to the Army from your visit home after boot camp. I was hurt that you would think I would do anything like getting PG. I only dated with a group of other kids. You know that my brothers always went with me ever time I went any place.
I did not date another person the whole time you were in boot camp. I was in the hospital most of the time you were in boot camp. Remember you were the one that went to see the easy girls. You always told me that you were going to do it. I knew that I was going to wait until we were married. I never got angry about you seeing the easy girls. I knew you were a man and had to take care of that kind of stuff. We talked about it. I talked about it with my mother. That is why I never was upset when you did visit the easy girls.
If I had been your wife I would not have put up with that kind of action. I would have gaven you all the love in my arms. You would have been a happy loved man. We would still be in love today. I would never stop wanting to be in your arm and your kisses forever.
I would give you all the love you could handle. You would never have had to worry about me loving you from the day we married I would have been loving always. I would have loved making love to you all day long. It was never to be, you went to war and lost your life in a land so far from here and me. How could you stand being away from me that long. I was hurting every day you were gone. I still hurt for the loss of you. Many years have gone by and I still hurt for you not being here with me. My place was to be in your arms for all time. I have been here so long without you. If I could turn time back you would not go in the Army. I would have married you and you would have to stay home to take care of me. You would be the most loved man in the world. I needed you to take care of me by loving me. You did that for 3 years before you joined the Army. I knew that you were always there to help me. That is why I was so sick when you went to boot camp. I was lost without you here to help me. You and I were to walk arm and arm until we were called home. You were called home too early. We did not have all the time that we should have had here. You were called home too soon. I am so sorry that I did not understand what you were trying to do. When you told me that you had a car for me on our wedding day. You only wanted to be my husband for ever and always. I only wish that you were not in so much of a hurry to get married.
You went into the Army to prove to your mother you were a man. You never had to prove it to me. Your mother did not want you to marry me. She did make it hard on you. She would say to wait until you are a man. I am so sorry that I did not know at the time what kind of hell you were going thru with your mother. You should of told me about all of this before you joined the Army. Why you did not talk to me about all of this is a man thing I am sure. You think you can handle everything. Talking would of helped us both.
Your Babe, Paula
From his sweetheart,
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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