Larry Desmond's  Photos

My Story

I arrived at Danang in March 1967 - the same time, I think, as Harold Thrasher.  We were hanging around in the 'boot' pool, waiting for orientation, until I accidentally fired off a machine gun round while on bunkers with, I think, men from H&S Company, but maybe not. The main point is that the gun shouldn't have had a round in it, the firebase went on Red alert, and I thought I'd be court-martialed and sent back to the States. I wasn't, and Harold and I were sent to Charlie Hill, and Captain 'Buck' Darlings Charlie Company. Not so long after that we went on Union l, closely followed by Union ll, and various other operations: Pike, Swift and more that I can't recall now. Late in '67 we moved to Phu Loc, where I received a 20th birthday present. The night of the 16th of January '68 , my squad was on ambush on Highway 1 near, I was later told, an NVA or VC training camp. They used us as a training exercise and tried to walk through us that night. Pretty much did, in fact, although I don't remember the start of the firefight at all, and bits and pieces after that. I do remember walking down Highway 1 to an ARVN camp, and yelling to them not to shoot (I think all of us were convinced the ARVNs would blow us away, before we could identify ourselves). It was a surprise to find that they had moved their position down the road to keep another unit company for the night. Fortunately I was wounded and was eventually able to throw my own smoke for the medivac. Interestingly, the Docs in Danang found that in addition to my official wounds, I also had a fractured skull and seemed surprised that I even knew who I was. To anyone from 2nd Platoon reading this, now you know why I was a bit strange (doesn't help with prior to the 16th, though...).

Later in January, 1/5 went on excursion to Hue, and 2nd Platoon went along for the ride. Happily, I received my 2nd and 3rd official wounds (and a 4th on the way to the rear) and left sunny Vietnam. I can remember lying on a stretcher with the Marines who walked me back, with tears on my face. I was convinced that the entire squad would be wiped out.

In the States I was assigned to Transport at Pendleton for a few months, long enough to want out. As the Top told me when I tried to apply for Vietnam again (Sgt 'Bucky' Jones and I were planning on having a drink together in Danang (soda for Jones, who couldn't' stand anything alcoholic, and all I could get down, for me)," it would 'take an Act of Congress, Corporal Desmond..."

I applied for Marine Security Guard Duty, got it and spent a year in Belgrade and a year in Vienna . I also met an Australian girl there who is now my ex- wife. After Guard duty, I was given Camp 'Jejune' as an inducement to re-up, but strangely, I didn't. I married the Australian girl in Arizona (she stayed with my foster parents until I was discharged, in '71 I think).  We moved to Los Angeles, lived there for four years, she hated it (so did I) and we and my eldest daughter (4 years) moved to Australia in '76. In '80 I acquired another daughter.

I've had quite a few jobs here, and, among other things, ran a drive-in theater, drove trucks and helped one of my wife's relatives catch and sell camels and donkeys. What Australians call the 'outback' is pretty much still 'wild west' country - dry and damn few people. Since then I've finished university and have been a Counselor and Psychologist since 1989. From '89 to '90 I worked in a Drug rehab in Australia, then lived and worked as a volunteer counselor and trainer for two NGOs (alcohol and other drug services) in Kathmadu, Nepal. I've also lived and worked in various states in Australia that are a bit like (west) Texas, but bigger. One of those jobs was as an outreach counselor in Southwest Queensland (real cowboy country), I had a 4-wheel drive and covered an area of (roughly) 600 kilometers by 1,000 kilometers. I don't know what that is in miles, but it's pretty big. Now I live in a place called Orbost, state of Victoria (very bottom of south east Australia ) as a Counselor and Psychologist. Still doing outreach, but a much smaller area, maybe 150 by 200 kilometers, as the crow flies, but the roads run pretty up and down...

I've just re-read this, and its looking like 'This is Your Life' (never liked the show much), so I'll shut up and send it off to you (its 1830 here).  I'll also send this to Harold, Ernie and Jim for comments.

Semper fi!

Larry

Vietnam '67-'68

     

Nui Loc Son Nui Loc Son

     

Nui Loc Son
Nui Loc Son

     

Nui Loc Son
Nui Loc Son

     

Nui Loc Son
Nui Loc Son

       

Hoi An
Nui Loc Son

    

Nui Loc Son
Nui Loc Son

 

    

Nui Loc Son
Roy Berry and Howard Cox, at Nui Loc Son (I believe they were both KIA at Hue, but I could be wrong)
Cpl Roy Berry and LCpl Howard Cox are listed in the Charlie 1/5 Honor Roll.

     

Jim Coxen and Doc Chang  at Hoi An
Jim Coxen and Howard 'Bucky' Jones

     

Ernie Coleman
Howard Jones

     

'Corky' Cortese
Tony Vega

     

Doc Chang
Howard Cox

    

Richard Lynch
Lynch and others from 2nd Platoon

     

Jim Coxen, Richard Lynch, John "Doc" Chang, and (?)
2nd Platoon Marines

     

2nd from left is Mike Holloway and 2nd Platoon Marines
Lynch - again (I didn't realize he was such a publicity hound)

     

Hill 185