Vickie Mardis New Albany Mississippi
I was only 10 years old when Larry died. We were neighbors and good friends with my brother Julius Obie Mardis he went to the VIETNAM WAR about the same time. so thankful for what Larry and my brother did for our country. Thanks and GOD BLESS
Joyce Nuckles Teasley Batavia, Illinois
Well when I heard that we had lost a childhood friend named David Fletcher I was totally shocked. I did not know he was in the service and wonder when did he go and where was he in Viet Nam when he died. I have know contact with the family as I moved away but often think of the Godly family that lived down the street and had a friend a year younger in school than I who they lost. All of their four boys were good kids and I am glad to have known them. I can't imagine the sad time is was for them to hear they had lost David but knowing God I know helped. thanks for thinking of our soldiers...jt
Merrill Scott Tupelo MS
My thanks to our heroes of today and yesterday and to their mothers, fathers, wives and children that are left behind.
In Honor of PFC Larry Lee Page of New Albany
Died June 22, 1966 in Vietnam
You can look at his photo and tell he was young. Most Marines held a tight, stern face for their official Marine Corps photo. Not Private First Class Larry Page, though. He smiled ever so slightly for his photo, proof of the pride he had in wearing the Marine uniform. Larry Lee Page was a fresh faced soldier from New Albany, Mississippi. He was tall and lean, about 6' 3" tall with curly blond hair when it wasn't in a military issue buzzcut. He loved the Marines and the Marines he served with loved him.
PFC Page’s platoon was charged with providing security to a large village called Binh Nghia (pronounced Bin-Niyah). The Viet Cong, the enemy of the South Vietnamese people and the United States, had been terrorizing the population in the village for some time. Securing the village during the day was a fairly easy task. It was the night time that was difficult. Each night, half of the soldiers in the village would go into the darkness of the jungle and set up a night time watch, listening in the dark for the sounds of footsteps from the enemy.
On the night of June 21, 1966 Larry Page was one of the eight on watch. He had found a tall coconut tree to lean against. The other Marines on patrol were jealous. The night went quietly, almost too quietly, when a sudden burst of gunfire fell all around. The platoon sergeant shouted, “Get down!” Almost as suddenly as it had started it ended.
One by one the platoon sergeant called out his men’s names, asking them to answer back. One by one they answered back. When he called out, “Page… Page answer me”, no answer came. The call to get down had come too late for the fresh faced soldier from Mississippi. PFC Larry Page had been shot in the upper abdomen a few minutes before midnight on June 21. He would die two hours later in the early hours of June 22.
PFC Larry Page was the first one to die from his company. He was also the first soldier from Union County to die in Vietnam. In his honor, the Marines of his company renamed their part of the village “Fort Page”. Nearly a half century later, and Larry Page's still graces the place he sacrificed his life.
Bing West, one of the men who was there in the jungle the night Larry died wrote a book called The Village about his experience. In it he recalls the night that the youngest Marine in their platoon gave his life. Just a few years ago, one of Larry's sisters sent an email to Bing West, asking him if the legend was true that a little village in Vietnam still bore the name of her brother. Bing West replied:
Yes, Fort Page was named for your brother. He was one of the youngest at the fort, in the middle of a village, 15 Marines and 5,000 Vietnamese. He was a great favorite because he had wonderful manners, got along well with the older veterans, and never complained. At times, we were scared but he kept taking point, being the first Marine in line in the dark along the trails. All the Marines agreed our fort should be named for Larry, and it has remained so for 40 plus years. He was admired and missed. Larry is remembered."
Larry Page isn't just remembered in Vietnam. He is also remembered by his family in New Albany. His mother Mae Page to this day still gets heartbroken telling the story of her son. Over 47 years of time has not eased her pain one bit. Sadly, she lost another son who served in the military several years later when he was on weekend leave. In Mrs. Page's living room she has an entire wall of photos with the young men from her family who have served their country. There are ten sons or grandsons total who have done so. Larry's photo is there as a daily reminder of the price he paid, and the Page family paid, for freedom.
PFC Larry Lee Page was awarded the following medals for his military service: Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Military Medal*, Vietnam Campaign Military Medal*, Vietnam Military Merit Medal*
*Medals with an asterisk were awarded by the government of South Vietnam during the Vietnam Conflict
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