In Memoriam of a Friend
Updated: Oct 6
In memory of my friend and brother, Larry G. Pinson.
By the time I got to Nam in August of 68, I was a 21 yr. old LCpl of Marines and feeling very salty. I had been on a couple of Caribbean cruises, Guantanamo Bay (windward side) for 3 months. I went to jungle training school in Panama, Fort Sherman. I had been trained in weapons and my job was 81 mortarman. By now, I was a gunner. So, I am thinking I was going to a mortar platoon. Well, to my surprise, I was given an M60 machine gun and was placed in the bridge security platoon. I was there a couple of months before Pinson, my A gunner, arrived. Surprisingly, we bonded very quickly. Pinson was a country boy From Grantville Georgia, and I was from the big city of Boston, Massachusetts. Within three weeks, Pinson had his own gun team and the responsibility of guarding his own bridge.
A short period of time elapsed and we were sent on a suicide mission. We commenced on a night-time rat patrol. In this type of mission, the environment was pitch dark; meaning, there were no lights; do you get what I just said; from our op to the old 1/1 op. (Dodge City). This type of mission is a terrible assault on the nervous system! We were sitting ducks. Pinson and I made a pact, that if either one of us were seriously wounded and lost limbs we would take each other out. That’s a fact! We engaged in this this rat patrol, stress, mess mission for 2 weeks, and each time we lost a piece of ourselves; our soul. I vividly remember this one soldier, who stood duty on the big bridge; he saw us come in every morning and told me the look on our faces was both terrifying and scary.
By the end of my Viet Nam tour of duty - with 3 days left, I was pulled back to regiment. The day before I left I went to visit Pinson at his post. We laughed, talked about home, and promised we were going to hook up once we re-entered the civilized world. It was not long before I went back to base, we heard this wailing coming from a tree line about 75 yards away. Of course, we were locked and loaded waiting for whatever came out. Suddenly, I heard and saw three, Vietnamese mama sans wailing away. One of them, standing in the middle, had this big, old sack over her back. Immediately, upon seeing them, we made them stop in their tracks by threatening to kill them. They stopped and the woman in the middle dumped the sack in front of us. To our surprise, three dead babies rolled out of the sack; full of shrapnel holes. Their motivation was to be paid MPC for the dead babies, which was a common happenstance there. Pinson had to deal with the situation. This was our last time together; me and Pinson. To make a long story short, two weeks after I got home, I received a letter from one of the brothers in Mike Company that Pinson had died on September 19,1969. The very same day I landed back in CONUS. He will be forever young and never forgotten.
Romans 8: 35-37
35."What shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecutions, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36. Just as it is written,
For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered sheep to be slaughtered.
37. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
38. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39. nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."