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Larry Leonard Maxam
Larry L. Maxam, posthumous Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1948-01-09)January 9, 1948
Died February 2, 1968(1968-02-02) (aged 20)
Place of birth Glendale, California
Place of death KIA in Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam
Place of burial National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Oahu, Hawaii
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch USMC logo.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1965-1968
Rank Corporal
Unit 1st Battalion 4th Marines
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Corporal Larry Leonard Maxam (January 9, 1948- February 2, 1968) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the United States' highest military honor — the Medal of Honor — for heroism in the Vietnam War in February 1968,

Biography[edit | edit source]

Larry Maxam was born on January 9, 1948, in Glendale, California. He attended Emerson Primary School, John Muir Junior High and Burbank High School, in Burbank, California, leaving the latter in 1964. Maxam was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Los Angeles on March 8, 1965. After completing recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in June 1965, he served briefly with the Casual Section of the 2nd Infantry Training Regiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. He then completed individual combat training with Company A, at Camp Pendleton, in July 1965. From August 1965 until February 1966, he served with the Marine Aviation Detachment, Naval Air Technical Training Center Jacksonville.

Transferred to the 2nd Battalion 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, he served as a rifleman with Company H. In November 1966, he joined the rolls of Company E, but served on temporary additional duty as a fireman with Headquarters and Service Company, Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and as a rifleman attached to Camp Garcia, Force Troops, Vieques, Puerto Rico. He was promoted to private first class on April 1, 1966, and to Lance Corporal on January 1, 1967.

Lance Corporal Maxam next served as a rifleman with Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2/8, in the Caribbean, until May 1967. In July 1967, he arrived in the Republic of Vietnam, and served as a rifleman, radioman, and squad leader with Company D, 1st Battalion 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He was promoted to Corporal on October 1, 1967. While participating in Operation Kentucky on February 2, 1968, he was killed in action at Cam Lộ District Headquarters in Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam.

Cpl Maxam was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Oahu, Hawaii.[1]

Awards and honors[edit | edit source]

Maxam's medals and decorations include:

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Medal of Honor Purple Heart Navy Presidential Unit Citation National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Vietnam Military Merit Medal Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ palm Vietnam Campaign Medal

The name Larry L. Maxam is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ("The Wall") on Panel 36E, Row 078.[2]

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Fire Team Leader with Company D, First Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam. On 2 February 1968, the Cam Lo District Headquarters came under extremely heavy rocket, artillery, mortar, and recoilless rifle fire from a numerically superior enemy force, destroying a portion of the defensive perimeter. Corporal Maxam, observed the enemy massing for an assault into the compound across the remaining defensive wire, instructed his Assistant Fire Team Leader to take charge of the fire team, and unhesitatingly proceeded to the weakened section of the perimeter. Completely exposed to the concentrated enemy fire, he sustained multiple fragmentation wounds from exploding grenades as he ran to an abandoned machine gun and commenced to deliver effective fire on the advancing enemy. As the enemy directed maximum fire power against the determined Marine, Corporal Maxam's position received a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade, knocking him backwards and inflicting severe fragmentation wounds to his face and right eye. Although momentarily stunned and in intense pain, Corporal Maxam courageously resumed his firing position and subsequently was struck again by small arms fire. With resolute determination, he gallantly continued to deliver intense machine gun fire, causing the enemy to retreat through the defensive wire to positions of cover. In a desperate attempt to silence his weapon, the North Vietnamese threw hand grenades and directed recoilless rifle fire against him inflicting two additional wounds. Too weak to reload his machine gun, Corporal Maxam fell to a prone position and valiantly continued to deliver effective fire with his rifle. After one and a half hours, during which he was hit repeatedly by fragments from exploding grenades and concentrated small arms fire, he succumbed to his wounds, having successfully defended nearly one half of the perimeter single-handedly. Corporal Maxam's aggressive fighting spirit, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. Notable persons buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Retrieved 2006-06-23. Archived June 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Larry Leonard Maxam". mishalov.com. http://www.mishalov.com/Maxam.html. Retrieved 2006-07-04. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

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