This weekend, Americans will spend Memorial Day remembering the many sacrifices of America’s servicemen and women throughout history. The Carmel community has been home to many people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country during World War II and the Vietnam War.
According to Jeff Wright, CHS’s unofficial historian, 20 men from Carmel fell during World War II and 24 during Vietnam. One of them was Carmel native Private First Class John Wood, who applied to join the Marines the day after his graduation from CHS in 1943. Known for his good nature and time as a CHS football player, he yearned to join the Marines and fight.
“What will my grandchildren think of me if they learn that I was staying in high school while this war went on?” Wood expressed in a statement later printed in his Carmel Pine Cone obituary.
Pfc. Wood soon found himself a Ranger with the 34th Marines and deployed to the Pacific Theater where he suffered a bayonet wound. However, he soon recovered and rejoined his outfit to continue to fight on Guam and ultimately Okinawa, where Wood was killed during a Japanese counteroffensive on May 21, 1945.
Like Wood, Petty Officer 3rd Class David McGlochlin enlisted in the military after his CHS graduation in 1965 and served as a hospital corpsman during Vietnam in the U.S. Naval Reserves with the Marine Corps in Vietnam.
According to brother Bruce McGlochlin, David was known for his dedication to his friends, desire to help others and love for riding his motorcycle.
While serving with Marines in South Vietnam, McGlochlin’s forward base was overrun by enemy forces on Jan. 10, 1968. After saving many lives, McGlochlin was killed by hostile forces in Quang Tin.
Another Carmel native, Private First Class Larry Larson, left his path to priesthood in a seminary to join the Marines. Larson served with the First Battalion, Fourth Marines, after seeing the horrendous things happening in Vietnam.
“He felt he was no better than any other man that already volunteered,” his brother Bob Larson says.
Pfc. Larson, while not the most polished Marine, according to his former squad leader Sgt. Lionel Lawson, was a “damn good Marine in the field, and when you are in combat, that’s what matters most.”
Known as Pack Rat for the extra articles he always carried, Larson was well liked among the platoon.
“He was always smiling, and you could count on him when things got rough,” Lawson says.
While on a search and destroy mission near the demilitarized zone separating North and South Vietnam, Larry Larson’s squad was ambushed by North Vietnamese troops. Larson was hit by AK-47 rounds in the chest and died instantly in Quang Tri province on March 26, 1967.
“Larry and all the Marines we lost are the real heroes,” Lawson says.
These three men are memorialized at the Vietnam and World War II Memorials in downtown Carmel along with 41 other fallen brothers in arms.