Lawrence R. Dodd (1967/05/26)
Classmate Donald Hansen remembered Larry as someone who "had a smile that would light up any overcast day in Monterey Bay."
Lawrence Rudin Dodd was born on April 2, 1946, in Watsonville to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Dodd. Larry and his sisters Catherine, Sherrie and Carrie grew up in Aromas, California, and attended local Pajaro Valley schools. In 1960 Dodd enrolled in Watsonville High School and remained there for the next four years. During that period, he played on the football team and was remembered by his friends as being a good-natured individual who was known for truthfulness and dependability. After graduating from high school in 1964, he enrolled in nearby Cabrillo College and followed a course of study to prepare him for the School of Forestry at the University of California at Davis. In December 1965 Larry married Jean Fowler.
Larry Dodd was drafted into the US Army in January 1966 and the following February was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, to train as an infantryman. After completing basic and advanced individual training, he was assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division preparing for departure to Vietnam. In September 1966, Larry said goodbye to his wife and family for the last time.
Upon arrival in Vietnam Larry's company was deployed to the central highland area where they conducted patrols in search of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese units. His spirits were particularly high on May 26, 1967, as he began the day's patrol. Dodd had just heard that his wife had given birth to their daughter Ladean. He expected to join them in three more months when he rotated home. As Company C was moving along a jungle trail near the Cambodian border at Plei Doc in the central highlands it became strung out and was ambushed by North Vietnamese troops. Larry's company commander was the first to be killed in the fire-fight and Specialist Fourth Class Lawrence Rudin Dodd soon joined him.
The body of Larry Dodd, Watsonville's first Vietnam War combat casualty, was recovered and returned home for a funeral and internment in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.
At a later ceremony at Fort Ord Larry's widow, Jean, received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart that were awarded to him posthumously.
(VVMW; WHSM; VVVW; USDVA; WRP June 1, 1967 1:3, June 3, 1967 2:2, September 29,1967 9:1; Cem Survey)