Larry E. Sommers (1968/11/12)
"He was a very loving man, a very religious individual who loved his family and country," wrote his cousin Janette Miksik.
Larry Eugene Sommers was born in Redlands, California on October 28, 1948, to Eugene and Marilyn Sommers. In 1960 the family, which also included sons Richard and Ronald and daughter Melanie, moved to the Pajaro Valley. After completing elementary school, Larry entered Watsonville High School where he played baseball and other sports. The next year he transferred to Monte Vista Christian School and remained there for the final three years of his secondary education. While in high school, Sommers supplemented his allowance by working at a local Christmas tree farm. After graduating from Monte Vista in 1966, he enrolled in nearby Cabrillo College where he studied for a year.
Larry Sommers was inducted into the US Army on May 6, 1968. He completed his basic and advanced individual training at Fort Lewis, Washington and on September 13th returned home on a twenty-one day leave. On September 23, 1968, while still on leave, he married Donna Burnham in Carson City, Nevada. Eleven days later he was enroute to Vietnam.
When Sommers arrived in Vietnam, he was assigned to Company A, 4th Battalion of the 47th Infantry whose base camp was located at Dong Tam on the Mekong delta. His unit was part of the Mobile Riverine Force, which was a joint army-navy venture designed to clear the Viet Cong from the waterways of the delta. During a patrol in early November, the man in front of Summers stepped on a booby trap mine detonating it and resulting in Larry suffering major wounds to his scalp and legs. He was removed to a hospital in Saigon and on Tuesday November 12, 1968, Private First Class Larry Eugene Sommers died from his wounds.
His remains were returned to Watsonville, accompanied by an army buddy escort and following a military funeral, he was buried in Pajaro Valley Memorial Park. His awards include the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
(VVMW; WIKI, Mobile Riverine Force; WHSM; WRP November 20, 1968