Aiken, Larry Delarnardo, SP 4

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Last Rank
Specialist 4
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 11B20, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry
Service Years
1968 - 1969

Specialist 4

One Overseas Service Bar

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT James E. Reece, III (Team Leader, Vietnam Profiles) to remember Aiken, Larry Delarnardo, SP 4.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Last Address
Jamaica, New York

Casualty Date
Jul 25, 1969
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Other Cause
Quang Tin (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Long Island National Cemetery - Farmingdale, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
20W 042 / X, 3597

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  1982, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2018, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 National Guard Awards

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry 196th Infantry Brigade (Light) POW/MIA
  1968-1969, 11B20, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry
  1968-1969, 11B20, 196th Infantry Brigade (Light)
  1969-1969, 11B20, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

SP4 Larry D. Aiken was an American Soldier who died while serving during the Vietnam War.  SP4 Aiken served wtih Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division.  He was 20 years old when he died a week after he was rescued from a Vietnamese prison of war camp.  He served in Vietnam for eight months.

SYNOPSIS: The records of the millions of U.S. servicemen in Vietnam are so extensive that errors and inconsistencies were bound to occur occasionally.  The same is true of those men who are missing, prisoner or otherwise unaccounted for.

The case of Cpl. Larry D. Aiken is one example. Aiken, is listed as missing on May 13, 1969. Intelligence later revealed that he had been captured, but was "recovered" by unnamed individuals from a Viet Cong hospital. Thus, on lists compiled which showed the status of each missing American in 1973, Aiken was listed as a released POW.

At some point between 1973 and 1980, however, additional information must have been received as Aiken's status was changed to escaped POW. Currently, Defense Intelligence Agency classifies Aiken as a returned POW.

Because Aiken's name does not appear on many of the lists of returned POWs, many POW/MIA activist groups maintain his name on file as one on whom insufficient information is available. These groups are aware that even one man could easily be forgotten because of clerical errors.  As reports mount that indicate Americans are still alive, POW/MIA groups work harder to be sure that not a single man is forgotten.

02/98 Another version of what might have happened to Larry Aiken can be found on pages 237 and 238 of Benjamin Schemmer's "THE RAID", published by Avon. It states:

"Son Tay was not only not the first rescue attempt, in Southeast Asia in this conflict. It was, in fact, the 71st "dry hole." In South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos such rescue operations were mounted between 1966 an 1970. At least 45 of them, probably closer to 50, were triggered by reports of U.S. POWs. Seventy-nine of the operations involved outright "raids." Of the 91 rescue operations, 20 succeeded-in rescuing 318 South Vietnamese soldiers and 60 civilians. But of 45 raids mounted to rescue American prisoners, only one succeeded. Army Specialist Fourth Class Larry D. Aiken was rescued on July 10, 1969, from a Viet Cong POW camp, but he died in an American hospital 15 days later of wounds inflicted by his captors just before his rescue. The raid, apparently, had been compromised at the last minute.

"All of the rescue missions before Son Tay had been handled within the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC), a separate staff section within MACV Headquarters in Saigon. The results of the JPRC's efforts were no less heartbreaking than the raid on Son Tay. In December of 1966, for instance, a confidential informant passed word of American prisoners being held by the Viet Cong. The JPRC found his information credible and launched a raid. There was a heavy fire fight in which 35 Viet Cong were killed and 34 others detained. During interrogation, they confirmed that Americans had been held in the camp. The prisoners had been moved just before the raid.

"Some of the JPRC's raids failed because intelligence was compromised, others because the rescues weren't launched quickly enough. This happened on one raid in 1967 when a South Vietnamese escapee from a Viet Cong POW camp reported the location of two camps containing American prisoners. His report was challenged at first, then finally verified. A raid was launched, and at one camp, 21 South Vietnamese prisoners were recovered. The other camp was empty. Yet evidence showed that American POWs had been there. The released South Vietnamese POWs said that the Americans had been moved about 30 days before the raid, after the escapee first reported the presence of American prisoners there.

"After Aiken's 1969 rescue, efforts to find POW camps and free prisoners in South Vietnam and Cambodia intensified. In 1970 alone, 24 separate rescue operations were conducted in the south. They failed to unearth even the remains of a single U.S. prisoner. The rescue missions continued even after the failure of the Son Tay raid. By 1973 such missions would total 119, including 98 raids. Aiken would remain the only American ever to be recovered."

   A UH1 helicopter piloted by Maj. Gary F. Dolan of the 101st Div.'s 2nd Sq., 17th Cav., was summoned and hovered above the trees while an ARVN volunteer was lowered to the ground in a  Together, the two men eased Aiken into the rig and up into the chopper.  He was flown immediately to the 312th Hospital at Americal Div. headquarters 18 miles away.
   Throughout the rescue operation, U.S. Air Force planes circled overhead in case of enemy resistance.
   Aiken who entered the Army in June, 1968 and arrived in Vietnam last Nov. 9, was taken prisoner during a vicious May 13 battle for control of Nui Yon Hill three miles southwest of Tam Ky.
His unit, the 2nd Platoon of the Americal's C Co., 3rd Bn., 21st Inf. engaged an estimated NVA company on a search-and-clear mission while Aiken and five other men were providing security in rice paddy.
Not Specified
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