WRIGHT, LARRY DALE, 67
Elgin, SC - Larry Dale Wright, 67, a former resident of Newberry, lost his valiant battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) on December the 9th, at the WJB Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, SC. Mr. Wright was born in Madison, Indiana in 1946. He was the second son of Mary and Harry E. Wright, Sr.
When Mr. Wright was a little boy he played with toy soldiers and dreamed about the day he could follow in the footsteps of his father. His father was a WWII Silver Star recipient and POW escapee. In June of 1964, at the age of 17, Mr. Wright joined the United States Army. He was with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) where he served as the Crew Chief and door gunner of a Huey Helicopter. In October of 1965, during one of many battles, his helicopter was hit by enemy fire. One of the bullets entered Mr. Wright's flight helmet. Miraculously the bullet circled inside the top of the helmet and exited the other side. He experienced a head wound that only required a short time in a military field hospital. The following year, October of 1966, Mr. Wright distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions. Subsequently; he was recognized with a 13 gun salute and a military parade in his honor at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, IN. At that time, Major General John Chiles, Deputy Commander, Fifth U.S. Army, awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic action. Although he was a proud soldier, he was saddened about the treatment of other Vietnam Veterans returning to the United States.
Following his military service, Mr. Wright graduated from Purdue University. He was subsequently hired to work as a Special Agent with the Department of Justice. Eight years later he went to work for the Department of Treasury as a Senior Special Agent with United States Customs.
In 2005, after his retirement, Mr. Wright was diagnosed with throat cancer. His doctor attributed the cancer to his exposure to Agent Orange during the deforestation of Vietnam. He won his battle with throat cancer. Unfortunately; two years ago he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), presumed connected to his military service.
Prior to his diagnosis of ALS he enjoyed spending time with 1st/9th Calvary Veterans, attending aircraft fly-ins and traveling extensively throughout the Western United States. His two eldest grandsons each had the opportunity of accompanying him on long summer trips exploring the West.
Mr. Wright is survived by two daughters, Rebecca Ann Wright, Hallandale Beach, FL and Elizabeth Sykes Dresel (John), Elgin, SC; his brother, Harry E. Wright, Jr. (Georgia)Greensburg, IN; the mother of his children, Melba Rogers (Gaines) Gainesville, FL; seven grandchildren, Justin Hamby, Gainesville, FL; Rebecca, Johnathan and J.D. Sykes, Sarah, Emma and Kaiden Dresel all residing in Elgin, SC.
A military service was held Friday, December 20, 2013 at Fort Jackson, SC. His remains were interred at the Fort Jackson National Cemetery. The family is planning a celebration of Mr. Wright's life, to be held in his home town of Greensburg, Indiana, in the Spring of 2014. Announcements will be sent to friends, family and all of his Bullwhip Squadron Comrades.
Friends and relatives are invited to view this obituary and share condolences or memories with the family at
Published in Gainesville Sun from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2013