Another Marine I met at the Armed Forces Staff College in 1980 was Larry Livingston. He had a couple boys a few years younger than me, and, because they were Marine kids, they also chewed nails while other kids sucked on cotton candy. One of the best things about the AFSC was the Marine MPs, who were always a little more willing to believe the Marine kids over the whining, crybaby, Army, Navy, and Air Force kids. As a result, I got away with a lot I probably shouldn't have.
General Livingston joined the Marine Corps in 1960, after trying college and not finding it very challenging. After an eight year enlisted career, in which he made it all the way to staff sergeant, he was commissioned on the Meritorious NCO program, after some outstanding performance during the Tet Offensive of 1968.
After a tour at Camp Pendleton, he returned to Vietnam, where he was an advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps during and after the Easter Offensive. He was awarded the Navy Cross after handing a particularly good ass whipping to the North Vietnamese north of Quang Tri as South Vietnam counterattacked in response to the Easter Offensive, an assault that should have spelled defeat for the north, but politicians back home failed to back up our allies.
Livingston had already been awarded the Silver Star for an action that may have been the inspiration for Tommy Lee Jones in "Rules of Engagement".
The Silver Star
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Lawrence Herbert Livingston (MCSN: 0-107447), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving in the Republic of Vietnam on 12 April 1972 as the Assistant United States Marine Advisor to the First Infantry Battalion, Vietnamese Marine Corps. Captain Livingston and the company of Marines with which he was participating in a search operation, having just taken a prisoner for interrogation, were ambushed by a Vietnamese platoon. Within thirty seconds intense enemy fire had killed the Vietnamese Officer in Charge and killed or wounded all but two of the friendly forces in the immediate area. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Livingston braved intense enemy fire to recover the body of the Vietnamese officer and to remove several wounded to a protected area. Then, realizing that the prisoner would be able to provide intelligence, he questioned him and learned the enemy disposition. By organizing the resistance of his Vietnamese comrades, he ensured that the company was able to drive off the North Vietnamese. Captain Livingston's courageous and decisive action immediately following the death of the Vietnamese commander not only resulted in the withdrawal of the enemy platoon, saving an untold number of friendly casualties, but enabled the Vietnamese Marines, with the aid of supporting artillery fire, to inflict serious damage to a larger enemy unit nearby. Captain Livingston's devotion to duty, courage under fire and exemplary professionalism were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Navy Cross
General Livingston was a colonel in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, in command of the Sixth Marine Regiment, affectionately called "Pogey-Bait Sixth" by Marines in other regiments. For you non-Marines, pogey-bait is what we call candy bars and other junk. As the deadline for Hussein to pull out approached, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines was attached to the Sixth Marine Regiment for operations in Kuwait. A lot of my fellow Marines were upset by this, due to the whole pogey-bait issue, but I informed them that there wasn't a better Marine in the war than Colonel Livingston. And of course, four days after we started the ground war, General Norman Schwarzkopf said, on CNN worldwide, "God Bless the Marines." After his behavior and treatment of Marines during Grenada, this was a sweet victory for the Marine Corps.
General Livingston was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" for Desert Storm. In addition to the other awards mentioned for his Vietnam service, he was awarded four Bronze Stars, and five Purple Hearts. As with a lot of these Marines I have posted on, his son also served as a Marine.
Larry Livingston is one bad ass Marine.