Should parents of US KIA's pay Federal income taxes?

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
George Washington

Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
Mark Twain

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

MajGen Larry Livingston

Livingston LH.jpg

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

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Lawrence Herbert Livingston (MCSN: 0-107447), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism on 11 July 1972 while serving as Senior Advisor to the 1st Vietnamese Marine Corps Infantry Battalion during a heliborne assault into enemy-held territory northeast of Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam. When the battalion encountered unexpectedly heavy enemy fire while disembarking into the landing zone, and sustained numerous casualties, Captain Livingston moved throughout the hasty positions taken by the scattered and hesitant element and formed the Marines into an assault force. Despite the continuing heavy concentration of hostile fire, he began the assault on the initial objective - a treeline approximately 50 yards distant. Although blown from his feet by explosions and periodically delayed to reform and redirect his casualty-riddled force, he forged ahead, leading the Vietnamese Marines into the enemy-infested trench lines of the objective and a subsequent hand-to-hand battle. Upon seizure of the initial portion of the trench line, Captain Livingston shed his combat equipment, emerged from the trench line, and exposed himself to a hail of enemy fire to reach and carry his wounded naval gunfire spotter to a position of relative safety. Captain Livingston's repeated acts of heroism in the face of heavy enemy fire reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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.


  1. Tenth,

    Livingston was the total package with a keen intellect and a great deal of patience for the group of high spirited captains that he ended up with as infantry tactics instructors.

  2. I consider myself blessed to have been raised among these men. If only all Americans had this exposure, we might all be Spartans.

  3. TGP- Another great post as always. A true hero. Very good.

    What do the two stars on the Major Generals collar symbolize? Is it the same as the stars on the straps that are on his shoulders? I'm guessing that's the two stars in 2 star General.

    When Marines receive medals, do they receive 2 of the same? Since they have 2 formal Uniforms, or do they have to switch the medals from their Green to their blue?

  4. When you're awarded a medal, they give you a set, which includes the medal, the ribbon which represents the medal, and a lapel pin for wearing with your civvies. Most Marines go buy additional sets so they don't have to switch them around. And the set up is different on different uniforms, because of lapels or pockets, or whatever.

    Two stars is two star general, or Major General.