SW2 Larry Owens
SW2 Larry Owens

Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

Niobrara County Library - Larry Ray Owens (June 25, 1946 - October 8, 1969)

Larry Ray Owens (June 25, 1946 - October 8, 1969)

The Lusk Herald
October 23, 1969

Funeral Services for Larry Owens, Vietnam Fatality, Held Here Saturday

Funeral services for SW2 Larry Ray Owens, 23, were held from the Peet Chapel in Lusk Saturday afternoon. He was Niobrara's first fatality of the Vietnam war, having died at Tachikowa Air Force Base Hospital in Japan October 8.

Military graveside services were conducted by the Naval Reserve Training Station of Cheyenne. Teddy Stratton of Lance Creek was bugler. Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery.

The Rev. Robert Boutwell of the Congregational Church of Lusk officiated at the funeral.

Mrs. Gerald Bardo, organist, accompanied Lee Johnsonbaugh, Bob Reichert, Dale M. Bardo and Gerald Bardo as they sang "In The Garden" and "Beyond The Sunset."

Casket bearers were Roger McDaniels, Gary Melugin, Marvin Brewster, Bob Thon, Ervin Moore, Cody Clark, Tony Outhouse and Bob Olafson.

Honorary bearers were Ronnie Norman, James Hales, Dennis Durley, Bill Britton, Gene Jugler, Bill Edmundsen, Duane Canfield, Alan Baribeau, Ronnie Thon, Terry Klindt, Roger Rogers, Rich Pfister, Danny Hytrek, Gary West, Chuck Vogel, James Shillenn, Ed DeCastro and Bob Taylor.

Services In Japan

Memorial services were held for Larry October 15 in the Chapel of Hope at Yokosuka, Japan, with nearly 100 officers and men of his command gathered to pay tribute.

After the body reached the states it was accompanied to Lusk by PO 1.C. Leland C. Morrow, a shipmate of ACB-1, Coronado, Calif.

Larry Ray Owens, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Owens of Lusk, was born June 25, 1946, at Crawford, Neb. He attended the Crawford public schools for one year before his parents moved to Lusk where he completed elementary and high school, graduating with the N.C.H.S. Class of '64.

As a young boy Larry was active in the Boy Scouts. He loved sports and was an active participant in both football and wrestling. He was a member of the Lettermans Club. After graduation he enrolled in the Denver Auto Tech. School of Mechanics, graduating with top honors.

He then went to Tacoma, Wash., where he worked on construction until he entered the service December 15, 1965. He began his naval career at the Recruit Training Center at San Diego, Calif., on December 30, 1965, and was selected in March 1966 as the Outstanding Recruit in his company.

September 9, 1966 he received a special award honor certificate, stating that he had completed with honor the 12-week "A" Course Steelworker School, retaining a grade of 90 percent. After serving briefly in Port Hueneme, Owens was ordered for the first time to Vietnam in November 1966. In DaNang he joined the U.S. Naval Support Activity. After eight months he was returned to California. In September 1968 he was reassigned to duty in Vietnam. During his brief career he became known and respected as an industrious Seabee.

He was authorized to wear the following service medals, Navy Commendation Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Larry, at the time of his accident, was on a special assignment at Red Beach, DaNang. He was in the DaNang Hospital from September 13-24, and then transferred to Tachikowa Air Force Base Hospital, where he was under intensive care until the time of his death. He had planned a military career and planned to have re-enlisted in Vietnam October 1, 1969.

Survivors include his parents, one sister, Mrs. Lola Mae Dobson of Lusk; one half sister, Leatta Fuller of Craig, Colo.; two half brothers, Donald of Mountain Home, Ida.; Raymond of Camp Pendleton, Calif.; nine nieces, six nephews, 4 great-nieces, 1 great-nephew.

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