On August 2, 1969, a patrol boat came up the Saigon River with an ambush team of seven men. David Larson was the gunner’s mate.
After traveling up the river, the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol found a spot on the banks to set up for an ambush. As day turned into night, the men settled into their new location.
Partway into the evening, the men fought a team of four enemy soldiers. However, they were a part of a larger force. The men in the LRRP were hit by rocket and gunfire.
Half of the team died. One of the surviving teammates tried to get boar support. The call for help drew Larson into the fight.
Saving Those Who Were Left
Larson jumped out of the patrol boat with an M60 in his hand, launching it. M60s could clear just about anything.
In fact, on full auto, it held back almost 50 enemy soldiers. Even though Larson was out in the open, he was providing coverage that allowed those who were wounded to get out of the area.
Larson was asked, “What goes through your mind during something like that?” His response? “At the time, it just comes to you that you need to do it to get the job done.”
His brave actions allowed those who were hurt to get out of the way and have a chance to make it home to their families, even though he was his chance to go home to his own.
Larson was awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery in the face of danger.
Larson’s interview with the Smithsonian Channel can be watched below: