Central Point, Ore. — Larry Rupp is now a proud military vet, glad to have served his country in Vietnam, but it hasn’t always been easy for him to talk about.
“It took a long time for me to come to terms with things that I had done in Vietnam,” explains Rupp.
A Southern California native, Rupp was drafted in 1966, just two years out of high school.
“I received this letter in the mail, which my father referred to as my letter of attitude adjustment.”
As a new husband and brand new father, Rupp left the comforts of Newport Beach for Southern Vietnam, assigned to the 25th Infantry Division.
“It was different, it was hot. I remember the humidity when I stepped off the airplane. My gosh I thought this is going to be a long year,” Rupp remembers.
That year turned into about six. Rupp found himself, a young man of twenty-two, heading up platoons that saw plenty of action.
“There was a lot of responsibility and it was kind of a lonely life,” he says. “There was always that possibility that I might not see my wife or see my daughter again.”
A possibility that came dangerously close to reality as Rupp sustained three different combat injuries. One gunshot wound and two from shrapnel.
“One night they hit us really bad and I lost one of my guys,” he recalls. “I had been raised a Catholic. In the commandments it said thou shalt not kill yet I had the priest over in Vietnam say well these are different circumstances. I had a real hard time dealing with that.”
Even when Rupp returned home he found himself troubled.
“It takes a long time for people to accept things sometimes.”
With all of the challenges he faced overseas, he knows a lot about what returning Vets need. That’s why he is a member of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a group of men and women who have received purple hearts.
“Thats one thing that is nice about our group,” says Rupp. “We all have one thing in common, we have been there we have done that we have experienced the pain and the mental anguish. It is our responsibility to help these people.”
Taking one of the hardest experiences of his life, and using it to bring other Veterans some sense of peace.