IN HONOR OF LAWRENCE B. RYAN

Larry Ryan was killed in Vietnam on June 30, 1968.
On July 11, 1968, his funeral Mass was said in Washington, D.C.

at Dahlgren Chapel of Georgetown University ,
and his body buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Exactly 30 years later, on July 11, 1998,
fifteen Delta Phi Epsilon brothers gathered by his grave
to honor the sacrifice that Larry Ryan made for his country.

.

.

.


SOME OF THE ALPHA BROTHERS
WHO GATHERED IN HONOR OF LARRY RYAN, BSFS '63,
STANDING BEHIND HIS TOMBSTONE IN ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
ALONG WITH HIS FORMER GIRL FRIEND, BARBARA McNAMARA MALLON,


Left to right: Duke Eriksen; Terry Boyle, Jack Giles,
Barbara McNamara Mallon; Charlie Skuba, Fr. Dan Sweeney, SJ;
Ron Stepien; Ed Rodriguez, Sam Hayes, Lenny Whiteside;
Owen McGuill; Chuck Pucie; and Ed Lopata.
Not in this picture: Frank Gorman; Mike Osajda; and Vinnie Chiarello.

.

.

.

 

 


TWO ALPHA BROTHERS, WHO IN LATE SUMMER 1963
ATTENDED INFANTRY OFFICERS BASIC SCHOOL
AT FORT BENNING, GEORGIA,
WITH LARRY RYAN

Left to right: Frank Gorman and Lenny Whiteside,
both SFS '63 classmates of Larry Ryan,
commissioned with him as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

.

.

.


At our gathering Lenny Whiteside told how,
on a weekend during Infantry Officers Basic School,
Frank Gorman, Larry Ryan and he
left Ft. Benning on a road trip through Alabama
and, while stopping for drinks at a small town tavern,
discovered, to Bro. Gorman's dismay,
that the establishment restricted its Negro customers to a back room.

The three were all former students of Prof. Jack Giles' course in Constitutional Law
and at Frank's urging decided to protest such unconstitutionality.
The three there and then staged a sit-in and were promptly arrested.

After the gathering at Arlington in honor of Larry Ryan,
I recounted this particular story to one of Ryan's sisters.
She said she was sure that no one in her family had ever heard
of Larry Ryan's 1963 act of civil disobedience,
but was not at all surprised by his actions.
Forthrightness was a Ryan Family trait.
Larry's mother, for example, had once boarded a city bus,
while a tourist in Florida in the 1960s,
and, not knowing of the racial segregation then in force,
went to its rear section, where only Negro passengers were supposed to sit.
The bus driver told her to move and would not go further unless she changed seats.
Mrs. Ryan refused and there was quite a standoff,
lasting until the driver just decided to ignore her.

Oliver Stone should have met Larry Ryan.
It would have disabused him of his notion
that there are no patriots among intelligent liberal Democrats.

LARRY RYAN'S GRAVE MARKER
IN ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
.
The inscription reads:

+
.
LAWRENCE B.
RYAN
.
NEW YORK
.
CAPTAIN
.
ADVISORY TEAM 99
VIETNAM
.
AUGUST 15, 1939
JUNE 30, 1968
.
BSM - ARCOM


RYAN'S OBITUARY IN THE WASHINGTON STAR
Wednesday, July 10, 1968

Army Capt. Lawrence Ryan,
Adviser in Vietnam Village

......Army Capt Lawrence B.
Ryan, 28, a 1963 graduate of
Georgetown University's School
of Foreign Service, was killed in
a mine explosion June 30 in
South Vietnam.
....Capt. Ryan, an intelligence of-
ficer, was serving as an adviser
in a South Vietnamese village.
....He had served one tour in
Vietnam prior to servibg at the
Pentagon for two years. He vol-
unteered for the second tour and
had been in Vietnam for about
six weeks.
....When Capt. Ryan was sta-
tioned here, he lived at 2311 27th
St., NW. [sic: should be 2811]
....He was graduated from the
Powell Memorial Academy in
New York Cuty before attending
Georgetown.
....He leaves his parents, Mr. and..........CAPT. LAWRENCE B. RYAN
Mrs. Edward F. Ryan of New...............brated at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow
York, five brothers, Dermot,................in Dahlgren Chapel, Georgetown
Edward, Kenneth and Army Lt..............University, with burial in Arling-
Padraic Ryan of New York, and.............ton Cemetery.
Alfred Ryan of Phoenix, Ariz.,...................A memorial mass will be of-
and four sisters, Colleen, Mrs...............fered Saturday in New York.
Elizabeth Skelly, and Judith, of..................The family requests that
New York, and Mrs. Aileen Ear-............expressions of sympathy be in
nest of Santa Monica, Calif..................the form of contributions to
....Friends may call from 4 to 10...........Power Memorial Academy
p.m. tonight at the DeVol Funer-...........Scholarship Fund, 161 W. 61st
al Home, 2222 Wisconsin Ave.,............St., or St. Gregory the Great
NW........................................................School Fund, 138 W. 90th St.,
....A requiem mass will be cele-..................New York City.
.
.................................................RYAN, CAPT. LAWRENCE BRENDAN
.................................................On Sunday, June 30, 1968, in Viet-
.................................................nam, CAPT. LAWRENCE BRENDEN
.................................................RYAN, beloved son of Edward F.
.................................................and Aileen Ryan; brother of Alfred,
.................................................Dermot, Colleen, Edward, Kenneth,
.................................................Judith and Padraic Ryan, Mrs.
.................................................Aileen Ernest and Mrs. Elizabeth
.................................................Skelly. Friends may call at the De
.................................................Vol Funeral Home, 2222 Wisconsin
.................................................ave., nw, from 5 to 10 p.m. on
.................................................Wednesday, July 10 (parking oppo-
.................................................site at Georgetown Building). Re-
.................................................Mass will be offered at Dahl-
.................................................gren Chapel, Georgetown University,
.................................................on Thursday, July 11, at 12:30 p.m.
.................................................Interment Arlington National Ceme-
.................................................tery.


A LETTER LARRY RYAN WROTE
BRO. EDWARD LOPATA
ON JUNE 12, 1968,
A LITTLE OVER A WEEK AFTER
HE BEGAN HIS ASSIGNMENT IN VIETNAM
AND JUST EIGHTEEN DAYS BEFORE HIS DEATH.

Hoang Hoa, RVN
12 June 1968

Edward -

.....Well, I've gotten myself into it this time.
When I arrived at Advisory Team #99 Headquarters
in Duc Hoa I checked in at the G-2 shop and
immediately analyzed their contribution to the
war effort as worthless -- as usual. So I
went to the administrative officer and reminded
him that I am a graduate of the Infantry School;
have already spent a year as a staff officer
in Vietnam; and that I am in need of some
command time. It turned out that a
battalion advisor had just been seriously
wounded and evacuated to Hawaii, and
it was doubtful that he would return.
So they offered me the job and I took
it. Thus I am now the senior U.S.
Advisor to the 3rd Bn, 50th Regt,
25th ARVN Div. As such I hold down
a strictly Infantry position -- the
[illegible] MOS 1547.

2

After a week on the job I'm not too
sure that I acted with wisdom. I
have discovered the obvious once again
--- A guy can get killed over here.
Other than that quite significant fact
I am getting an education. I have
called for and adjusted artillery fire
from both the ground and a helicopter;
have spent eight hours "walking" through
water that often reached up to my
neck and mud that reached up to my
knee caps; seen a misplaced rocket
from a U.S. helicopter fuck up a
couple of my binh-si (VN privates);
been guest of honour at a dinner in
the only Catholic and anti-communist
village in the area --- told the Catholic
priest that I am a Protestant;
had a nice sized piece of shrapnel
from a VC mortor go through the
ceiling in my room -- I was in
a bunker outside; etc.
..... The resources of the 3rd Bn
[line missing from photocopy of letter]

3

an abandonned U.S. Special Forces outpost
located along a small canal and the
village of Hoang Hoa, which is about four
Kilometers to the north. Adjacent to both
the outpost and the town is a second
class highway which Charles has successfully
kept closed for years. The only "safe"
means of movement around here is by
helicopter or river craft. I live at
the outpost with the Bn CO, Dai Vy Hiep,
and the two other members of my team
--- 1 Lt Hefferty from Pittsburg, PA, and
a Negro SSgt from Florida named Bryant.
Basically, the mission of the Bn
at present is to hold somewhat of a
static defensive position --- with some
sweeps through our area of
responsibility --- for the next three
months while new recruits and officers
are bought in to bring the unit
[to regular strength. Prior to]

my arrival this unit had the highest
casualty rate and kill ratio in the
25th Division and is badly in need of
replacements. The overall mission of
the 25th Div is to prevent Charles
from massing for an attack on Saigon.
.....Well, enough on the war. Now to
fill you in on my personal life. Upon
graduating from the language school at
Ft Bliss I drove to Phoenix to meet
Barbara. We then traveled together to
the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Disneyland,
and ended up at my sister's house in Santa Monica,
California. I had one of the best
vacations I've ever had in my life. If
Barbara is around when I return I
think I'll marry her. After this
experience I'll be ready to settle down.
My mother flew out to California
to say goodbye. She and Barbara
got along together quite well. She
is now in Ireland visiting her
relatives.
.....While in Los Angeles I sold

5

my MSB for $1600 cash. If I had the
time I easily could have gotten a
couple hundred dollars more. I'm
thinking of buying a 1969 Thunderbird
through the PX in Saigon --- if I ever
get to see it again.
.....As you probably had reported to
you, on the flight over here I stopped
off in Okinawa and gave you a call.
The Sgt who answered at your office
said you were shacked up in the
village. I'll pray for your soul.
..... Well, I've got to sign off.
I've been on radio watch for the
last four hours and it's my turn
to sleep. Take care of yourself
and write soon. When you write
to your family give them my best.

Ryan


THE LAST PHOTOGRAPH OF LARRY RYAN


Taken by his sister in California at the airport
while he waited to board the first part of his flight to Vietnam.
In the backround are two of his nephews.


LARRY RYAN'S LAST LETTER TO ED LOPATA (see above)
WAS MUCH MORE SOBER THAN PREVIOUS ONES.

On April 29, 1968, for example, Ryan wrote Lopata from Fort Bliss:

 

"...I have
conned the [language] school into letting me out
five days early so I now have ten
days leave between graduation and my
Port Call Date. Thus, Barbara is coming
out here for a week. We will go
to Phoenix, Arizona --- say hello to my brother
Al and his family --- then drive to see
the Grand Canyon for a couple of days,
then go to Las Vegas. If I have time
I will then drive to Los Angeles,
put her on an airplane, sell my automobile
and then go to see my sister in
Santa Barbara. After that it's San Francisco
to catch my flight ro RVN. I should be
in country before 1 June.
....."I have corresponded with a
couple of rabbis of mine in Vietnam who
are also advisors --- one of whom was
an R.O.T.C. instructor of mine at G.U. and
will be a senior province advisor ---
with the hope that they will get me
a job as far from headquarters as
possible where I hope to get shot at
as often as possible. I've done most of
the other important things in life, so what
the hell! It may be the only opportunity
I'll have. There isn't much else I can
do that I won't spend the rest of
my life doing again and again."



Larry Ryan, his girl friend Barbara McNamara, and his brother Padraic Ryan
with Larry's convertible, at Fort Holabird, Maryland, in 1968
at Padraic's commissioning as a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Army.


Larry Ryan was one of eleven children born to Irish immigrant parents:
his father Edward Francis Ryan (died in 1975) came from Ballygomen, Co. Wexford,
and his mother Aileen O'Riordan Ryan (died in 1989) came from Killarney, Co. Kerry.
All five of his brothers also served in the U.S, Armed Forces,
Alfred and Edward in the Marines, Kenneth, Dermot, and Padraic in the Army.
His sisters were Colleen, Elizabeth, Barbara (who died in infancy), Aileen and Judith.


THE RYAN FAMILY MONUMENT
Over the Graves of His Parents
and Infant Sister
Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York

.

Larry Ryan was born on the West Side of Manhattan.
His family lived there in a large apartment at 251 West 89th Street.
He was graduated in 1953 from St. Gregory the Great Elementary School,
which was a little more than a block away, at 138 West 90th Street.
For awhile he was a boarding student at Don Bosco High School in New Jersey;
but he returned to Manhattan in 1955, re-starting high school at Power Memorial Academy,
161 West 61st Street.

In September 1959 he began his freshman year
in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University,
living on the 2nd Floor of Loyola Hall,
on 35th St between Prospect and N Streets, NW.
His freshman year roommates were Owen McGuill and Ronald Stepien.
His sophomore year he lived on the 4th Floor of Copley Hall on the Main Campus.
where his roommate was Joseph McLaughlin.
His junior year he again lived in Copley Hall, with Edward Lopata as his roommate.
During his senior year he lived off-campus at 3312 Prospect Street, NW.
That year his roommates were Leonard Whiteside and William Sullivan.

In May 1963, the day before he was graduated from G.U.,
he was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Army
and he began soon after the 3 months Infantry Officers Basic Course at Ft. Benning, Ga.
Following that, he took the Intelligence Officers Basic Course at Ft. Hollabird, Md.

In January 1964 he began an 18 month tour as an intelligence officer in Korea.
His next assignment, beginning in June 1965, was as an intelligence staff officer
for the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, at Ton-Son-Nhut, South Vietnam,.

In mid-summer 1966 he began a coveted 18 month assignment at the Pentagon
as an intelligence staff officer.
During most of that time he lived in Washington, D.C.,
at 2811 27th Street, NW,
first, for several months with Edward Lopata again as his housemate
and then, after Lopata entered the U.S. Marines, by himself.

.......................
3312 Prospect Street, NW................2811 27th Street, NW
2nd floor apartment...........................1st floor apartment

THE TWO HOMES IN WASHINGTON, DC, THAT LARRY RYAN RENTED

.

In late winter 1968, he volunteered to serve once again in Vietnam.
In February he left D.C. for specialized infantry training at Ft. Bragg, N.C.,
and then for advanced intelligence training at Ft. Huachuca, NM.
Lastly, he had Vietnamese language training for several weeks at Ft. Bliss, Tex.,
before leaving for his second tour of duty in South Vietnam in late May 1968.

Larry Ryan was killed in action about a month later
when the propwash of a hovering U.S. helicopter accidentally
detonated a land mine buried about a hundred feet from where he was standing.

 

Larry Ryan's high school, Power Memorial, in Manhattan
has added him to its honor roll.

(http://www.powermemorialacademy.com/honorroll.htm)


Return to NEWS

Click here to send a message to DPE or pass on a Ryan anecdote to his family.

To Return to click here