R.I.P., Staff Sergeant Larry Lehrke
I used to wear a POW/MIA bracelet bearing the name S/SGT Larry Lehrke. Wore it religiously for a good 7 or 8 years. I thought it was lost during a move some 15 years ago. While shoveling through some crap in an early spring cleaning I found it once again. I figured I'd use the power of the internet to learn more about him.
Staff Sergeant Stanley L. ("Larry") Lehrke was a member of the crew of an AC-130A which was shot down over the Ashau Valley on June 18, 1972. In October 1994 (after I had lost the bracelet) the remains of Sergeant Lehrke and the rest of the planes crew were turned over to the USAF and identified (Sergeant Lehrke and 8 others identified as a group and 3 others identified individually). On November 17, 1994, a group burial of the co-mingled remains of the AC-130 crew was held at Arlington National Cemetery.
I never knew Staff Sergeant Larry Lehrke. But I know he was an American hero who gave his life for this country. I will leave you with this recent tribute, from his sister:
Tribute for: Larry Lehrke (San Diego, CA)
Tribute left by: Marcie Holst (Santa Clarita, CA)
There are not enough words in my vocabulary to describe my hero, and my brother, Larry Lehrke. He was generous, caring, compassionate, friendly, honest, respectful, fun loving, risk taking, talkative, athletic, supportive, courageous, adventurous, peaceful, intelligent, charismatic, and handsome to name just a few. He physically left us in 1972, but the "life" of his spirit continues to guide me every step of the way. I love you big brother and I miss your "Righteous Brothers" renditions, "sis"