Larry Maxam:

Burbank's Only Medal of Honor Recipient






Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF.


Place and Date: Cam Lo District, Quang Tri province, Republic of Vietnam, 2 February 1968.


Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif.


Born: 9 January 1948, Glendale, Calif.

Died: 2 February 1968, Vietnam


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a fire team leader with Company D. The Cam Lo District Headquarters came under extremely heavy rocket, artillery, mortar, and recoilless rifle fire from a numerically superior enemy force, destroying a portion of the defensive perimeter. Cpl. Maxam, observing the enemy massing for an assault into the compound across the remaining defensive wire, instructed his assistant fire team leader to take charge of the fire team, and unhesitatingly proceeded to the weakened section of the perimeter.


Completely exposed to the concentrated enemy fire, he sustained multiple fragmentation wounds from exploding grenades as he ran to an abandoned machine gun position. Reaching the emplacement, he grasped the machine gun and commenced to deliver effective fire on the advancing enemy. As the enemy directed maximum firepower against the determined Marine, Cpl. Maxam's position received a direct hit from a rocket-propelled grenade, knocking him backwards and inflicting severe fragmentation wounds to his face and right eye. Although momentarily stunned and in intense pain, Cpl. Maxam courageously resumed his firing position and subsequently was struck again by small-arms fire.


With resolute determination, he gallantly continued to deliver intense machine gun fire, causing the enemy to retreat through the defensive wire to positions of cover. In a desperate attempt to silence his weapon, the North Vietnamese threw hand grenades and directed recoilless rifle fire against him, inflicting two additional wounds. Too weak to reload his machinegun, Cpl. Maxam fell to a prone position and valiantly continued to deliver effective fire with his rifle.


After 1 & 1/2 hours, during which he was hit repeatedly by fragments from exploding grenades and concentrated small-arms fire, he succumbed to his wounds, having successfully defended nearly half of the perimeter single-handedly. Cpl. Maxam's aggressive fighting spirit, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Signed, Richard M. Nixon

Larry Leonard Maxam, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in February 1968, was born January 9, 1948, in Glendale, California.

He attended Emerson Elementary, John Muir Jr. High and Burbank High School in Burbank, California, leaving the latter in 1964. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, in Los Angeles, on March 8, 1965. Completing recruit training with the 3d Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, in June 1965, he served briefly with the Casual Section, Headquarters Company, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California.

He then completed individual combat training with Company A, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, at Camp Pendleton, in July 1965. From August 1965 until February 1966, he served with the Marine Aviation Detachment, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Jacksonville, Florida. Transferred to the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he served as a rifleman with Company H. In November 1966, he joined the rolls of Company E, 2d Battalion, but served on temporary additional duty as a fireman with Headquarters and Service Company, Officer Candidates' School, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, and as a rifleman attached to Camp Garcia, Force Troops, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.

He was promoted to private first class, April 1, 1966, and to lance corporal, January 1, 1967. Lance Corporal Maxam next served as a rifleman with Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2/8, in the Caribbean, until May 1967.

In July 1967, he arrived in the Republic of Vietnam, and served as a rifleman, radioman, and squad leader with Company D, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division. He was promoted to corporal, October 1, 1967. While participating in Operation Kentucky on February 2, 1968, he was killed in action at Cam Lo District Headquarters, Quang Tri Province.

A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Military Merit Medal (Vietnamese), and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Corporal Maxam was survived by his mother, Mrs. Alice Maxam, one sister, Linda and one brother, Robin.


Maxam was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon).


Update, 4/19/10: The City of Burbank renamed Pacific Park for Cpl. Maxam. See Maxam Park Dedication (17 April 2010).

A short Marine Corps Museum video which mentions Cpl. Maxam

Battle of Cam Lo - A song by "Doc" Ken Walker about Cpl. Maxam, loaded onto a youtube video by Cathy Palmer.


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