Robert Larry Studards

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
19 December 1944 - 24 July 1966
Detroit, Michigan
Panel 09E Line 071



Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Larry Studards

06 Jan 2008

Larry was the only son and only child of Helen and Robert Studards, my aunt and uncle. My dear aunt still grieves for him.

Larry left behind Grandma and Grandpa Jurczyk, many aunts and uncles, cousins he knew and loved, and one cousin he never met, me. He is missed greatly.

The following is the last letter written by Lance Corporal Robert Larry Studards to his parents, Helen and Bob, before the assault that took his life. This is for you, Aunt Helen, Larry's mom.

Dear Mother and Father,

If you don't mind, I've got to write this letter. To be truthful, I don't know if I'm doing the right thing in writing this letter, but this is a time I want to turn to you both for a little of your great wisdom.

It is about an hour after the briefing and it is dark now.

For the first time, everything is different. This night is like no other night I have ever known. The final briefing I would rather not discuss. Everyone is in a world of their own, yet very close together.

Everyone smiles at each other, but it is a smile of uncertainty - yet a sincere one. It's your last chance to get about five hours sleep, but you can't go to sleep.

At about 0115 everyone will go to breakfast, steak and eggs, then prepare for H-Hour, unofficially set for 0630, in which you and your landing team will be in the Amtrac at about 4am. You spend hours in the Amtrac wiating to go in. Sealed up in this thing hot and sweating and breathing hell, but not knowing what you'll have to face in the next few hours.

I don't know how I will feel or act in the next few hours, but believe me, it's something that you don't want to go through - but has to be done.

I want to reach out and touch you both, but I can't. The best I can do is have you in my heart and mind for now. I am thinking about ten million things at once and yet not one thing in particular.

Suddenly you feel how much you believe in God, and you talk to him constantly.

Life means everything to me now and yet there is the BIG FEAR of the unknown future.

I'd better stop now, cause I'm just getting to where I want to go and talk to God again.

Mom, you probably have a feeling about me right this moment - you know, like you always did before when I needed your love. And you Dad, your words keep running through my mind, "Son, you're a man and a Studards now and I will always respect your decisions."

And now is when I need to use your great advice, Keep a strong body and a sound mind, and I will do what you've asked cause you've never been wrong - not in my book, NO Sir.

Thanks so much for the little chat. I'm sure you understand what I mean.

God Bless and Protect our great family.

Love, "Larry"

P.S. Dad-I will always give honor to our family name.
The Marine Corps verse, Death Before Dishonor

From The Virtual Wall:
This letter was written on the night of 15/16 July 1966. Kilo Company, 3/5 Marines, formed the first wave of the amphibious assault, landing at Blue Beach east of Gio Linh by LVTP-5 (AMTRACs) at 0630, 16 July.

From his cousin,
Mary Mcdonough

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In July 1966 the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines provided the bulk of Battalion Landing Team 3/5. On 16 July the BLT was put ashore for operations in the eastern part of Quang Tri Province (Op DECKHOUSE II), but on the 18th it was reassigned to Op HASTINGS in the western portion of the Province. Elements of BLT 3/5 air-assaulted into LZ CROW in the mountains northwest of Cam Lo beginning at 0800 18 July.

These elements were the first US forces to operate in the area, which comprised three valleys divided by ridgelines reaching to altitudes exceeding 1000 feet above sea level. Although there was little hard intelligence with respect to the enemy's strength or exact location, the 364B NVA Division was known to be in the area. The initial landings at LZ CROW (Mike 3/5) were actively opposed, proving the enemy was present in force and apparently determined to fight.

However, that didn't happen - during the first four days, 3/5's contacts with enemy troops were limited to small unit encounters with enemy elements which seemed to fall into two categories - those assigned to fight delaying tactics and those which had been cut off from their parent units. The nature of the operation changed on 22 July when Mike 3/5 took on an NVA force defending what appeared to be a battalion staging area. Fourteen Marines and one sailor were killed in action ejecting the NVA from the bunkered area.

On 24 July India 3/5 was moving along the ridgeline of Hill 362 ("Razorback Ridge") when it came under point-blank attack by NVA forces concealed in heavy jungle. Kilo 3/5 was directed to join on Mike 3/5 but while approaching from the southeast encountered a bunkered NVA force. Both companies withdrew slightly while air and artillery struck the enemy areas. At the same time Lima 3/5 had a sharp encounter with a third force.

By nightfall the Marines had formed defensive perimeters and were prepared for a night attack - but the NVA satisfied themselves with mortar and sniper fire. At sunrise on 25 July the Marines resumed their advance but met little or no resistance - the NVA had withdrawn into the Demilitarized Zone, safely beyond the Marines' reach.

BLT 3/5 completed its withdrawal from the area on 30 July. During the 12 days of the operation they had located and destroyed eight major NVA staging areas, captured or destroyed large quantities of arms and supplies, killed over 300 NVA soldiers, and captured 7 NVA. The operation was completed at considerable cost - 53 Marines and sailors killed in action or died of wounds, and another 162 wounded in action. Twenty-eight of the American dead were from the actions on Razorback Ridge on 26 July:

  • India 3/5:
    • 1stLt Joseph S. Kopfler, Kenner, LA
    • SSgt Jerry L. Hailey, Conran, MO
    • SSgt William H. Hawkins, Greenville, SC
    • Cpl Richard J. Currier, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • Cpl Robert M. Johnson, Forest Park, GA
    • LCpl Robin L. Arnold, Streamwood, IL
    • LCpl Ronald P. Coates, Lebanon, OH
    • LCpl George E. Corey, Mount Sterling, KY
    • LCpl Lawrence E. Denny, Belleville, IL
    • LCpl Sidney J. Malone, San Diego, CA
    • Pfc Randy D. Brosnan, Detroit, MI
    • Pfc Lawrence E. Daniels, Oak Forest, IL
    • Pfc Franklin C. Eucker, Orange, NJ
    • Pfc Ronald L. Fenstermacher, Buckhannon, WV
    • Pfc Daniel W. Harmon, Bremerton, WA
    • Pfc Samuel L. Huffman, Hamilton, OH (DoW 07/25/1966)
    • Pfc Stephen R. Kittle, Hollywood, FL
    • Pfc Thomas F. Presby, Sunland, CA
    • Pvt Oscar Cruz, Escondido, CA

  • Kilo 3/5:
    • Cpl Joe M. Kemp, Las Cruces, NM
    • LCpl Robert L. Studards, Detroit, MI
    • Pfc Jose D. Flores, Los Angeles, CA (DoW 07/25/1966)
    • Pfc Ronda L. Raglin, St Clair Shores, MI

  • Lima 3/5:
    • SSgt Norman L. Koos, Olivet, MI
    • Pfc Bruce A. Baker, Essex Junction, VT
    • Pfc Pruitt H. Cheaney, Sarasota, FL
    • Pfc James R. Nash, Brick Township, NJ
    • Pfc Paul J. Strausser, Millington, TN

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index S
MI State Index . Panel 09E

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Jan 2008
Last updated 08/10/2009