In the 1960s Larry Candelaria went to college through an ROTC program. He graduated as a Commissioned Officer, and in 1970, he was deployed to Vietnam. Larry served as an administrator, and was eventually assigned to be the Chief of the Casualty Branch for the 23rd Infantry Division.
Lieutenant Colonel Larry Candelaria at the 23rd Infantry Division base in Vietnam. Photo Courtesy of Larry Candelaria.
There, his job was to identify service members who were injured, captured, or killed in the line of duty. As soldiers returned or were lost in the field of battle his team was responsible for notifying families back home of the condition of their loved ones.
Larry came to StoryCorps as part of our Military Voices Initiative, to reflect on his time serving in Vietnam and its lasting impact on his life.
Top Photo: Lieutenant Colonel Larry Candelaria and his wife, Connie, at their StoryCorps interview in Las Cruces, New Mexico on March 12, 2020. By Zazil Davis-Vazquez for StoryCorps.
This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Originally aired May 27, 2023, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.