In 1959 and 1960, Larry Glaze was in the U.S. Navy assigned to a specialized team of sailors trained to swim long distances and use or disarm explosives under the enemys’ noses.


In 1959 and 1960, Larry Glaze was in the U.S. Navy assigned to a specialized team of sailors trained to swim long distances and use or disarm explosives under the enemys’ noses.

Glaze, now an artist in Carthage known for his creations using the antlers of elk, deer and other animals, was involved in top secret missions in Laos and Cambodia to disrupt the very enemy the U.S. would spend the next decade fighting.

He was not recognized for that service, however, because those missions were secret and they took place before America had publicly decided to intervene in the war in Vietnam.

Until now.

Last month, Glaze received a certificate and a medal from the state of Missouri honoring his service in the Vietnam War.

“I’ve been waiting for this ever since 1963,” Glaze said. “In 1963, when I was discharged from the navy after the Cuban Missile Crisis, I received my Cuban crisis ribbon and I asked the Navy about my ribbon for the actions in Laos and I never heard back.”

Glaze said he knew the state of Missouri was recognizing Vietnam veterans with medals, but his part in the actions on that peninsula took part before the official start of the Vietnam War, so he didn’t think he qualified.

It wasn’t until he talked to doctors at the Veteran’s Home in Mount Vernon that he found his actions qualified him for Vietnam War recognition.

“My dad died, my mom is 93 but she’s not cognizant, and I lost my wife, she was my high school sweetheart, in 2009,” Glaze said. “None of them knew what I did in Vietnam.”

Glaze said he was a part of what the Navy called an Underwater Demolition Team, or UDT, serving off the aircraft carrier USS Lexington for 14 months in 1959 and 1960.

Glaze said he served as a communications specialist for his particular team and spent weeks at a time living off the land in the Laotian jungle reporting movements of troops through Cambodia and into Vietnam.

“It was a secret assignment, we couldn’t tell anyone,” Glaze said. “I was gone for 14 months with no word to anyone.”

After his service in Laos, Glaze and his unit transferred to a smaller helicopter carrier, the USS Thetis Bay and traveled across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal in time to get to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the Cuban Missile Crisis was unfolding in October and November 1962.

“My team sneaked into Cuba and placed explosive charges on missiles on the Cuban coast,” Glaze said. “Once the crisis passed, we sneaked back in and disarmed those charges. We were never discovered and never caught.”

Glaze, now 70, said his role was a communications specialist and he used special radios and codes to transmit what his unit saw back to headquarters.
He currently works from a studio west of Carthage creating highly specialized art using antlers recovered after they fall from the animals, and unusual pieces of wood.

He said he’s always been a patriotic person and patriotism inspires some of his creations, including eagles that are on display at Leggett & Platt headquarters and other places.