The greatest stories are love stories, and my dad's is no different. Before my dad ever set foot in Vietnam, he spent just shy of two years with the love of his life, Martha Gipson, my mom. These months were the most perfect of their lives. While some will look at my dad's story and see another Vietnam War story, I know, and I hope you will too from reading this page and my book, that my dad's love begins with my mom and grew to include me too.
Larry Jo Goss
My dad was born in July 1946 to Marie and Harry Goss, though neither were much in the way of parents to him. My dad also had a sister named Mona.
Ball State Admission
My dad had dreamed of medical school. He worked hard, saved up, and was admitted to Ball State. But Marie wasted his deposit money she had promised to deliver on alcohol. My dad never got to attend college.
Just four months before my dad was slated to start college, he received notice of his orders. He managed to get his draft date pushed back due to enlisting in the Navy as a hospital corpsman, hoping to further his medical career after his service.
Their Wedding Day
My dad and my mom got married as young 20-somethings, and they were hopelessly in love. Following their wedding, my dad penned thousands of lines of romantic (and at times sensual!) poetry to my mom expressing his overwhelming love for her that never wavered up until the day he died.
Lori Jo Goss
I was born on July 25, 1967, just nine months and seventeen days after my parents' wedding. The photo to the left was taken when I was four months old in November 1967, and is my favorite photo of my dad and I from the short time we spent together.
Orders for Vietnam
Just before their one year wedding anniversary, my dad sat my mom down to tell her the devastating news: he had received his orders for Vietnam. Within weeks, he helped my mom get settled and headed to California to complete Field Medical School at Camp Pendleton.
October - December 1967
My dad completed Field Medical School at Camp Pendleton in California. While there, he wrote my mom 22 letters, filled with words of love. He also had his orders changed: he would now be going to the DMZ.
December 1967 - February 1968
Orders for Vietnam
My dad served near Ca Lu in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. His title was HM2 Larry Jo Goss, Hospital Corpsman. While he was technically with the Navy, he served with a battalion of Marines called Kilo Company.
My dad died during what is known as the Battle of Valentine's Ridge. I have been told many conflicting and convoluted stories of my dad's death, and so, with all the same determination and strong-willed-ness of my dad, I set out to learn the truth.
A traumatic series of telegrams, phone calls, and letters bombarded my mom's life. She received the official notice of my dad's death more than a month after the fact. Why had it taken so long? Where was his body that whole time? These questions and many more I sought out to answer.
Mr. and Mrs. Reaves
My life spun in a different direction the moment my dad was killed. During my growing years, I wrote poems as a memorial on the anniversary of his death, interviewed with newspapers, and went to Washington D.C.. In all of that, I found Eric Reaves, the love of my life, an artist, my high school sweetheart turned husband.