Vietnam-era Wounded Warrior and Combat 100% Disabled Veteran Receives SC’s Highest Civilian Award!

Lt. Colonel W. Larry Dandridge awarded ORDER OF THE PALMETTO


On Tuesday, November 15th, 2022, Lt. Colonel (Retired) W. Larry Dandridge was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the ORDER OF THE PALMETTO for his selfless service to veterans and their families.  The award is in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service, and contributions on a national and statewide scale.  Larry’s widely enjoyed, frequently complimented, and weekly articles on veterans’ benefits played a key role in justifying this prestigious award.

Larry was seriously wounded on March 28, 1969, when his UH-1 Huey Viking Gunship’s tail was blown off and he and his crew crashed. Larry’s back was broken, his ankles were shattered, his right hand broken, his left jaw broken, his neck was severely whip lashed, and he received a serious traumatic brain injury.

The Order of the Palmetto was presented to Larry by the SC Representative for District 99 Mark Smith and Brigadier General (Retired) and Charleston Military Officers Association Chapter President Ernie Brockman. The award is signed by the Governor.

Larry also received in 2020, the SC House of Representatives’ highest recognition for public service through SC House Resolution H.5224 for his volunteer work helping veterans.  Larry is also the recipient of the 2018 Military Writers Association of America Silver Writing and Book Award and several Silver Quill Awards.

Larry is known throughout SC as a champion of our military members, veterans, and their families.  He serves in so many volunteer roles that it is hard to list them all in one article.  He is the Coastal SC Association of the US Army Chapter VP for Veteran Affairs, the Charleston SC MOAA VP for Personal Affairs, the Fisher House Charleston Good Will Ambassador, a volunteer Patient Adviser, and a Patient and Family Centered Care Instructor at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, and a past Veterans Service Officer.  Larry is also a past hospice volunteer and the founder of CLC Hospice LLC.

Larry’s weekly ISLAND NEWS Newspaper articles, ALL ABOUT SENIORS magazine articles, and other articles on veterans’ benefits, leadership, employment, logistics, hospice, and end-of-life planning have helped thousands of veterans all over the globe.  His newspaper and magazine articles have been published in the USA, Germany, and England in over 20 magazines and newspapers and two books. Larry is most proud of his award-winning articles on leadership and veterans’ benefits. His leadership articles have been used by West Point, the Department of Homeland Security, numerous Army schools (Aviation, Artillery, Military Police, Engineer, and others), AUSA, MOWW, and many other government organizations and many businesses like Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, QinetiQ North America Inc, Westar Aerospace and Defense Group, and others to help teach leadership.

Larry was nominated for this special honor by 15 prestigious key players supporting our military, veterans, and their families in SC, GA, and NC. Those recommending Larry included Ralph H. Johnson VA CEO, SC Senator for District 41, SC House Representative for District 114, SC Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Executive Director of the SC Department of Motor Vehicles, President of the Charleston Military Officers Association of America Chapter, Chairman of the Board of the Charleston AUSA Chapter, the Red River Fighter Pilots Association of Charleston’s senior Admiral, the Vice Chancellor (retired) of Cape Fear College, a Retired Charleston Police Chief; Volunteer Services Director for Agape Health Hospice,  and a DoD Warrior Care Coordinator.

Larry is a Vietnam-era Wounded Warrior, ex-enlisted Infantryman, ex-warrant officer pilot, and retired Army Master Aviator.  He served with courage and distinction as a soldier in war and peace for 24 years and retired in 1991 as a Lt. Colonel.  Larry began his selfless volunteer work at Charleston, SC’s Murray Vocational High School with the March of Dimes.  He has served as a United Way volunteer, Wholesome Teen Club Founder, Good Will Industries Supporter, Youth Baseball Coach, and much more.

Despite being a combat 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran, Larry has devoted his life to helping others as a Soldier, hospice Volunteer, the Founder of Community Loving Care Hospice, volunteer and full-time Police Officer, a (past) Veterans Service Officer, and a VA volunteer.  He also wrote the award-winning and popular (over 230 five-star reviews) BLADES OF THUNDER Book which has raised more than $70,000.00 for Fisher House Charleston, SC

Larry is also one of the founding members of the SC Tri-County Veterans Support Network and he has led numerous fundraising campaigns and events that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Fisher House Charleston, and veterans.

Throughout Larry’s many careers as a Soldier, and in the defense industry, education, law enforcement, and journalism, he always found and continues to find time to help military members, veterans, and their families.

SC House Representative for District 99 Mark Smith (on the right) and the Charleston MOAA Chapter President, Army BG (Retired) Ernie Brockman (on left) presenting the award.


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