A Vietnam veteran and retired Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff, Larry Laird passed away October 16, 2023 at age 76. Born in Sacramento, CA on February 5, 1947 to Lester and Patricia Laird, he was the oldest of 5 brothers (Larry, Jerry, Gary, Barry and Terry). After graduating Mira Loma HS in 1965, Larry enlisted with the United States Marines Corps, serving nearly 2 years in Vietnam before returning to Sacramento and joining the Sherriff’s Aero Detail Department as a helicopter pilot. He raised 4 sons, Jason, Sean, Brandon and Kevin. He is survived by each
son, his daughter-in-law’s Sarah and Lorrie Tyler, his 9 grandchildren (Hannah, Sydney, Hunter, Addison, Emma, Olivia, Molly, Kamden & Nixon) to whom he was known as “Papa”; as well as his brothers Gary and Terry.
Larry proudly and courageously served his Country from March 1967 – June 1968 in the Vietnam War. As a USMC V-MO3 crew chief on Huey helicopter gunships, Larry was deployed to Hue’ (just south of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone) and jumped into action with 13 missions on his first day of combat. During his 15 months of service, which included the Tet offensive, Larry flew in over 450 missions and was awarded 24 Air Medals for his valor. Among the Air Medals was a Gold Star for “heroic achievement in connection with operations on August 22, 1967 when he assisted in extracting a reconnaissance team that was surrounded and heavily engaged with North Vietnam troops.”
Always one to run to the fight in service to others, it was only natural for Larry to join the Sacramento Sherriff’s Department upon his return home. Larry completed the Academy in 1973 and was a patrol officer for 5 years before moving to the Air Detail in July 1978. Over 17.5 years, Larry logged 10,000 flight hours before medically retiring in
September 1995. Among his many achievements, Larry received a Silver Star in 1986 for piloting Star II “in disregard for his personal safety, in extremely hazardous conditions, maneuvered the helicopter between trees, powerlines, and TV antennas to make multiple rooftop rescue landings” to prevent residents in the Yuba County area from being
trapped due to extreme flooding and rapidly rising waters. While Larry loved flying helicopters and enjoyed the camaraderie of his USMC & Sheriff friends, nothing could replace the love he had for his family… especially his 4 boys & 9 grandchildren. His presence was felt at every game, graduation and big moment of their lives. There was
never a time where Papa said “no” or was too busy to be available. The ultimate big brother, the world’s best son and a protector to those in need, Larry lived out his retirement by cruising around town, sometimes too fast, in his convertible Corvette (one of many he owned in his lifetime) and gardening in his immaculate yard. The world doesn’t
make men like him anymore. He will be greatly missed and loved forever.