Larry Litten of Fairborn is trying to raise enough money to finally memorialize his and his six brothers’ 133 combined years of service in the U.S. Air Force.
Litten, originally from Flushing, Ohio, remembers with great detail the day he enlisted and left for basic training on the same day as two of his brothers. He believes his family is one of only two families in history to have a USAF service record of this caliber.
As three of the Litten brothers have already passed away, Litten said he does not want to wait any longer to honor the lives and service of his brothers.
In order to accomplish this, Litten connected with Kim McCarthy, candidate for Ohio State Representative in the 73rd district, to ask for her assistance. The two connected through McCarthy’s friend, Katie Bradshaw, who was working with Litten to tell his story through the Wright State University Veteran Voices Project.
The goal is to raise $5,000 through the GoFundMe page set up by McCarthy at “USAF Recognition Plaque for the Litten Family” on gofundme.com. Litten hopes to afford a memorial locally in Fairborn and at the brothers’ birthplace in Flushing.
“He recognizes what an unusual situation he’s in,” McCarthy said. “He might not be able to remember what day of the week it is now, but he has these really intricate memories of specific instances that happened (in the Air Force) and talks about his three brothers getting into the cargo plane together.”
Litten recalled the story of his childhood to McCarthy with great fondness.
They were days of working in the local dairy farm with his brothers, and nights sleeping out under the trees in his front yard, listening to music on the radio, according to the GoFundMe page. There were not many opportunities around at the time for young men like Litten and his brothers, so the military presented them with an opportunity to both do something meaningful, while enabling each of them to send back needed funds via allotment checks for their parents.
In 1964, the money the brothers sent home to their parents allowed them to build a brand new house in Flushing, where their mother would live until she died.
The brothers’ parents received a letter in 1972 from President Richard Nixon, thanking him for all seven of his sons’ service.
“Recently I had the pleasure of reading a news account of your son Gerald’s safe return home after a year’s tour in Vietnam,” read Nixon’s letter. “I understand that all seven of your sons have served with the Air Force, six of them in southeast Asia. You must be extremely proud of the outstanding contribution which your sons have made to our country.”
“It really is part of his identity, and I think he would just see this memorial as a fitting tribute to what his family gave to this country,” McCarthy said.
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