At First Light Tells Story of WW II Hero Phil Larimore
By GEORGE MORRIS, The Advocate
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Growing up in Baton Rouge, Dr. Walt Larimore knew his dad had fought in World War II. An amputated right leg was a daily reminder. But Phil Larimore kept his story a secret.
Then, in 1994, the pastor at St. Albans Chapel invited Phil to preach about freedom not being free. Learning of this, his four sons asked him to tell them how he lost his leg. Once he opened up, he didnt stop.
He began talking to folks at work at LSU, where he was a professor, and with the Scouts; he was scoutmaster, Walt Larimore said. When we boys were around, he started talking to us. Quite frankly, the stories were unbelievable.
Now, those stories fill a book.
At First Light (Knox Press, $35), which Walt Larimore researched and co-wrote, tells how the Armys youngest officer earned medals of valor, befriended a future president and a legendary hero and performed a top-secret mission behind enemy lines.
Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Phil Larimore did poorly in school but became a skilled, enthusiastic horseman and outdoorsman from frequent visits to relatives in Arkansas. To instill discipline, his parents sent him to Gulf Coast Military Academy.
He really thrived there, became a commander of cadets and a leader, Walt Larimore said. People recognized his natural leadership.
During his last year at the academy, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Since the academy offered ROTC and because of Larimores record there, he was eligible to attend Officer Candidate School immediately upon enlisting. Larimore completed the school while he was still 17 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant 16 days after his 18th birthday.
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