A memorial service for retired Lt. Gen. Larry Dodgen, who was raised in West Jefferson before embarking on a 34-year military career that culminated at the helm of one of the U.S. Army's major commands, will be held Saturday in Marrero.
Dodgen died Feb. 20 of a heart attack while playing tennis in Huntsville, Ala. He was 60.
Known by colleagues as "a soldier's soldier" for his care of the troops and their families under his watch, Dodgen retired from the Army in January 2007 as commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile DefenseCommand/Army Forces Strategic Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. After leaving the Army, he joined Northrop Grumman in Alabama.
After he became commanding officer of the Army's Redstone Arsenal and its key tenant, the Aviation and Missile Command, on Sept. 10, 2001, he said he welcomed a return to the soldiers' ranks after being stationed for five years at the Pentagon - an assignment he called his "time away from the Army."
"This is my opportunity to get back in the Army, to have a direct effect on soldiers," Dodgen said in a Times-Picayune interview.
Born on June 12, 1949, at Hotel Dieu Hospital in New Orleans, Dodgen was raised in Harvey and graduated from West Jefferson High School. He was commissioned as an Army officer after graduating from Louisiana State University with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering.
He said in an interview that while at LSU, he entered Air Force ROTC program and was rated to be a pilot. But his eyesight kept him out of the cockpit, so he switched to the Army ROTC program during his junior year. He also held master's degrees from the University of Missouri and the Naval War College.
During his career, he served with air defense artillery units stateside, South Korea and Germany. He commanded a Patriot missile battalion in Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. He became commander of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in 2003, overseeing research and development and deployment of missile defense systems.
"I was always very impressed with his ability to be looking ahead and planning not for tomorrow, but for five or 10 years down the road," his successor in that command, Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell, told The Huntsville Times.
Dodgen was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., on March 11.
He is survived by his wife, Leslie Dodgen of Huntsville, Ala.; his mother, Zoella Dodgen of Marrero; two brothers, George L. Dodgen of Houston, Texas, and John W. Dodgen of Marrero; a sister, Patty Z. Dodgen of Marrero; two nieces, Amice Lyons and Jamie Savoie and three nephews, Christopher Dodgen, John Ross Dodgen and Blaine Dodgen.
The memorial service will be Saturday at 2 p.m., at First Baptist Church, 2001 Seventh St., Marrero.
Westlawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Plot: Acacia Lawn-27C-Space1
Maintained by: Jesse McWhirter
Originally Created by: Joseph Mann
Record added: Jan 12, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103449654