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Fallen Heroes Details

In Memory Of
Larry Steilen
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, TX
End of watch: 1998-09-25
Aircraft: Hughes 369A
51-year old flight instructor Larry Steilen died when his helicopter crashed while on a training mission at Copeland Field, near Newark ten miles north of Fort Worth, TX.

Larry Steilen was employed by Raytheon and contracted to the DEA in late 1998. Mr. Steilen had worked with DEA for many years flying support missions for Operation Snowcap, as well as for private contractors flying drug eradication operations in the Caribbean. Mr. Steilen made a career of service to country, including as an Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War.

Thoughts and Memories of Larry Steilen

Larry is my father. He was a great man with a huge heart. I miss him dearly, every day. He died 6 months before my first son, Gianfranco Larry was born. Unfortunately my children will not have him here as a role model but I speak of him every chance I get. Incredibly, Gianfranco is EXACTLY like my father. Same body, same face and amazingly enough, same facial expressions and habits. My dad was re-encarnated in my son. It really is incredible to see my dad in my son. It took me a long time to write about my dad. But I have thought of him every day since he left us.

My wish is that one day my children will know what kind of man he was and become like him.
Marie Steilen
Larry was my best friend, growing up in South Canyon, Rapid City, South Dakota. In high school (RCHS), Larry really buckled-down in his studies and improved his grades greatly. I was duly impressed and I'm sure he did this in order to pursue his dream of becoming a professional pilot. He joined the Civil Air Patrol. He asked me to take pictures of his first solo flight out at the airport. So, of course, I did. I was alongside the runway with my camera. He took off & I clicked away. Good takeoff. Then he flew around for a while and came back around for a landing. I was ready to capture that as well. There was a crosswind and when he touched down his plane veered directly toward me and I ran like heck to get out of the way. Vrooom, ..he corrected and swished right by me. He later said he didn't even see me. Whew!.. In Junior High Larry did an on-stage skit where he was in a cockpit battling a German plane. If anybody were made to fly, it was Larry. God rest that man's soul. He's still up there.
Mike Moore


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