Larry Van Cleve was born November 20, 1944, in Norfolk, Virginia. He joined the Army in 1963, completed basic and advanced individual training at Fort Ord, California, and then served as a wheeled vehicle mechanic in the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. Following a break in service from 1966 to 1969, he reenlisted and served as a tracked vehicle mechanic and motor sergeant in mechanized infantry and transportation units in Germany and the United States. In 1973, Van Cleve was appointed Warrant Officer and assigned to Bamberg, Germany, as Maintenance Technician for the 6th Battalion, 10th Field Artillery. From 1977 to 1979, he served at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, as Motor Officer for the 40th Signal Battalion.
From 1979 to 1983, he was assigned to the 88th Maintenance Company in Hanau, Germany, as Production Control Officer, overseeing a 5-ton truck rebuild program. Van Cleve next served, from 1983 to 1985, as Maintenance Technician and then Shop Officer in C Company, 725th Forward Support Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. In 1985, he was assigned to the 704th Main Support Battalion, Fort Carson, Colorado, as Chief of Quality Control. In 1989, he went to Yemen as Executive Officer of a Technical Assistance Field Team where he led a team of automotive and armament maintenance experts to remote Yemen Army outposts to restore their equipment and to train mechanics.
Van Cleve returned to Fort Carson and the 704th Main Support Battalion in 1991 as Division Maintenance Officer, responsible for the readiness of the 4th Infantry Division's combat, tactical, and power-generation systems. He supervised 13 maintenance, supply, transportation, and automation specialists in coordinating supply actions and providing direct and general support for the division. After graduating from the Master Warrant Officer Course in 1991, he was assigned as Senior Maintenance Officer for the 1st Armored Division in Germany. He managed a repair-parts distribution program for Operation Able Sentry in Macedonia and deployed with the division's forward logistics element during Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia. He oversaw the M1 Tank Engine Repair Program, the Operational Readiness Float Program, the Modification Work Order Program, the General Support/ Depot Warranty Program, New Equipment Materiel Fielding, Fleet Refurbishment Program, and a 50-man, $4 million contract maintenance team operation.
In 1998, Van Cleve returned to the United States to serve as the Ordnance Corps' Regimental Chief Warrant Officer, advising the Chief of Ordnance on maintenance policy and on the Warrant Officer Program for the Corps' 3,000 active and reserve warrants. He was instrumental in implementing the Standard Army Tool Sets program, which modernized and streamlined all tool sets and kits. In his final assignment, from 2002 to 2003, Van Cleve served as the Senior Logistics Management Officer, Headquarters, Army Materiel Command (AMC), Fort Belvoir, Virginia. CW5 Van Cleve retired in 2003 after more than 37 years of dedicated service, but continues his contributions to the Army and the Ordnance Corps as a civilian Logistics Management Specialist with AMC.