Mickey La Garde

Mickey La Garde

Mickey pictured above with wife Dee.

The Allies began the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1945. By the end of the day approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches. More than 4,000 Allied troops were killed and thousands more wounded or missing.

One of the Allied soldiers who participated in the landing was Malcolm Dorris Goss. Malcolm Goss met and married a French woman named Yvette Micheline Claquin. Their son, Michael (Mickey) Malcolm Jean Yves La Garde (nee Goss), was born on April 25, 1946, in Le Havre, France. Mickey was brought to the United States in 1947 and became a U.S. citizen in 1962. Mickey’s mother eventually married Arthur La Garde, a participant in the Battle of the Bulge, who adopted Mickey.

Mickey went on to graduate high school in 1964 and college in 1968. Mickey joined the U.S. Army in 1968 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in 1969. He complete Jungle Operations training in Panama as a Jungle Warfare Expert. He served in Vietnam, Panama, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and the U.S. He received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.

We first met Mickey La Garde in May 1999. Mickey, and his wife Dee, had already shared many grand adventures. Dora and I owned a Catalina 22, a MKII version named Rhapsody in seA, and we were looking for adventure. One day in 1998 an email arrived from Mickey. We didn’t know each other but I was the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association Region Commodore for the southeast at the time. Mickey was reaching out concerning a cruise he and Catalina 22 Fleet 77 were planning. The plan was to have a Catalina 22 cruise from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Wolf Bay, Alabama and back. The planned cruise would last a week. Mickey asked if we might be interested.

We arrived in Shalimar, Florida in May 1999. Mickey and Dee did not know us, but they treated us as if we had been lifelong friends. They took us in, fed us, housed us, and helped us rig, launch, and provision our boat for the adventure. They watched over us the entire trip, making sure we had everything we needed. Seven Catalina 22s made the entire trip in ideal conditions.

It was a grand adventure that continued for over 20 years. Catalina 22 sailors from all over the country, as far away as Idaho, California, the Northeast, Canada, and Germany came to share in the adventure started by members of Fleet 77. No one went home disappointed.

Our friendship with Mickey and Dee grew. A more generous couple, capable of sharing their spirit with those they encountered, you would be hard pressed to find. We knew Mickey for 22 years. He was full of hope, joy, and adventure every day. He was always there with a helping hand, a smile, and a kind word. Sadly, Mickey left this life on June 16, 2021. He is greatly missed.