Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nam Vet

As I stated before, I am a Vietnam Vet. I was stationed in Nam from June 1967 until July 1968. However, I was a patient at the Naval Hospital on Guam during Tet. I spent four months on Guam recuperating from wounds sustained on Friday the 13th of October of 1967. I stepped on a booby trapped grenade that tore up my left leg and foot. It totally blew off my boot and and put about 300 holes in my leg. The Corpsman that treated me was Hospitalman Jerry L Hall. I still have the original DD 1380 or U.S. Field Medical Card that gets attached to you when you get injured.

I was flown to Dong Ha by chopper for initial surgery on my leg and foot. From there, I was flown to Phu Bai by C-130 and eventually ended up being flown to Da Nang. Because I was a Corpsman, rather than being sent Stateside, they tried to get my wounds to heal in Nam so I could go back into the field. As it turned out, the wounds were worse then they anticipated and they finally Med-Evaced me out of Nam to Guam via Cam Rann Bay. By April of 1968, I got my orders back to Nam.

Before I got injured, I was with Bravo 1/4 3rd Marine Division and two weeks before I got injured was moved up to H&S Company. It should be a lot safer with H&S Co. but in my case I guess it wasn't. After my Guam recuperation, I was assigned to H&S Co. with the 3rd Shore Party Btn at the big Quang Tri air base. I was on limited duty which meant I was assigned to stay on base and could not go on patrols outside the wire. We still got mortars and rockets inside the base but it was a lot safer. I still walk with a slight limp today.

After Nam, I was hoping for a sweet assignment such as Nice, France or something in Europe. Guess what they gave me? Two more years with the Fleet Marine Force at Camp Pendleton, California. At least it was nice in California. I really lucked out and got assigned to the base Medical Supply. I replaced a Chief that was retiring and I was just promoted to E5 so I was honored to get such a position. The officer in charge liked my college background with a good deal of mathematics. I don't remember the officers name but I do remember Chief Waters and E6 Jimmy Valdez. It was a great group to work with. On duty nights, I was assigned to supervise one of the Medical Clinics. I only had to stand duty about every 17th day. If it fell on a weekend then I had to work both days. Being in charge of the clinic was pretty good duty unless we really got a lot of patients (full moons). I was trained to take X-rays, do lab. blood work, dispense prescriptions and put on plaster casts.

I got an early out discharge to attend college. You could get about 4 months early out if you were excepted to a college so I got accepted to Michigan State University and got almost the full 4 months. After a couple of semester, I transferred to Wayne State University in Detroit and got my BS degree.

While in Nam, I was at or flew into the following places; Da Nang, Phu Bai, Camp Evans, Hue, Camp Cumberland, Camp Zamora, Dong Ha, Quang Tri, Chu Lai, Cam Rann Bay, Siagon, Gia Le and Ton Sa Nadt. I believe I was on the following operations; Hickory II, Cumberland, Medina, Granite, Fremont and Buffalo. Some of my Corpsmen that I was assigned with were Jerry Hall and Kenneth Clarence Stommes in 1st Platoon. HN Stommes gave the ultimate sacrifice on Oct. 27th, 1967 in Vietnam. Second Platoon was HN Warren M Hardy (WIA) and HN D. Souza. My guys in 3rd Platoon were HM3 Mike D. Thompson (WIA), HN Gary L. McDonough who came down with malaria and HN Ronald E. Sierer (WIA). As you can see, Corpsmen didn't fair to well in Nam but we are proud of the work we did to keep our troops in tiptop shape. I, on occasion, even had to give shots to the patrol dogs if their foot pads got infections.

If any of my old Marine and Navy buddies find this, please leave me a message. I would love to hear from you. Semper Fi.

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