I awoke in bits and pieces. I blinked my eyes up at the ceiling, which was made of some strange greenish plaster, with light bulbs swinging slightly from wires hanging vertically down. I realized, hazily, that I was in some sort of hard-roofed tent. I tried to move my head but something was holding it down. I raised my right hand with difficulty, as I.V. tubes were heavily taped to most of my arm. I felt my neck. An I.V. was attached under the side of my jaw.
A man’s face appeared from my left side, centering itself over my own, about four inches from me. I wanted to back up or sink lower in the slanted bed but I could not move at all.
“Surgery went well but it’s going to be a long hard road from here,” the man said, his brown eyes remaining steady and unblinking.
“Doctor?” I managed to get out.
“Hardly,” the face said. “I’m your corpsman, your orderly, letter-writer, bathroom assistant, and plenty more.”
I realized that the man’s face was way too young to be that of a doctor.
“You a corporal?” I asked, not knowing why I asked.
“Lance,” the boy said.
“I had a corporal once,” I breathed out, the enormity of Fusner’s death rushing like a load of rocks falling from the ceiling. I grimaced, but could only shut my eyes. I wasn’t crying. Fusner deserved tears but I had none. I felt bad about that too. “Sorry,” I breathed out.
“That’s okay,” the Lance Corporal said. “You’re in a lot of pain. You’ve got an hour to go but I can push it to q 3h every once in a while if you’re in a bad spot.”
I couldn’t understand how a Lance Corporal Corpsman could order or ‘push’ anything but knew I’d once more entered a world where I was an FNG all over again.
“Okay,” I replied, not knowing what else to say. I fought Fusner out of my mind, feeling guilty about that too. The Lance Corporal had said he was a letter-writer, and that had impacted on me. I was strapped down with I.V. tubes in both arms, still getting blood and then clear stuff too. I could not write home and there was no way to call either. My wife was going to need an accurate report of my situation and condition, as well as knowing where I was, as quickly as she could get it. My letters home had not been accurate, for the most part, and neither had most of our reports sent to the rear from the field. The letter I needed to write, or have the Lance Corporal write, would have to be accurate, understandable, and sent right away. I had no faith in whatever communications my wife would be receiving from the Marine Corps. My parents also deserved a letter.
“What’s your name?” I whispered to the corporal, my strength seeming to ebb a bit.
“Shoot,” the corporal replied, finally pulling himself back from the side of my bed to the point where I couldn’t see him again. “I’m from Little Chute in Wisconsin, so everyone calls me Chute, but I’m not little.”
“No, of course not,” I got out.
“That’s my nickname, spelled like shooting a rifle like you’re Junior. Ranks don’t work really well in this kind of place.”
“How’d you know my nickname?” I asked, some strength returning at the mention of my own name, in light of how damaged I was in an unknown position and situation.
“The doctor blotted that off my file.”
“Word travels fast in this place. I don’t know how. It’s all English inside and all Japanese on the outside…and the Japanese don’t particularly like us here.”
There was a silence after that. I realized, after a short time, that the corporal was gone. For some reason, I didn’t want to be alone to go through the next terrible last hour, while the morphine was fast wearing off. I could do it by breathing and watching the huge clock, mounted up on the wall with a big loud-ticking second hand. I could count seconds. It took six seconds for me to breathe in and out. I figured that out right away. Ten breaths a minute. Six hundred breaths to the next morphine shot. I could do it.
“This is Kathy, your nurse,” Shoot’s voice spoke from nearby, his presence too far to the side to allow me to see him, or Kathy, however.
Kathy appeared suddenly, at my right side. She had long brown hair I saw right away, wore no cap, but was dressed in white like nurses were supposed to be. Her eyes smiled and sparkled. I tried to smile back but I had no tears, and now no smiles in me.
“Nurse Kathy?” I asked.
“Just Kathy will do fine,” she replied, grasping the I.V. tube running into my right wrist, and quickly injecting something into it.
“Shoot says you’re in a bad way,” Kathy said, disposing of a syringe, it making a slight clang as it fell into a metal container of some sort on the floor. “Your chart says you are dead, so I guess an extra shot, here or there, isn’t going to affect that condition. I’ll be seeing you.”
Kathy walked away, her shoes making a whispery sound on what I presumed was a bare concrete floor.
“You’ll get used to her,” Shoot said.
“Does the chart really say that?” I asked, tentatively.
“So, I guess there’s no wonder why they call you Junior, huh?” Shoot replied.
I didn’t understand the corporal’s answer but caught the sarcasm in his voice as he’d said the words, intimating that I was too dumb to understand him.
The morphine hit me and the room spun once before centering itself. The pain flowed out of me like something traveling fast down a flooded river. I stopped counting my breaths and closed my eyes. Whatever Kathy had hit me with was powerful, indeed.
“I’m here whenever you need me,” Shoot said, his voice seeming to come up from the floor on my left side, but nothing of his body was visible.
“Why are you staying?” I asked, without opening my eyes. I knew I was going out and I was so relieved. I also knew if I did not go out then I wasn’t going to be making much sense in short order.
“I’ll always be here, as long as you’re here,” the corporal said. “I sleep on a cot through that door over there under the clock. I sleep with the door open in case you need me, courtesy of the United States Navy. You get your own corpsman and a private room and a television. Feel special. The television is all in Japanese though. The good news is that they don’t have restrictions about having naked women on them.”
“Letter home, wife,” I got out. “Letter home, wife,” I said again, putting all the energy I had left into it while wondering if all corporals in the Marine Corps were as wonderful as Fusner, and now Shoot.
“Got you,” the corporal said. “You want me to write it and get it off toot sweet, or do you want to wait until you’re better?”
I had no energy left to speak. I tried to wave my left fingers at him but realized they were all bandaged. I’d forgotten about the damage to my hand.
“I’ll write the truth if you want it, about where you are, what they’ve done to you, and the damage and prospects for your survival. I’ll give her the address here and the Captain’s personal address in case she wants to hear from the commander of the facility. I’ve done this before. I just need her address since your file only has your parent’s address as your home of record.”
“Pocket,” I squeezed out, “parents too.” I’d pre-addressed a couple of envelopes I had tucked into my trouser pocket.
I passed out, being almost certain, however, that my trousers had gone the way of my watch and my .45.
I awoke again, and it was light. I knew I had awakened several times in the night because I had vague memories of someone I presumed to be Shoot hovering over me before I’d go under again.
An older woman walked from the bottom of the bed to my left side, before stopping to lower my chart and looking down at me. She wore a black dress and her heels clicked, which meant that she wasn’t wearing a nurse’s shoes.
“I’m Barbara, and I’m a volunteer, ostensibly with the Red Cross but actually with anybody who wants me,” she said, sounding like one of the Maryknoll nuns I’d spent most of elementary and high school learning under, and being totally dominated by.
“Yes,” I whispered back, my mouth awful tasting and dry.
‘You’re in a world of hurt and on a spinning planet of trouble, is what it says here. They’re working away on all this medical stuff but there’s other junk you need, no doubt. That’s my department.” She bent down and looked at me closely for the first time.
“Good God, you still have the mud of that Vietnam jungle in your hair,” she said, more to herself than me. “Shoot!” she yelled.
I heard running feet.
“Yes, ma’am,” Shoot replied from very close, although I couldn’t see him.
“I’m no ma’am to you,” Barbara said, very forcefully.
“Yes, ma’am,” Shoot said, although there seemed to be a bit of fear in his tone.
I thought of Fusner again. It would be just like him to reply the same way, or it would have been, I corrected myself.
“Ice, since he’s NPO. Nothing by mouth but he can suck on ice. Toothpaste and brush, and get one of those nurses to wash his hair. And turn on the television. Get some damned life in this awful cloister of a room. And why the hell is he here? Look at this chart. He should be in ICU, like right now. Condition critical, prognosis poor, and he’s abandoned in some little hole like this? Where’s the damned surgical team? Suzuki’s here today. He needs to be on this. Find them and report back, like yesterday.”
I’d wanted to ask for a pain shot, but the manner and force of her delivery had taken me completely by surprise.
Barbara stepped to the end of my bed, replaced the medical chart, and walked out of the room, her heels clicking loudly, yelling over her shoulder: “I’ll be back in ten minutes and things better have changed by then.”
Shoot appeared at my side, his face white, staring at the still swinging door Barbara had exited through.
“I need a shot,” I finally said, “what’s the countdown?”
“Kathy will be on her way right now, don’t worry,” Shoot replied.
“Who is that woman?” I asked, my breath easing as I knew the pain shot had to be on the way.
“She’s a volunteer,” Shoot said, softly.
“Why does it seem like she’s a lot more than that?” I asked, “for sure, you’re a bit scared of her. I think I’m even scared of her.”
“She’s also the Captain’s wife,” Shoot replied. “The Captain who runs this whole hospital complex.”
“Why did she say I should be in Intensive Care, and why aren’t I if I should be?” I asked, as Kathy entered the room, walked to my opposite side from where Shoot stood, and gently inserted a needle into one of my I.V. lines.
“I hear they are moving you,” she said, “about damned time. The evaluation team is on the way to check you out. Our dirty surgery I.C.U. only holds three patients and it was full, but not anymore.”
“Barbara throw somebody out on the lawn?” Shoot asked, a bite to his tone as he said the words.
“Shipped home,” Kathy said, tossing the syringe and moving toward the open door. “I’ll be back to arrange the move once they approve you. The good news is that you’ll be right between Lewis Puller and Masters.”
“I’ve got to get the ice, the toothpaste and I’ll wash your hair myself when you get down to I.C.U.”
“Shipped home?” I asked the corporal.
“Yeah,” he replied, his voice telling me what I really didn’t want to hear. The patient wasn’t being shipped in a seat.
“Who’s Puller and Masters?” I asked, as Shoot headed for the door.
“Chesty Puller’s, and General Master’s sons,” he said, over his shoulder as he went.
Kathy walked into the room.
“The surgical team is dropping by on rounds to determine your status for the I.C.U. bed. That you are conscious and handling the drugs so well is a big plus. I’ll crank you up to a more vertical position.” She approached the bottom of the bed, bent down, and began working a crank.
My upper body bent, as the upper half of the bed slanted up more vertically. An alarm went off.
“What the hell?” Kathy said, standing before me. I noticed right away that I could not blink or move anything at all.
“Crank him down,” Kathy yelled, running for the door. “We need a crash cart and the duty doctor on this wing. We’ve lost him.”
I watched Shoot crank, his eyes staring into my own until the angle was such that I was staring at the ceiling once again.
Kathy ran back into the room pushing a narrow blue cart to the side of the bed, and then going to work to untangle wires and whatever else was on top of the cart. A doctor, his stethoscope extended in his right hand, leaned over and pushed the cold rubber end of it onto my chest.
“Nothing,” he said, to my amazement. He pulled back a bit from the bed and plopped his scope onto my bare opened stomach incision. “Clear” he yelled, turning slightly so Kathy could place a metallic paddle in each of his hands.
“Set for 300 joules,” Kathy said.
The doctor, named Peter, if the nametag on his right breast was a true indication, pressed the paddles to my chest.
Suddenly, my whole body jumped and it felt like a huge baseball bat had struck me squarely in the center of my chest. I gasped once, and then again, only realizing that I had not been breathing at all for the longest time. The pain came rushing in as the doctor stepped back.
“Got him, normal sinus rhythm,” he said, handing the paddles back to Kathy.
“Leave the cart, but let them know at the desk where it is, just in case we lose him again before we ship. And forget about qualifying for I.C.U. Down there he goes, on my orders, stat. The surgical review’s canceled.”
I waited, breathing in and our lightly and slowly, trying to wrap my mind around what had just happened. It wasn’t possible. I knew Kathy and the doctor were not wrong or making things up. The pain had been gone completely for the first time since I had been hit. I hadn’t been breathing. I couldn’t move and my eyes would not blink. I’d been dead, with no blood flow going to my brain. It was not possible to be conscious under such circumstances, I knew, but I had been.
Moments went by, the pain once again inside my very center, threatening to absorb all thought of anything but getting through.
“You’re being transported, and the boards are old and rough in all the halls here,” Kathy said, unlocking the bed’s brakes, one wheel after another. She moved the bed, to make sure it was portable, then walked around to join Shoot at my left side. She held out one hand toward the corporal.
“This is a bonus shot to get you down there,” she said, pulling the plastic tip off the syringe Shoot had handed her.
She punched it lightly into the plastic tube of my left arm I.V. “Not much, but it’ll have to do. You can’t take much after the arrest.”
“We’re not supposed to, but I’m going to have another corpsman take the crash cart with us, just in case something happens along the way. We’ve got plenty of stuff down there but you’re pretty unstable just now, I’m going to presume.”
Whatever was in the shot hit me hard. I wondered if it was because of the heart incident. For some reason, I had not been afraid of dying, and I was not now, which was uncommon. Down in the A Shau, I’d been afraid almost every moment of every day and night, in some way or another, but the pain and misery of my life there had been surface and fleeting compared to what I was having now. I’d somehow made a trade, fair or unfair, of terror for pain. Maybe I couldn’t survive the two occurring together so my mind was trying to protect me. I realized after the paddles had hit me, that I had much less understanding of the world and what went on in it, than I’d thought.
Shoot left and came back almost immediately with another corpsman. I could only tell by assumption and sound, as I was flat on my back once again. Kathy pushed my bed, while Shoot guided it from the foot. I was moved out the door and then down the hall, the bed bouncing fairly wildly, as Kathy had told me it would, as we raced along, I.V. bags swinging from three metal stalks that bent slightly, back and forth against the movement.
“I was awake,” I forced out, up to Kathy’s upside-down face leaning over me as she pushed the bed.
“What?” She asked back.
“I was awake while you and the doctor were working on me,” I said.
“Not possible,” Kathy replied. “It’s the drugs. You were coded out. No heartbeat, no EKG, no nothing. You were gone for more than a minute, although not long enough to be otherwise affected, we hope.”
You told the doctor that you were setting that machine for 300 joules, whatever those are,” I said.
“That’s a standard-setting for defibrillation cardiac restart,” Kathy replied.
“The doctor’s name,” I gasped up toward her. “The doctor had never been in to see me. He was from somewhere else in the hospital.”
“Yes?” Kathy said, “that’s true, but just because you never saw him before isn’t exactly special.”
“His name is Peter,” I whispered, knowing that the shot she’d given me was fast taking away my ability to talk.
“Yes, that’s true,” Kathy replied.
“How would I know?” I asked.
“How would you know?” she asked back.
“Because it was on the nametag he was wearing on his right breast when he leaned over me with the paddles.”
The bed suddenly stopped moving, with a jolt.
“What did you say?” Kathy asked, her face now only inches from my own.
“I read his nametag,” I repeated.
“Shoot?” Kathy asked, “was Doctor Peter wearing his nametag?”
“He always wears his nametag,” Shoot replied. “He loves his nametag. He’s proud of his name, being the ‘rock’ and all that from in the Bible.
“Damn,” Kathy breathed out, looking back down at me. “There’s something special about you, but I’m damned if I know what it is. Let’s see if we can save what’s left of your life.”
She bent into the top of the bed and began pushing more powerfully than she had before.
I watched the ‘highway line’ lights flick by overhead, as the bed began to move much faster than it had before.
<<<<<< The Beginning | Next Chapter >>>>>
Why haven’t you been picked up by a major publishing house?! Damn! I’m just a 50 ish year old woman whose big bro served in ‘Nam and you make me feel like I’m right THERE! Thank you Mr. Strauss.
Major publishing houses publish mostly family, relatives and friends. Just the way of life.
Secondly, they don’t publish stuff that runs against the current male macho expression of violence or authority.
Finally, they don’t publish stuff that they deem is against the current military industrial ethic or mythology.
There you have it. I am way out there, as far as they see it.
Thanks for the compliment inherent in your comment.
Medication dosage should be q 3h or q 4 h. Meaning every 3 or 4 hours. I was confused by the 4qh which would be 4 times an hour and I’m a surgeon. Other than that a fascinating story.
Sorry Tom, I was writing from memory and you are exactly right, of course. I will have to go back and change the entries
for the book to be published. many thanks for the help and the compliment.
Wow took me back 54 years similar experiences last rights upon arriving at hospital and during transport having an out of body experience during transport in Philippines during transfer to Japan. Did not realize what it was called until many years later.
Once again, in writing The Cowardly Lion, I have found so many wounded vets that have gone through almost identical situations and almost identical facilities.
Tachikawa and Yokosuka and then eventually Travis and Oaknoll.
Damn you tell your story well sir, cant wait for the next chapter they are bright spots that I thoroughly enjoy
I haven’t commented in a while, but I’ve been here every step….
You are blessed and cursed with an incredible memory to recall such detail about horrific events.
Events like these are starting to run together in my 73 year old radiated mind, but my PH feels totally undeserved compared to what you have endured.
God bless you,
Thanks Bill, much appreciate the sincere and accurate opinion of putting this all together.
Yes, the curse and blessing of a great memory has been quite something, in this and other areas.
You can know so much that is so different from what others think they know that all you do is
lose credibility when you offer your own version. Shutting up becomes a survival tactic! I’m not
doing that here, obviously.
No human can construct these events from their imagination. Be assured your combat Brothers know that only those who have walked the walk are able to immerse us in that 7th circle of Hell..
Thanks Bill, much appreciate the support and the verification. Yes, to have been there, the color of the walls, the big clocks, as if set there to allow for the counting of seconds. The hard hard wait for the next pain shot.
All of that must be lived or read somewhere else and I have never found anyone else writing like I have been doing. Thanks for that great comment.
You’re doing a fine job of writing about all of your experiences Jim. Keep up the good work of your recovery from your injuries from the Nam.
LT, and the great story continues! Small edit ‘manor and force of her actions’ changed to manner and force?
I have a pacemaker. Countless times I was gone but still conscious until they hooked up that pacemaker. It’s an odd feeling to know your heart stopped.
Thank you, Don, for the sharp eyes.
Noted and corrected.
Continued good health to you and thanks also for your support
“How would I know?” I asked.
“How would you know?” she asked back.
The brain knows what it knows….
Now the real healing can begin.
Riveting chapter as the hospital work begins.
SEMPER Fi, James.
Thanks so much SGT for another of you thinking and feeling comments crosses my screen this morning.
Riveting! What more can be said.
Thank you, Thomas
I cannot imagine the angst of living through this nightmare in reality and then having reruns of it in your head throughout your life . My good ness . I guess the actual writing of this must be even more difficult emotionally, Your memories are so detailed and succinct ,, it is frightening and overwhelming to the reader . But to carry this through out your life ,,, and be able to share this is another dimension in itself . Thank you for this story … My heart goes out to you and all who had to fight for freedom in this war . … You are an amazing writer . Thank you for sharing your life experience .
Thanks so much Karen. Actually, the writing has been hard at times, particularly at the end of the third book. But, and it is a big but, this site and the comments gave me a different life.
The acceptance, the understanding, the association of others who served in that valley and helped me to understand that I was not the bad guy I thought I was down there (and was always running away from or waiting for it to ‘come and get me.’
So, the healing has been constant for three years and people just like you, with huge but mostly silent hearts, have meant everything. I cannot ever thank you or them enough.
Holy wow! I always believed when a person dies that they know what is going on. You have confirmed by belief beyond any doubt. During all my years as a paramedic, it was very rare to bring someone back, though, and I now know my patients realized we were doing all that could be done to revive them, successful or not. While reading, your writing has a grip on me (and all of us) so that I cannot tear my eyes away from the page until I reach the end of your chapter. Keep it coming, we all wait.
Now that’s a pretty powerful comment Donald. I was worried a bit that the Cowardly Lion might not have an audience because it isn’t combat with the Vietnamese enemy and I wondered if anyone would want
to go on. There is so much more to tell, about the Marine Corps, the guys who did and did not make it, the hospital environment, the family and much much more.
Thanks for level of interest and the writing about it on here.
James, the battle within is much more powerful and can be just as emotionally and physically destructive. I, too, am a retired ff/medic and have fought death to the best of my training and ability. I didn’t always win. I am hoping that this cathartic writing is helping you. I have been riveted by this story since your first page. May God bless you and keep you.
Thanks Harry for the great compliment. And for the understanding. It has been both painful and cathartic to write the series,
and it’s a bit of a long way from over. Much appreciate the compliment and your company as we travel along.
Anxiously waiting as before on the next chapter. I think if you tried, you would have a hard time running those of us off who have been with you through the thirty days.
Thanks for the great segment. I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I was very severely wounded and can relate to a lot of what you re saying, both before dust-off got there and the times after. I read your segment and things started coming back. Some I haven’t thought about for quite a while. It’s funny how that works. I don’t know that I will read much more, but thank you for your writing. I am 70 and it’s something how things are coming back. I was never emotional earlier but now I am. Take care and be safe.
I hope you read on. It’s cathartic and also makes you special, not only in the eyes of others on here but special to yourself.
We are not the ‘average bear,’ and God reached down and touched us many times, from beginning to end during that time.
It’s a pleasure to hear from another of what we are and what that television took at its title ‘we, the band of brothers.’
I will read on. Excuse me, I was going through a hard time for a while. It was my anniversary date and 50 years since I got hit. I enjoy your writing, and yes we do have something in common, even if it is only a hospital bed for long periods of time, hooked to enough wires to light Chicago and lots of other tubes to boot. Take care, and have a safe holiday.
Your hard time is my hard time with you…making it a little bit less hard, I do so hope and pray.
I could not have made it to be here without so many in support, those knowing and those not knowing.
My wife is a little put out with me.
She has not, deliberately, read Thirty Days, but she started reading the Cowardly Lion.
She’s hurt a bit. “How could you never have mentioned Kathy, Shoot, or any of that?
Why did you leave all of that out of our relationship?
It is hard to try to tell her that she was perfect, before, during, and after and I needed her to be her and not a sympathetic caretaker.
I needed the toughness she mightn’t have been able to demonstrate if she’d known it all.
She’s a wonderfully sympathetic woman but I did not want to live in sympathy.
I’m writing this partially because of her…not that she will read this or believe it if she does.
I’m writing all this to you now because I think you need to read it and you need to understand just how much you mean to men like me…your brother, your friend and someone who truly understands.
Damn Lt…Just Damn! Have been down and under a couple of times during cardiac events during the by-pass but nothing to compare to your recall. Am along for the whole ride Sir. Hopefully I will learn and retain a little that may help as I grow nearer to the eventuality that awaits us all. What you have written here fills me with a sense of awe and wonderment. With more meaning now, than I have ever said before. Take care Lt.!
” I realized after the paddles had hit me, that I had much less understanding of the world and what went on in it, then I’d thought.” Change the then to than.
Thank You, Ron.
Noted and corrected
Thank you for continuing the saga. It is hard to even begin to imagine what you and so many others went through It is remarkable how many people entered into your story at just the right time and place to help you through it. Providence certainly had His “angels” looking out for you. The other editors have been on the mark, I would like to add another:
“..that I had much less understanding of the world and what went on in it “than” I’d thought.”
LT, I have been where you were, but fortunately not a result of battle. I can relate. Thank you for your words.
You are most welcome Mark, and it is good to have people like you who’ve walked in those same boots.
Damn! You remember! I don’t recall Japan or Edwards, 8 days or more. Doc at Walter Reed was POed. He said every time I’d almost wake I’d be screaming and swearing so they just kept giving a shot to shut me up. Morphine was at the end of a rotation of Codine, Demoral, and another 1 or 2. After weeks of happy shots did you want to choke the doc that stopped the narcotics? I did! I prefer sleeping through 95% of it over remembering any of it.
You will read what happened when I came to the end of my morphine/demoral run in the chapters ahead.
The Ying and the Yang of those powerful substances. I have always had this memory, except for a time in high school and college when I somehow lost it
and had to learn to actually study! It came back in Vietnam, hence the artillery precision and control. Then I lost it again after processing out, until I was hit
by lightening. Bang, all memory gone but when it came back it came back big time. It was like the movie Phenomenon!
Semper fi, and thanks for the great comment.
Thirty Days was a hell of a story, Lt. This one looks as if it will be as well.
I’ve known several who have been through a similar experience. I envy none of you. But you all have my respect.
Keep up the story.
Thanks so much for the compliment Richard.
Keeps me going, like one small explosion after another inside the cylinder of some old noisy Harley!
My hospital stay was just that. It was 1964 so they were not full, yet. It was just before Christmas and there wasn’t going to be any one coming to see me. My only relative, my dad was a Merchant Seaman and he, as always, was at sea.
Sitting here reading this, I realized I was holding my breath. Damn. That word was intended to convey shock and awe.
I came home alone and I was, alone.
The eighteenth of December and it was going to be another Christmas, alone. No big deal. Alone, was something I had already, learned to accept.
And then. The Cooties. Oh yes, I remember. They brought, unadulterated love into the ward.
I have no idea how man wounded Brothers and Sister have or were visited by the Cooties but I am sure it was an uplifting experience
If you were, please give them a shout out.
They found my dad and just before Christmas, he was standing there, beside my bed.
The Military Order of the Cooties. Yes. Now there are some wonderful human beings. You will, indeed, read more about them in the coming chapters.
There were some real special people and organizations that got so many of us ‘through.’
Semper fi, and I’m sure glad you’re not alone now.
Oh my! I airlifted many Wounded In our Huey both American and VietNamese.
After an operation We were called on to lift out the dead , many stacked like cord wood. I had a Viet Namese Soldier revive amid our flight and I was able to keep him alive. I was a crew chief / left door gunner on a Huey slick in the Delta. We flew him to their medical facility and I was met with two V ietNamese medics that looked at me like what did you do this for, he is going to die . One of my nightmares!
Fortunately you were not treated as Cavalier and given every chance.
Welcome home Jim.
The Skyraiders and Cowboy. The Hueys and Macho Man. The big 46s that knew no fear.
The A-6 and the heroic Jim Homan. Turk and his Cobra swarm. I never knew the Puff crew people
or really communicated with them. They simply seemed to know where to hit the enemy hardest.
All of them, right down to the guys who flew me out with priority speed were simply among the
most courageous men I’ve ever had the please to work with. It’s better know to think of myself
to be more like them than I used to think of myself and my conduct in combat.
Thanks for the great comment.
I was enthralled by 30 Days. I am now transfixed by The Cowardly Lion. You are a writing master extraordinaire. Please keep mesmerizing us. Thank You! I am truly enjoying it all.
Thank you for the heartfelt comment and compliment, Chris
Share it with your friends. The Cowardly Lion will probably resonate with a larger audience spanning a couple of generations.
Well sir once again your writing reaches out and grabs me and pulls me in. I look forward to sharing your journey. You sir are one tough cookie.
Well, I’m determined, let’s put it that way. The Cowardly Lion will go to great lengths to lay out and explain what
true toughness is and how you evidence it without seeming to evidence it.
Amazing how some of those women can put the fear into others and make things happen. Your writing hasn’t faded leaving the battlefield behind.
There were and remain some truly impressive and tough women on this planet. I am very happy that I have
known so many of them.
Hey, James – Great to see you continuing the saga you started on with the first of September.
I’ve been through that stuff with Navy Nurses and Corpsmen a few times, and it is never pleasant. The fact that you are still writing does let me know that you pulled through all of it, as did I.
Need a clarification, if you will: Throughout the third ten days, you have a radioman named Fess, whom I have come to know through your writing, But right now I am re-reading my (autographed) first and second ten days, and your radioman there is called “Fessner”. Were there two separate radiomen?
You will also notice the book is PRINTED and distributed as FICTION for some obvious reasons ~~smile
Thank you for your support, Craig
Radioman was named Fusner, changed by the editors because of liability concerns.
There was only one Fusner. There will only ever have been one Fusner.
Many thanks, Jim – thought it might have been something like that.
As mentioned above, you have a remarkable memory. I remember some of the bad stuff, very little of the good.
Back in ’63, I spent several months in Bethesda NH, outside D.C. Some of the folks there were easy to remember, with their caring ways and devotion to their patients.
Made a lot of balsa and tissue airplanes, flew them out the window into the snow, then one of my more mobile ward mates would go retrieve them – until one flew in a first floor window!
Thank you for inviting us to continue with you on this journey. Catharsis is a difficult process. Reading about your struggle to find firm ground to stand on helps us all,
Finding the ground to stand on. Hell, finding ground to even lay down on or dig into in order to be able to hold on until life takes another course change is more like it.
I’d wanted to ask for a pain shot, but the manor and force of her delivery had taken me completely by surprise. manor might better be manner in this case, unless she’s really a large country house.
“Not possible,” Kathy replied. “It’s the drugs. You were coded out. No heartbeat, no EKG, no nothing. You were gone for more than a minute, although not long enough to be otherwise affected, we hope.”
“<————————– stray double quote looks like it might belong at the beginning of the next line. might be a web formatting deal.
Thanks for the help Tom! I am on it.
In that moment you had been touched by God, but he said, not today Marine. That must have been the most amazing feeling and site, am so happy you made it through it. Can’t wait for the rest of the Lion’s story to be put down on page
God was there, all the way, had to be. I could not see it at all. I did not rail against Him but did not accept him either.
What he was doing and what he’s doing now I have no real clue, except here I am and I’m up writing this night. Am I laying down
words He might want me to write? I like to think so. Thanks for the cogent meaningful comment.
Isn’t that the truth! I remember after we got everyone set up and taken care of all I had left was to lay there and wait. I knew it was coming fast but did not want to accept it. Then all of a sudden, and this is the only way I can say it, an enormous calm overcame me. Nothing mattered because everything was accounted for and no matter what it would be okay. Only then would I allow myself to close my eyes. They were soooo heavy and I was so much tireder, I know that is not a word but it fits, than I usually was. God was there. I am still not a religious person in any organized way, but I respect the hell out of him/her/whatever. We were taken care of all of us as we laid there. It didn’t matter whether you were DOA, KIA, or WIA. What a time! Later, not so much of a time. I learned though and that is what mattered.
Wow, I thought 30 Days was intense. I hate to see each of these chapters come to an end.
Looking forward to your next chapter.
That chapter will go up this week, as I am trying to get the chapters out to support the completion of Thirty Days, and making some
very meaningful and essential sales. Thanks for the great compliment.
Right now James all I can say is “WOW”! Will comment more in the future!
Thanks Ben, that’s a pretty terrific one word compliment.
Semper fi, and look forward to more…
Damn LT! I’ve been told God gives little crosses to little hosses and big crosses to big hosses. It seems like he gave you the whole tree!! A conscious cardioversion! Wow 300 joules, The horse proof electric fence out at the farm is only 5 joules! That will make your arm numb for 4 or 5 minutes. That jolt was 60 times that. You have definitely been through the wringer. It has always amazed me about how much abuse the human body can absorb and still survive and yet sometimes the slightest thing can kill! You had I don’t know how many through and through .30 Cal wounds and you survived (I’m glad you did) and an old lady in the first nursing home I worked at slid out of her wheelchair and landed on her rear end died a couple of days later.
One thing has me puzzled. Shoot said he was a Lance. You were in an Air Force hospital, the Air Force doesn’t have Lance Corporals. Their enlisted ranks are Airman recruit, Airman, Airman 1st, 2nd, 3rd and then Staff Sergeant. Where did they get a Marine to care for you? Once again you have me hooked. Now I have to read all of this series.
Good Job or as my shipmates would say BZ LT.
Terry (Doc) Novak
Corpsmen, serving with Marines, use Marine rank designation. It’s a respect thing the Marines give to corpsmen, as well at the uniform. I took three 7.62 rounds, delivered from at AK at a range of less then ten yards.
They were all through and through at that range, of course. I think they were learning the heart trade thing back then and they didn’t mess around. Thanks for the great comment.
I was going to question the Lance thing also, Guess I was never addressed by rank, but just “Doc”. Anyway, This is truly an amazing work with no equal that I’m aware of. It took a lot to get to this point and put this to pen and I thank you for this. Doc Reinhardt