Dates in Vietnam: October 1968 – October 1969
MOS: HM-8404 Field Medic Service Technician
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I arrived in An Hoa approx. 10/18/68. After I picked up my gear I was choppered out to the field and joined 3rd platoon. I met my platoon leader 1stLT John White. He told me that I was the only corpsman since the two previous corpsmen had been KIA during the same engagement.
I served as the lone corpsman through the rest of the autumn until Doc Ken Howard joined the platoon at Christmas.
I saw my first action on November 1 when LT White and corpsman Larry Waltz were KIA. The first casualty I treated was friendly fire during that fight when a marine next to me was hit by a bomb fragment and had a massive femur fracture. I remember having to walk the ridgeline back to An Hoa as a “show of force” after this op. I had huge blisters on both feet.
I was on Meade River from start to finish and participated in the uniform swap with the ROK Marines.
Sgt Al Bresser was our platoon leader until he rotated. We saw much action both in the paddies and the mountains. Bresser and I found a large ammo cache after Christmas. We actually managed to surprise a VC ville in the mountains while on a platoon size patrol. A miracle since we never were real quiet during a move.
I continued to serve as 3rd platoon corpsman until March when I served a short period as Company Corpsman. I then was transferred to BN 81’s for a month and managed to be with them when they actually had to hump their gear on Go Noi Island.
I was sent to the BAS in late April and completed my tour at the BAS. I was corpsman in charge of Infection control and then ran the rear BAS with another corpsman when 2/5 moved out to Hill 65. I extended in April so I could complete my full tour as my enlistment was up in September.
I had orders to Great Lakes but as things were winding down, I got an early out and was discharged on my return to the states in late October. Made E5 while in Nam.
Got home 10/24/69. Married 1/2/70 and started college on 1/5/70. Graduated from Kent State in 1975. Continued work in Emergency Medicine with an Ambulance service until 1999 and then worked in Sales for a company doing mobile diagnostic services. I retired in 2011.
I have issues with PTSD but avoided treatment until 2010. I developed prostate cancer in 2001 and have it under control. The VA has done a good job helping with the PTSD.
I have a wonderful wife who has stayed with me through rough times. I can’t complain, life is good. I know that I made a difference, love the Corps, and grieve for my lost brothers. Semper Fi.