This picture was late June 1967, the thirsty gang sitting were both Corpsman- the second one was DB Winter who later followed us to Dong Ha. I am standing sucking on my finger followed by Bill Yancey and Bill Timans, who had just arrived to begin training and had just gotten his wings as seen on this left chest.
By the time we finished at Dong Ha and Bill Timans headed to the Rock Marines (South Korean Marines), we had all been wounded at least once, but unfortunately none received a Purple Heart. Why? Mainly because many of the bodies we carried only received this one honor. We felt this was our job. Crashes in the sense of hitting the ground and rice patty dikes was ultimately our future disability.
DB and I met up again at Duke University Hospital in 1972. He became a Neurosurgeon and I became a Physician Assistant for the next 16 years. We have never heard or been able to find each other again. All and all, we received over 100 air medals, but not one Purple Heart We will be proud of that fact for the rest of our lives I am sure. Our Moto was “Swing with the Wing and Die in the Sky”.
This picture is at the NCO club on the beach not far from our hooch’s and the Sick Bay clinic where we worked when we were not flying. The Marines called it the “Drippy D Clinic”, since we treated many STD cases following R&R. We saw all ranks and MOS’s at the DDC (as we called it). The DDC became a triage site when we got rocketed or attempts to overrun the MM site. The NVA/Charlie forgot that all Marines are Marines, and will kick your ass whenever needed.
Now we drank a lot of beer once the watch was set (quitting time)! Some.. or a few.. were there all night long. The guys are from the Navy and are special FMF. This means we had to go through advanced combat training with the Marines. Some made it and some did not. However, I was lucky and was assigned to the 2nd Marine Air Wing at Cherry Point NC. Most Corpsman in FMF training with me went directly to Vietnam and most were assigned to combat battalions. The night we finished our training and assignments were handed out, most started vomiting and sobbing as the life expectancy of a Corpsman was short. Of my group, most were killed or wounded in combat. So, I was lucky. When I did go to ‘Nam, I was on the beach at MAG 12 holding sick-call in the morning and drinking beer when the watch was set at noon. We had surfboards and snorkeling gear, and I was the best at both. I never went to the chow hall and I lost all of my baby fat. I arrived in Nam at 210 lbs and left a year later at 138 lbs. Stupid or my better half volunteered to fly medieval helicopters. This was the end of Starman and the beginning of GI John.