Note to reader: This is from an actual diary of a Combat Medic. These words were written eight months after he had
returned home. He had been deployed to help evacuate the wounded during the total evacuation of
military in Vietnam. This is a lot longer than what I normally would blog so please forgive the length
of this blog. You are welcome to re-blog this if you wish. You might cut this part off if you do. Thank
Hiking twenty miles in the dense jungle.
Fighting vines, bugs, snakes and traps.
We were told it was all in a days work.
Night was leaning up against your buddy’s back.
You never slept, You couldn’t.
You marked your days with your knife,
Lines up the stock on the butt of your rifle.
You fast became aware of those who were short timers.
And they knew you were new to the jungle.
Always sneaking up on you all day.
Some of us did not carry a weapon.
But we walked in the middle.
They kept us there on purpose.
We were the medics.
They considered us more important than food.
Seems like every time you heard a shot.
One of them jump on top of you.
They about knocked the breath out of you.
And until they got off you could hardly breath.
They would smile real big at you.
They would offer you a big muddy hand.
And ask you “How’s the view down there?”
Then they would all laugh
One thing they always had you covered.
And you always got to eat first.
If you leg was hurting they would carry you.
You would never think that when you got back to camp.
Didn’t spend much time in the field.
Just long enough to know I was glad to be here now.
Not at the beginning when you were always out here.
The next step was aboard a Huey.
Now that is the ride that stole my heart
Watch the trees go by, get to the LZ and drop.
Jump out run get the evac’s hop back
Huey comes back down and away you go.
Must have selective hearing or the Huey was loud.
Never heard a shot out of all the drops.
But the gunner seemed awful busy.
It was better not to think about it.
Coming home was a blessing.
Getting home was different.
To Quite at night and not loud enough in the day.
Took three years to get use to that.
However every fourth of July.
Well it tries to raise it’s ugly head.
Fighting it is hard. You see them.
You hear them. They never go away.
Then you sit on the edge of the bed.
Your head in your hands and you cry.
You did not do anything.
You did not kill anyone.
You just remember the faces.
You remember the voices.
You hear the blades cutting the air.
You see the smoke.
When you are awake the sounds drown it out.
The voices are floating in the crowds.
The blades disappear.
And the smoke is the BBQ joint you are going in.
At night the shadows turn into yesterday.
And yesterday were faces and voices.
Yesterday were blades cutting in the air.
Smoke was the LZ and the gunner clearing the way.
A prayer, a thank you, a pat on the shoulder.
You slip under that blanket on the cot.
You stare at the top of tent, drift off.
You can’t dream of her back home.
Home is Home
Here is Here
Home is Here
Here Is Home
It just turns out that way.
Photo Credit: Earl Wells – 1972