The nurses

In 1968 I was laying in a hospital a MASH left arm..leg and right arm were all wrapped in dressings..I had an IV hooked up…that night about 2 am we heard incoming mortar rounds coming in…two of the nurses came rushing in…one was wearing a helmet..flak jacket over a cowboys football jersey..and boots..she was only wearing pink panties and she had a m-16 with a full mag slung over her shoulder…the other nurse was dressed almost the same except she had mens green boxer shorts on…they both loaded me onto a stretcher and took me to a bunker and then stood guard holding their rifles at the ready…the nurses pulled out cigarettes and joked a little..this lasted about 2 hours…then a whistle went off that the coast was clear. The next day I was choppered to another unit…I never knew the names of those two nurses but out of all the memories of Vietnam in 1968…that is what I think about the most…they were both young like me…did they go back married..had children..are they grandmother’s today…wish I could hug them and thank them.

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39 thoughts on “The nurses”

  1. Hey Al . There is one thing you can do, you could leave a message on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Page- The Wall. Thanking them and giving them a “ Virtual Hug”. Describe the event and just maybe someone will Remember it.

  2. It’s really nice to see some new content instead of those re-posted from the past.

    Al, if you were WIA in I Corps and had round-eye, female nurses treating and taking care of you, you were probably at Naval Support Activity Da Nang (more commonly known as “China Beach”.) But it sounds like your imagination was kinda working overtime, which could have been the affects of medication and stress. It would be nice to hear from some Corpsmen/Nurses/Doctors who were more familiar with this and also with the medical evacuation system. Believe me, the nurses were not there to titillate you by running around in their skivvies, or playing “John Wayne” while taking incoming mortars. Although, most would do whatever was required to protect the patients under their charge.
    I had occasion to know one of these “Wonder Women of War,” the Navy Nurse. In 1969 I was at NSA China Beach completing interviews for an investigation I had been assigned (another story for another time.) I decided to check out the PX while there and thought I saw a familiar face. So, I called her name, she looked up, and then big smiles covered both our faces. She and I had graduated together from Mulvane HS in ’64. I joined the Marines, and she went to Nursing College and entered the Navy to help pay for her schooling. Now five years later, here we were in Vietnam, she a Navy lieutenant nurse and me a Marine SSgt. I would like to say that we had a mad, torrid love affair, but it didn’t happen like that. She was married and doing her tour to repay the Navy for her schooling. It was nice to have a cup of coffee and share old times with a someone from our worlds before Vietnam. We are still friends today, and correspond quite often.
    Al, I hope your memory never fades, and when you do meet your maker, you’ll have a smile on your face remembering those two nurses. Semper Fi!!! Top Pro

    1. Top Pro, I was a 2531 with 1st Field Artillery Group in Phu Bia in 1968. There was a Army MASH unit that set up on the west side of the base. The MASH unit had 10-20 round eyed Nurses. Med-o-vac flights with Marines on were brought in all the time. This MASH unit was just west of 1/5 and south of the 1/1 areas. My point is there were round eyed nurses in areas other than China Beach.

      1. Bill & Jack – I stand corrected on your information. I left my first tour in ’67, was at Cherry Point in ’68, and back in-country in ’69-70. I wasn’t aware that there was a MASH in I Corps. Just shows that no one knows everything. Semper Fi!!! Top Pro

  3. Pain med.’s are wonderful in more ways than one!
    Yes, I bet all those nurses/ corpsmen went home, married, had kids, and grand-kids. My mother, a WWII Navy RN went home after the war, married, had kids, grand-kids, and great grand-kids. Then at the great age of 92 she finally met a man that really loved her and took care her the rest of his life – also a WWII Veteran. Mom, now at the age of 98 (99 in April, 2021) is still as active as ever!
    God Bless You All!

  4. Although not a Marine, I was a USAF Loadmaster during the time-related in the story. I hauled Marines, both inbound and outbound. A lot of the outbound were injured, most severely, during those flights; I observed the Marines and the flight nurses and medics. I would like to echo Al’s sentiments about the nurse’s dedication to caring for the injured. As my son would say, Semper Fi – he is a Marine.

  5. Similar situation for me. Took two hits from AK47 fire, medevaced out. After surgery (we were all doped to the hilt and barely conscious), all hell broke loose outside the door to surgery recovery area. The Corpsmen dropped down behind their desk and came flying out to reassure us they were there for us, don’t recall them having weapons. The door opens, “God forgive me my sins, I’m dead in bed”, raced thru my mind. In walked a couple guys with a stretcher…THAT THEY DROPPED AND IT DRAGGED ACROSS THE PALLETS LEADING TO THE DOOR! I don’t know what terrified me more, getting shot or being without a weapon or place to duck for cover.
    And, thanks for your post “Top Pro”.

  6. In April of 1970 I was medevaced to the Hospital Ship Sanctuary with Plasmodium Falciparum malaria. I got an ice bath immediately and two days later woke up in my rack. I was 7 months into my tour and a navy nurse was standing next to me. She was the first stateside woman I had seen since I left the states. For the week that I was aboard the Sanctuary before being sent to a convalescence center for another month, Navy nurses aboard the Sanctuary were like angels at the door. The same for the Army nurses in Can Rahn Bay. All of them were, and still are, true heros.

  7. I was wounded on July 5th 1967,I remember one of the nurses name was twiggy,very caring,I was then put on the USS Sanctuary,and eventually med evaced to Great Lakes Naval Hospital,where I stayed for nearly 6 months.

  8. I landed at Da Nang air field 11/01/71 asigned to 1st mar div on division ridge. About 1 1/2 months later I ended up at a MASH near there and I did see round-eyed women there. Later I moved to 1st bat. 1st mars. at Hill 37 near Dai Loc. I went to Freedom Hill no round-eyed women darn, at that time I had hopes. By the way I was promoted to lance 1 march 71 and corporal 1 may of 72, that can’t be that common considering it was two different tours. I’d love to hear from Top Pro and Harry what is 1371.

    1. Sgt, I think you have time and place incorrect . 1/1 was at Hill 34 in 71 getting ready to leave Vietnam. Battalion left in Dec 71. your place and timeline doesn’t jive. Have a few acquaintances from 1/1. Bill E- 2/1. Dec 68. – Jan 70

    2. Hey Larry, 1371 is Combat Engineer. I spent most of TOD at the Liberty Bridge just a little South of Hill 37 during 68-69. Harry ( cmbt. engr.)

      1. Harry’
        I also spent time at Liberty Bridge in late 67 early 68 with “H” 2/7. I was the FO for 81’s and saw a lot of “outside the wire”. Was a very exciting area.
        I would like to return to see how they have made changes.
        Sgt Robert “Mike” Wunder 66/72

        1. Hey Robert , I have seen photos of the area now and there is a new modern bridge crossing the river but you can still see remnants of the old bridge that the Seabees built. I got to The Bridge mid April 68 and was there most of my tour until the end of April 69. We transported a lot of Grunts across the river , happy you made it. The Bridge was an exciting place to be. Harry

          1. Harry,
            Yes, I also have looked at Google maps of the area. I’m amazed at how the entire area is changed (for the better). Someday I would like to return. Is the high ground across the river still there? “Arizona Territory ” looks Soooooo much different. Ahaaaa so many memories.

    3. Funny , Division Hill ( Ridge) and Freedom Hill are same place. Remember USO there in 67-68 had round eyes serving hamburgers the few times I was there. Nick 3/1

    1. Correct. Anyone can look up MOS’s. Just search Marine Corps MOS’s. That’s how some bullshitters get on our website with tall tales that never happened, or glorify themselves for something they never did.

      1. Right On Willard! That’s why I get so upset sometimes! I built float bridges and operated a ferry while in Vietnam, and darn proud of it! Harry

        1. Harry, and all of you that posted. I knew that there would be conflict on this story. I can’t hold up any longer. I made the hospital circuit 18 Aug 1967, starting at Con Thein chopper to Delta Med in Dong Ha, where they tore my clothes of, C-130 to Dang Nang, where I had to piss will being on the operation table. When the doctor was done they tried to give me a piss can, but I told them I couldn’t go lying down. I got up and took a piss, the Doctor said well that is the first guy that ever got up off of my table and walked. Couple things, I never got the drugs you guys refer to, went to Japan to the hospital for a month, where we called them duty cuties, and yes the were pretty. Air force Nurses. Then to Okinawa a month. Got back to my outfit in late Oct when I extended for 6 more months. Murray 1371 (combat eng. boobytraps-mines and explosives) O ya I was a Realtor too. Some of you think I am bull shitting, I know, but I have always used my full name on every post I’ve made. And you can check any thing I post. My rank was Pvt. They called me Mr. P cause I lost the v and t. Even the the first shirt called me Mr. P. That’s why I don’t use rank , You probably don’t believe me.

  9. Bill, Harry, G. Willard & All – That’s one of the biggest reasons that I always use rank, full name and dates of service in every post that I make. I absolutely detest “lurkers” who hide behind the anonymity of their screen name, either thinking that it’s cool, or unwilling to support and take a stand on their opinions. Some people are afraid of using their full name on the web, but I’ll tell you what, I was a Realtor for 10 years prior to retirement and my name was plastered all over the internet nationally. Marketing was key to a successful career as a Realtor, and I have never suffered any adverse effects from using it. Harry, I absolutely love your comment. You were just a Marine doing your job and whatever else you were assigned to do, and by golly you were really great at it. Nobody could ask for more. As so many others have said, “No, I’m not a hero, but I served with a few of them.” Semper Fi!!! Top Pro

    1. Thanks Much Edd! I really do appreciate your comment. Never did and never will claim to be anything more or less than I deserve. Harry

      1. I must say that I have more respect for you for not trying to be more than you were. Very refreshing. Nothing phony there! We needed bridges!

  10. WOW, I don’t know where to begin. Bill 0331, I may have written it wrong 11/01/71 is 11/jan/1971. It was hill 37 I have a picture of the french bunker. I also have my promotion signed by R.P. Rose LtCol, and travel orders dated 28/April /71 for flight Q2 D6 back to the states. Harry thanks I never knew the MOS of the engineers that cleared the roads. We used to send people to the bridge over night, I always thought I was lucky not to have been picked for that do to other commitments. Nick I don’t remember ever calling it division hill, but Freedom Hill were close but not the same place. also I celebrated leaving Viet Nam in Viet Nam at that time I was with VFMA 212 under R.D. Revie LtCol under special orders. We were quartered at Gunfighters Village. Two more things, at LAX coming back from my first tour I was called a baby killer and I swear it never happened. and last not leased” I’m not a HERO just a Marine doing his job.” If anyone wants to check my story about 8 years ago I was in the garage cleaning things out and found an old document protector with about 95% of my paperwork that I didn’t know I had so I put it all together with pictures. Anyone can check me out I live in Pt Hueneme, Ca. P.S. It took me about 15 to 20 years before anyone knew I’d been to Viet Nam.

    1. Happens all the time! We all need to proof read our stories and comments. Could eliminate some confusion. Sorry Larry. Bill

    2. Before I left for Vietnam, while at Pendleton for pre deployment, visited a hometown friend at Port Hueneme. He was with Navy Seabees and was getting some kind of training there. Hung out with some girls at the local USO. That was my last weekend stateside. Harry

      1. Well Harry it sounds like you had a good time. My last weekend I went to my brother’s house, he bought me a quart of peppermint schnapps, boy did I ever get sick. Haven’t touched it sense and probably never will!!! But I’m glad you had a good one

        1. We did have fun. He ended up with MCB -8 in Chu Lai in 69. Thanks Larry . PS. I had the same problem with Cherry Vodka! Harry

          1. My “potent potable” is home brew Puerto Rico rum. In the fall of ’65 we did an exercise on Vieques Island and then pulled liberty in San Juan. Just happens that one of the guys was from a small village right outside of San Juan and he invited us to party with his family & friends. The home brew really went down smooth with some Coka-Cola, but what a wallop it had afterwards. I was sick for three days and didn’t sober-up until we off loaded at Radio Island, Morehead City. To this day, if I even smell rum I’ll get sick. Semper Fi!!! Top Pro

  11. A couple things to clear up it was not VFMA it was VMFA. We lost 3 pilots, so I want to be accurate. Also back then I was invincible or so I thought, I got alcohol poisoning and had a hangover and sick for two weeks. Bill 0331 your comment about proofreading made me reread my post, THANKS.

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