War Stories

Enjoy the stories in this section. Some of them may even have been true!! Have a favorite war story you've been relating over the years? Well sit down and shoot us a draft of it. Don't worry, we'll do our best to correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling before we publish it. to us and we'll publish them for all to enjoy.

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A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

By baby huey

My long-departed four-foot eleven-inch Irish-American mother had a proverb for just about every situation in life. If it wasn't an urging to finish my meal because "there are starving kids in China," then it was to stay out of the cookie jar before I was "caught red-handed." There seemed to be a rich collection of animal phrases such as "it's raining cats and dogs," or may times, I was "barking up the wrong tree."

With all the running around I did as a child, many times, I would get injured and just have to "bite the bullet" while crying "crocodile tears" and hoping I didn't "kick the bucket." She'd lovingly, but sternly, tell me to stop crying and "stick a sock in it."

One of the more odd or obscure proverbs were "a stitch in time saves nine," which I didn't understand until much later in life. It seems she meant it to mean to delay or put off doing something until a later time. People use "a stitch in time saves nine" to express that it's better to spend a little time and effort to deal with a problem right now than to wait until later, when it may get worse and take longer to complete.

Medevac doing hoist.In early 1971 I was stationed at Mace Fire Support Base (FSB), where we had a rash of overly critical classifications of wounds to soldiers originating from one particular unit. The unit was conducting operations in the old lighthouse area just north of the coastal town of Ham Tam. Flying to this unit's location put us at the furthest north edge of our area of operations (AO).

My fear was we'd fly to this unit's location for a traumatic wound only to find some soldier had a scratch on his knee. Being that far north would leave us vulnerable to having multiple wounded soldiers, in the southern part of our AO, almost 30 minutes away.

After several over classified patients, we started doing a lot of "bitching in the hooch." A day later, we got a nine-line casualty report that this unit had an urgent traumatic amputation of a soldier's arm. We scrambled as fast as we could and were airborne in only minutes. About five minutes into the flight, I let Doc Nose use the FM radio to talk directly to the unit medic on the ground. It was then that I overheard the wound downgraded and described as a traumatic amputation of the hand. Another five minutes went by, and I put Doc Nose in contact with the unit medic again. We found the patient's wound reclassified as an urgent traumatic amputation of the finger.

When we arrived over the unit's location, we were required to conduct a hoist operation to extract the patient from the jungle. I slowed the helicopter to a hover, and the medic lowered the hoist cable and forest penetrator to the ground. A minute or two later, the medic reeled back up the hoist cable, and the patient brought into the cargo compartment.

Colonel dressing down.That's when I hear Doc Nose say over "hot mike" that the soldier only had a small cut to the top of his hand. I was livid. I asked Doc Nose if he had surgical thread for stitching a wound. He said yes, and I told him to lace the injury with a single stitch and send the trooper back down to his unit on the rescue hoist.

Arriving back at Mace FSB, I was greeted by an Infantry Colonel who proceed to "dress me down" for what was probably only 90 seconds but seemed like weeks. I was about to start my well-rehearsed (I got in trouble frequently), "Yes Sir, yes Sir, never again, Sir" when I decided on another tact.

I threw my shoulders back, looked him straight in the eyes, and told him the Army Medical Department has the mantra "To conserve the fighting strength" and that one could not have conserved the fighting strength any fast than I had. Ahhhhhh, that didn't go over well with the Colonel, and to this day, I can still see his red, vein-bulging face as he screamed at me that my military career was finished.

Of course, I just stood there at attention and smiled, visualizing my mother saying, "a stitch in time saves nine!"

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Getting on the R&R Roster

By baby huey

I arrived in-country as Medevac Meadows drew to a close. Little Okie flew down to Ben Hoa and snatched my young butt out of the Three Days Charm School and off to Song Be we went. Not that I had a choice, but my hold baggage went to Phouc Vinh, where I finally found it a little over a week later.
I was issued a room and dumped my stuff in it, and then decided to take a walking tour of the area. The first folks I met were Ray Zepp and Rich Leonard, who came to a stiff attention and saluted me.

They welcomed me and told me the R&R roster was a first-come-first-leave list and that I should immediately go to the orderly room and sign up for my R&R. Any delay may mean the difference of weeks and weeks, or not being able to go at all. They also were kind enough to warn me that the orderly room clerk hated lieutenants and would probably try to tell me one had to be in-country for three months before being eligible for going on R&R. I was assured that if I "locked his heals," I could get him to put me on the R&R list.

Off to the order room, I went, and sure enough, the clerk tried to hand me crap, saying I didn't qualify since I wasn't in-country long enough. I proceeded to have him come to attention and "ripped him a new one" only to hear loud uncontrolled laughter coming from the doorway.

Yup, there were Zepp and Leonard on the ground laughing hysterically. That's when I realized the clerk was telling me the truth and never listened to Zepp or Leneord again.

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