07 June 2006

8 Jun 69

Morning...
Hot.
Humid.
Sticky.

We had electric fans hung on the walls over our heads, and they were the only thing that made sleeping possible when the Monsoons ended in Viet Nam.

I was the standby pilot.
Being on standby meant you likely would not fly, but had to be ready at a moment's notice.
Whether I was scheduled to fly or on standby, I always got up early and hit the mess hall to get my fair share of reconstituted eggs.
YUCK!

Sitting on the edge of my bed, wiping sleep out of my eyes, I heard a strange sound......
shyoo... shyoo... shyoo, shyoo... shyoo, shyoo, shyoo, shyoo, shyoo, ... shyoo!
The sound was a little like popping the top on a can of soda, only from far away.

Puzzled, I looked over at "Snag". He was scheduled to fly and was also getting dressed for his fair share of eggs.

"What the heck was that?"

"I dunno."


WHOOMP!
WHOOMP, WHOOMP, WHOOMP!

Without question, these were the loudest explosions I had EVER heard,
close enough to suck the air from your lungs.
I sprang from the bed, still undressed, and ran for the back door of the hooch hoping to reach the safety of our bunker, just in time to see a bright orange explosion hit the South China Sea.
The explosion sent a spray of water 100' into the air.

I laid down just inside the back door, covered my head, and waited for the fireworks to stop.

I have no way of knowing how many 122 mm. Katusa rockets they launched at us that day...
Too many, whatever the number.
When they quit falling we surveyed the local damage:
Slight schrapnel damage to three helicopters,
A jeep gas tank ruptured, which promptly caught fire.
Our flightline latrine knocked off it's foundation and onto it's side, carrying Specialist Carmichael along with it.
Miraculously, he is shaken but unhurt.

We later get the news:
The 312th Evac Hospital took a direct hit.
Two are dead there... one is a Nurse.

The picture you see above is Lt. Sharon Ann Lane.
Trying to bring comfort and healing,
she is the only woman killed due to enemy fire in the Viet Nam war.There is a nice tribute to Lt. Lane
at this site.
Go and read it.
Nurses... all of 'em... are Angels.

8 June 1969...
The most terrifying day of my life.

3 comments:

OlePrairiedog said...

As many of the women in my wife's and my own family are of the sisterhood of Nursing, let me be the first to agree as many will, that Nurses are Angels on earth, and earn their place in Heaven every day of their nursing lives.
Bless them all.

Di said...

A nurse was responsible for saving my life recently when I was in the hospital. When I had problems in childbirth with my firstborn, it was the nurse who got me through the ordeal. Many times nurses don't receive the credit they are due. How sad that this lady lost her life while serving others. How kind of you to remember her.

June 11 is my daughter's birthday...the day of this nurse's funeral. I feel doubly blessed after reading this woman's story. My daughter majored in nursing for awhile...(hopefully, she will go back to school to complete her degree). Thanks for sharing this story. As I celebrate my daughter's birthday, I'll do so with gratitude for another who gave her life.

THIRDWAVEDAVE said...

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