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  Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
     
  Vietnam Scrapbook
     

John Lemon
Midway, Utah, USA

I am not a veteran of the Vietnam War. However my father was drafted for Korea in 1951, and retired in 1971 at the height of the Vietnam War. In 1964, he was PCS'd to Clark AB in the Philippines. I was 12 at the time. In 1966, I was 14 and old enough to become involved in what they called the Volunteer Litter Bearer Program. This was a program for off-duty GI's and dependents 14 and older to help out at the hospital downloading casualites from Vietnam. My mom was a nurse at the Base Hospital and she got me signed up to help. We'd get home from school, (Wagner Junior/ Senior High School),watch the 6:00 evening news on AFRTS, to get an idea about how many casualties to expect. We'd get to the hospital about 7:00 and get set up. Sometime that evening the medivac planes would land and the triage folks would start unloading the casualties onto big greyhound type busses that would back up to the emergency room doors. Then we would start unloading the busses. We'd download the ambulatory patients first. Then the litters. Then the body bags. We'd fill all the empty beds, then line the stretchers end to end down each side of the hallways. Sometime around 2:00 the next morning we'd be done. Go home get some rest and go to school. I did this for about six months until it started to bother me emotionally. Then my sister and I would go to the hospital on the weekends and sing, write letters or just talk to the wounded GI's. Some only 17 or 18 years old. They told us stories about how the VC would pull the pin on a hand grenade and give it to little kids to go give to a GI. When they did, both got blownup. Then they couldn't understand why the anti-war people were calling these 17 year olds baby killers. One time we got to sing Christmas carols at the hospital. We came to a particular ward, singing Silent Night. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that an older guy was sitting on the edge of his bed crying. Once everyone saw him, it was all we could do to finish the song. It wasn't all sad. We heard about the guys who supported orphanages, and helped build huts and perform medical services for the people. We also met members of the Australian, Korean, Thai, and Philippine militaries who were all helping in the cause of freedom in Vietnam. America ran the show but we didn't do it alone. In 1967, we returned to the states. We landed at Travis AFB, CA. As we landed everyone on board that Freedom Bird, cheered. As we went down the stairs, we watch as some of those guys knelt down and kissed the ground. We all had tears in our eyes. Then as we went out the main gate we saw the anti-war demonstrators burning the US flag, flying the North Vietnam flag. They spit on us, and called my dad a baby killer. It was tough enough to be an Air Force Brat without having to go through that. To this day I hate the anti-war demonstrators. I have no use for any of them including our current comander-in-chief.
   

 

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