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Source: Bob (Popeye) Williamson, 45th Surg, Tay Ninh,
July 1968 to End of June 1969.
E-mail: Note: selected lines from his e-mail to me.
About something I did, TOO Long A Story, you don't need to know!
1st LT. Dale Duffel Passed away 16th or 17th August 1999.
He review this web site and said:
I thought it was very strange that it more or less coincided with the big NVA pushes of 1968 and 1969.
Believe CPT. Bert Pederson's name is spelled with a
D and not a T like yours is.
Remember you and Tex (Barnie)(David Barnwell) coming back from the convoy where you were ambushed--was always glad that both of you made it back safely.
Also remember when Bert (Cpt. Pederson) and Moose (cannot remember his name, but he had a MS in Physics) encountered the grenades and Moose ran to the helipad.
Also remember that someone stole all of Maj. Dubiel's plywood that he had saved for trading. Duffel told me--"You know that Moose has an MS in Physics. And, it is amazing that a person with one hand can lift several thousand pounds of Solid Steel Plate from the top of a stack of plywood if they have the right fulcrum!" Always thought it was a strange coincidence there was considerable remodeling, etc. of the EM Barricks the next day.
Also remember one night that I stopped into the Pharmacy to see if Karl Juve could dub some tapes for me. He and Moose were listening to (I believe) Brubeck. I joined them. We had a drink and I lit up a Camel. An incoming 107mm rocket landed close by and all 3 of us damned near knocked each other out as we heads diving for the floor. Believe that was the first of many that night. Our social hour ended abruptly.
Somewhere I believe that I have a polaroid of the 1st Sgt's (Hedrick's) Hooch after the rocket hit it. The one I have shows him standing by the hole. I remember when it hit as it was 50 to 75 feet from my bunk.
The one night that you mentioned regarding the 66 patients was the 16th or 17th of August, 1968. We received a lot more than that, but that was probably about the correct number of admissions. Etched in my mind were the loads of Chinooks bringing in the Engineers from the top of Nui Ba Din and they were laying in their ponchos as they were hit while asleep. Also believe that was the first time that I had ever seen a Cobra. Walked out of the office and there it was facing me--all 36inches wide and loaded with 7mm rocket pods and beautiful gattling guns.
Also remember that you bought the water truck to the back of Pre-Op and used it to hose it out. Also remember the normally dry ditch that parallelled the sidewalk from the helipad to the Mess Hall was filled with about 3 feet of bright red bloody water as a result of your washing operation. Will never forget that sight.
The one night you referenced with all of the casualties was in 1969 (I believe. I wasn't there, but recieved a letter about it and believe it was also in August).
From memory, believe there was about 3 main places that we evacuated patients to including the 24th. Believe there was 2 in Long Binh, plus Chu Chi. And many of the ARVN's went to the ARVN Hospital in Saigon. Also recall at least 2 Scout Dogs that were evacuated to Long Binh.
Enjoyed seeing the picture of Poppa San. Believe the tire rim that sent him in the air was from a 2 1/2 ton truck and not the 5 ton dump. I remember Tiny yelling at me (I was crossing the road to go to the Motor Pool) "Cap'um, my Poppa San just got hurt. We have to get him to the hospital". We put him in the 3/4 ton truck and drove to the back of Pre-Op by my office in A&D and we carried him in through the back door. We both thought he was at Death's Door.
Also enjoyed seeing the Dump Truck. I remember very vividly when Sgt. Padgett and I went to Vung Tau to get it for LTC. Jim Smith. We drove from Saigon to Tay Ninh without a convoy. We got lost. Turned around in a grade school playground. About 100 little Vietnamese kids swarmed the truck. They stole all of our gear that was stashed in the box under the passenger door. I had a brand new Norelco razor. They got it! They tried to steal the boots off my feet. They almost pulled me out of the truck -- they had the door open.
During that drive, we saw hundreds of Vietnamese in Black Pajamas with Ho Chi Minh Sandals walking through the rice paddies. They were all carrying weapons. We did not know if they were NVA, ARVNs, or what. They didn't shoot at us and I didn't shoot at them. Padgett and I had 1 or 2 M1's and my Army issued .45 Pistol. About 5 miles later, we ran into a convoy of APC's heading the opposite direction. We sure as hell were glad to see them.
Also remember very vividly when (thought his name was Haggy) got the shrapnel up his a__. That was the same rocket that put holes in one of the water towers.
Somewhere I also have a picture taken by the Chief Clerk that was there for a few months and later went to The Stars and Stripes. Cannot remember his name, but he was a newscaster for Channel 7 (WLS) in Chicago for a while. This picture is of Dale Duffel, Louis Oliverri and myself working on our hooch (#5).
You photographed the crematorium. Prior to that, the dogs used to run around with arms and legs as they would dig them up faster than we could get them buried!
Am glad that you survived the war.
Take care and keep your head down.
Bob (Popeye) Williamson
Hospital Registrar, Motor Officer, et al.
July 1968 to End of June 1969 (CPT, MSC)
||Source: George Pomerantz, 45th Surg. Hospital Commander, '69 - '70
Very interesting web site. I commanded the hospital '69 - '70 - the hot time was during the time of the Cambodian offensive in the Spring of '70. Bob Museo was the exec. and one outstanding officer.
Nellie Marsh was the chief nurse - they don't come any better.
Ken McNabney was the chief of surgery. The entire staff of the hospital performed at an exceptional level of achievement during the time I was there.
I'm sure you would have been hard put to find men and women able to give more of themselves. It was an interesting and exciting experience. Thank GOD no causalties among our people during my time there.
I have a ton of pictures. Many of the hospital, of TayNinh, of the Cao Dai Temple, and the villages, fire bases, et cetera. There is a reunion in November in Rockville, MD 20879 - It is a reunion dinner ar the Double Tree Hotel in Rockville, MD. My wife and I will try to attend if we can.
Thanks for the web site. I'm sure that many of us will enjoy it.
22 Bateson Drive
Andover, MA 01810-3402
Office #: 978-470-0250
Hedrickedj@aol.com Ed Hedrick
Writes the following:
Thank you for the opportunity to say something for the Web:
I arrived at the 45th at end of November 68,
from tour as 1SG of 225th Sta Hosp Munich, Germany.
Retirement had already been approved for 1 Jan 69.
Decided to forgo retirement and accept assignment to VN.
First contact was with an Hispanic SFC Roca,
I think of San Antonio, Tx.
We shared a Hooch during my tenure.
CO Commander was Capt.Daniel Partain, MSC.
He now resides near columbia, SC
( Major Partain was in insurance business last time
XO was Major Muzzio,
now retired Colonel, MSC in greater Washington DC.
CO of Hosp was LTC Smith, MD from Washington State.
Think he was Podiatrist, understand he went back home
to practice. Had a great team of Officers,Nco's and other
Enlisted. Likewise the greatest Doctors and Nurses
America has ever known.
Took a direct hit on my Hooch on 9 March
69. Decided to stay on at 45th, flew back and forth
to 3rd Feld Hosp. for patch-up til June
when BG David Thomas, CG 44th Med Bde,
ordered that I be reassigned to
IG office HQ 44th Med Bde.
Served the remainder of my tour in that Position.
Was awarded Bronze Star and Purple Heart for service
in 45th. Returned directly to US and retirement 1 Jan 70.
44th Med Bde continues to function under XVIII
Corps with 82nd Air Borne Division/Special
Forces at Fort Bragg NC. Commands all medical
activities on East Coast, USA.
Medics came of age in VN and now
stands alone as a separate command
similar to combat arms Infantry, Armor and
Artillery. MEDDAC Center is
located at Fort Sam Houston Tx
||Source:Tom Martin, 187th AHC
I was a member of the 187th AHC at Tay Ninh and a patient at the 45th Surg. I was wounded on the night of May 4th during a rocket attack and evacuated to 45th, then on to Chu Chi later that night for surgery. Finally evacuated from VietNam, via Japan and back to the states.
A nurse from there "Scoonie" married one of our pilots Joe Pike, I don't remember her maiden name, but I do run across them occasionally. She was the nurse in emergency (Probably Pre-Op) that night who attended me and got me on the med-evac. Small world, and the internet is making it smaller.
||Source: Douglas Young
2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
VietNam April 1969 - March 1970
I've just taken a glance at your new web site, and took the liberty of signing your Guest Book. In case you're wondering how I found it, my wife told me. She is the Webmistress of the 24th Evac's web site.
I remember the 45th Surg well. I served with the 1st cav in Tay Ninh Province in 1969. I was a company commander for awhile, then became the battalion S1. A large part of my duties was to track down casualties, so I was in your hospital many times. I remember one time in particular when they brought in the first sergeant of my old company. He'd taken a couple of machine gun rounds to his left shoulder, which was just barely attached to the rest of his body. But, he was giving the medical folks pure hell because he wanted to go back to his men in the field. One of the Docs came over and asked me if I knew him. After I smiled, I said yes, then went over to Top Allen and made sure he knew who I was. Then, speaking very strongly to one of the men I respected most in the world - a man who was old enough to be my father - I gave hime a direct order to be quiet and let them work on him. That was October 6, 1969.
Like you, I am writing the history of Company C, 2/5 Cav, in Vietnam. (www.tallcomanche.org) I have obtained a lot of the Morning Reports for the company. And a huge number of our men came through the 45th. I shall be honored to place a link on my site to yours.
Best wishes - building the web site is very hard work, but very fulfilling too.
Web Site: www.tallcomanche.org