John N. Baldwin

VIETNAM 1968-1969: A MULTIMEDIA VIETNAM TOUR OF DUTY

Great memories. Good friends. Excellent service to our boys. We were the very, very best hospital in the world. We did things that were impossible anywhere else.

“If you get to the 24th, we will get you home.”

God bless all of you who served and who sacrificed so much; soldiers, nurses, corpsmen, administration, chopper pilots and dedicated surgeons.

Dear Friends:

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: October 11, 2007
Awarded: October 11, 2007

I am sending this link to friends, relatives, interested people, former soldiers that we know, but mainly doctors, nurses, corpsmen, MSC officers, and former patients of the 24th Evacuation Hospital. These pictures were taken by John or Jeannie, and in a few instances, bystanders with my camera. The years: 1968-1969. This is a 40 year ago memory.

With the help of a close friend of one of my Nam patients, Mary Rogers (Dennis Haines), I have produced a DVD of our tour of Vietnam. There are 3 parts, Casualties: mainly before and after pictures of how we fixed things some truly amazing results, e.g., the reconstructed hand, the Viet teen boy who was shot through and through, the US GI hit above the nose with a shrapnel fragment and Sgt Aaron Tybo whose right femur, femoral artery and vein were blown away and we rebuilt them all. He raised five great kids, had several amazing careers, and still walks just fine on that leg. Friends: doctors, nurses, corpsmen; and finally, Jeannie: a love in the middle of the misery around us.

When you click on the link, it will play. Have the sound turned up on your computer and you can then further adjust it on the DVD site just below the picture. You can also use the slide below them to go back. The double bar will hold a picture to read the caption or to study it further, until you click it again. To make a FULL SCREEN view, press key F11, and when finished, press F11 again for your toolbar to come back.

Most people have never seen anything like the casualty part because nobody would ever believe it and only a few professionals see the wounded up close but often wounded is worse than killed, and without front-line hospitals like ours, soldiers will die. Nothing like this exists in Iraq. The 24th Evac was, in its time, the finest trauma hospital in the world, with a talented, dedicated staff from brain surgeons to skilled nurses and corpsmen who made decisions about life and death several times a day.

I want to tell you real combat soldiers how much we admire you and honor the fact that you slept in the mud, wrapped in your poncho covers, you ate cold canned food, shaved when possible out of your helmet and were constantly facing death. Everyone has a version of this war from the F-4 Air Force guys to the men aboard the Saratoga to yours in the steaming jungle; mine was, in many ways easier, but then again, in its own way, difficult, challenging and agonizing. We were a team with many parts and roles to play.

So, thanks for watching this goes out before Veterans’ Day to the 24th Evac. gang and some twenty patients, six of whom are in the video, living and well now approaching 60 to 65 years old, as this is a 40th anniversary production. If you recognize yourself as a young person, you are right! “We Were Soldiers Once, and Young.”

Welcome Home! Job Well-Done. Thank you All, especially Mary Rogers!