No coffee, no doughnuts and no Susie Q!

L/Cpl, Ret’d Dave Miller
USMC Grunt
Lima 3/7 ‘68

My Homecoming story started the second I was hit, my first wound was my ticket home. However, we were just ambushed and everyone with me is dead.

Many other stories so let’s get to my funny part.

Four or five stories later, I find myself on a C-130 strapped unto a stretcher suspended by web belts from the ceiling and attached to the floor. This device holds 4 or 5 wounded, ambulatory wounded took up the lower stretchers or were seated in flight chairs. I was at the very top of one of these jungle gyms.

We landed in Alaska to refuel, Just then, a cute little blonde, round eye, sprints up the back hatch and she immediately had everyone’s attention. About 5’5”, maybe 16 or 17, wearing white Hot pants and a stretchy shirt. I think she said she was the Base Commanders Daughter. She implored, every ambulatory patient follow me to the terminal for coffee and doughnuts.

Not exactly ambulatory shot 3x, I sustained some damage. I had my ribs spread twice due to a hemorrhage, lung resection, diaphragm repaired, emergency heart bypass, splenectomy, belly wound, intestine resection and damaged kidney and missing some ulnar nerve left elbow and damaged left kidney. So I start climbing down the 15 or 20 feet from my perch. I hear a Corpsman yelling at me but I could only climb down at this point. Halfway down I fell. Five days after being hit I weighed in at a husky 116lbs, the Corpsman caught me.

He said Where Do You Think You Are Going? I said I’m Following Suzie Q, he said, Go Ahead, just don’t miss the flight. I was in Navy PJ’s and hurting from my fall, blinding light greeted me as I descend the ramp. Snow piled up around the tarmac but I wasn’t cold. I couldn’t stand up straight so I couldn’t see where I was walking. All I could do is shuffle along and every 5 or 6 steps I would stop, turn sideways so I could check my direction and then continue. I was short of breath and aching from the fall. I was about halfway to the terminal and Suzie Q when another patient grabbed my good arm and said: “Move it, we’re going to miss our flight.” I turned and looked and everyone was coming back from the terminal. So I headed back to the plane, no coffee, no doughnuts, and no Susie Q!


Author: Jack McCabe

Jack McCabe was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from high school in 1969 at the age of 17 and two days after he turned 18 he joined the Army. He was sent to Vietnam less than a year later in October of 1970. He extended for a second tour and finally came home for good at the end of May 1972. He finished his three-year enlistment at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and returned home to Chicago. After his return from Vietnam, he pursued his education using the G.I. Bill, receiving an associate degree in electronics engineering from DeVry Institute. He eventually continued his education by attending night school and received his bachelor’s degree in business and management from Northeastern Illinois University in 1981, at the age of 30. He owned his own business for 20 years and then sold real estate for 20 more before retiring to North Carolina, where he became a certified Peer Support Specialist with a veteran designation. He has a deep passion for helping veterans doing volunteer work with the YMCA Resource Gateway in Gaston County, NC where he handles all the calls from those with past military service. He helped veterans with PTSD, financial crisis’s, substance abuse, homelessness, and veteran benefits. He received the North Carolina Governors Award for Volunteer Work. Jack believes that the most important thing he can do is to give Vietnam and all veterans a voice. By sharing their stories veterans understand that they are not alone. There are many going through the same struggles as they are. For non-veterans, he hopes they will understand the struggles veterans face when they return home from war. He has since retired and is in the process of writing another book.

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