L/Cpl, Ret’d Dave Miller
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!