Friday, May 21, 2010

A Woman In Vietnam: Part II

Dorothy Williams

Vietnam 1968-1969

Two or three nights after I got there, the Viet Cong blew the ammo dump, which was on the other side of a hill right next to the hospital. The noise was incredible. I got under my bed and could hear things zinging through the room. I asked my roommate what that was and she didn’t know. So we just lay there a while listing to these things flying through the room and all the noise outside and people screaming. Finally, my roommate says “I’m not gonna die here, I’m going to my duty station,” and we crawled through the alleyways of our compound to the Emergency Room. Turns out, the zinging we had heard was the thumbtacks flying out of the walls from the percussion of the explosions.

At the beginning, when I got there, we had almost a continuous flow of casualties. Sometimes we would get ten or twenty at once. In addition to fresh casualties, we would get couple day-old casualties and they could be the worst. We would take their bandages off and it would tear off all the puss and scabs. Some had them all over their body. It was just terrible with all the screaming and hurting people you didn’t want to hurt. We were young, but the soldiers were younger, and they were like our little brothers. It’s especially heartbreaking when you can’t help your little brother. And after a while when you came to hate the war, you saw all these young men dying and would just ask, “why?”

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