5:25 | Growing up in Ohio, Bill Brezina was drafted and got a switch from infantry to be able to work as a unit clerk. After that, he got assigned to Brooks Army Medical Center to work as a patient data coder where he thought he would stay, until he got the call to Vietnam.
Keywords : training unit clerk infantry draftee Vietnam code Brooks Army Medical Center physical exam station deployment
Bill Brezina had his first assignment at the MASH hospital in Chu Lai. Dealing with that quantity of casualties is be difficult to see and takes time to adjust.
At the hospital in Chu Lai, Brezina and his team served people from all over - American soldiers, North Vietnamese, civilians. Amount of patients in the hospital would ebb and flow, leaving them with a lot of down time.
Bill Brezina remembers the different types of soldiers that you'd come across while in Vietnam. Substance abuse was pretty common there and it soon became a problem.
Working in an Army hospital, things would sometimes be disjointed and would require quick thinking. Brezina and his team made sure that they were prepared for any situation that came their way. After his time in the service, he found it relatively easy to transition back into normal life.
Bill Brezina describes how many of the mistakes America made in Vietnam were the same mistakes made by the French and how war can propel society ahead in areas such as medical treatment. He reflects on his time in the military and the influences that it had on his life. Service can affect you in ways that you don't fully understand until you take time to step back and think about it.
As Marine Captain Ron Christmas fought to regain the city of Hue, he found the enemy adept at concealment and surprise. Every soldier in a spider hole was armed with a rifle and a RPG launcher. He also encountered a nun with an AK-47. His action during this time earned him the Navy Cross.
The RPG that severed Joe McDonald’s foot didn’t kill him. The machine gun fire that hit him as he still tried to help others didn’t kill him. The grenade taped to his hand might have killed him if the VC had found his hiding place.
In a letter home, Tommy Clack expressed his worry that something bad was going to happen and it did when his unit engaged the NVA near the Cambodian border. He saw the enemy soldier stand and fire the RPG that changed his life forever.
Sgt. Tracy Sheils never had to pull rank. He had rank, meaning his men respected him and carried out his orders. His mother was concerned about his brothers getting drafted and sent to Vietnam and so was Sheils. He didn't think they had the makeup to survive in that war, unlike the Marines in his unit.
To Tracy Sheils, Vietnam was not a bad thing and it had a noble purpose, stopping the spread of Communism. He had to go home in civilian clothes to avoid any trouble and it did not sit well with him. Neither does the prosecution of Americans such as Lt. William Calley.
His one trip to the hospital was memorable. Fed up with the chaos and screaming, Tracy Sheils couldn't wait to get back to his unit. He talks about surviving an ambush, how he took up smoking and why that was a good thing, and why his flak jacket was worthless.
He thought it was hot when he stopped in Hawaii, but when Tracy Sheils got to Vietnam, he found out what hot really is. His 2nd night there, the base was targeted in a rocket attack. That's when he found out what scared really is. Soon, he would see action in Hue and the A Shau Valley, and earn a combat promotion.
As the 95th began to get settled in Da Nang, they started building tents and getting some semblance of a base going so that they could take on patients. As an OR tech, Balk assisted doctors during the various types of procedures that went on at the base.
After some intense time in-country, Bob Averill and his battalion got the chance to take a brief leave to the beach for some recovery time. Following his time on Hill 174, Averill was reassigned to command a Combined Action Company, taking him away from Hotel Company and into a new area of operations.