Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Rick Marotte | 237th Medical Detachment - Army

5:52   |   A sense of humor could get you in a little trouble in Vietnam, says Rick Marotte who painted some questionable things on the helicopters. Back home, he managed to avoid the abuse suffered by some returning veterans and concentrated on graduate school and his family. After thirty years, the men from his unit began to find each other.

More From Rick Marotte

Keywords   :     Rick Marotte    Vietnam    Medical Evacuation (Medevac)    Dust Off    helicopter    pilot    news    antiwar    Stars and Stripes    Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS)    Richard Nixon    peace sign    Da Nang    Cam Ranh Bay    drug test    Denver CO    parachute flare    Vietnam Pilots Association    Colorado Springs CO    graduate school    engineering    dream    flashback    Joe Galloway

Videos ( 6 )
  • Rick Marotte  |  Vietnam  |  237th Medical Detachment  |  4:37

    Rick Marotte wanted to serve but he didn't want to be a combatant, so he volunteered as a medical evacuation pilot, call sign Dust Off. He was assigned near the DMZ, the most dangerous province in Vietnam.

  • Rick Marotte  |  Vietnam  |  237th Medical Detachment  |  4:18

    His first Dust Off mission was flying to a friendly fire base to evacuate wounded, but soon Rick Marotte was extracting desperate men from hostile territory. He recalls one difficult mission right on the DMZ where a squad was caught in a mine field.

  • Rick Marotte  |  Vietnam  |  237th Medical Detachment  |  8:13

    As a medical evacuation pilot, Rick Marotte had relatively nice living conditions in Vietnam. He fondly recalls the hooch maids who cleaned his quarters and the barbecues on the beach during down time. He was as close as family with his fellow service men and women, and with the gregarious Australians. The Koreans, though, were too scary for socializing.

  • Rick Marotte  |  Vietnam  |  237th Medical Detachment  |  4:19

    The Special Forces had their own helicopters in Vietnam but they had no hoists. When a unit was pinned down with wounded in an area that had no clear landing zone, medical evacuation pilot Rick Marotte, along with Cobra gunships, extracted the team. A less satisfying memory was the crash of another helicopter while refueling and its grisly aftermath.

  • Rick Marotte  |  Vietnam  |  237th Medical Detachment  |  3:44

    The GI Bill helped Rick Marotte get a home loan and finish his education. After his experience in Vietnam, he became more focused and his family and friends found him strangely calm, not easily riled. He treasures today's returning veterans and no longer runs into many people who still consider him a "baby killer."

  • Rick Marotte  |  Vietnam  |  237th Medical Detachment  |  3:52

    Rick Marotte isn't sure whether he personally got anything out of the Vietnam War, but he knows one thing. He is his brother's keeper and would do it again, given the same circumstances. He is less sure of the forgiveness shown by some of his fellow veterans who work with the current Vietnamese government.

Showing : Vietnam Videos
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