In Dec. 1968 I was sent to Vietnam as a Navy Corpsman. It was dusk, and as we were approaching the airport in Da Nang I could see pop flares going off in the distance along with tracer rounds that appeared as if they were going to the Heavens. That was my first inkling of reality in a war zone. It was scary looking. When we landed and debarked the plane, the heat really hit me in the face. It was like walking into an oven. I immediately started perspiring. I checked in at the dirt floored terminal and was told to wait. A jeep from the 3rd Battalion/26th Marines was coming to pick me up. The jeep arrived about 15 minutes later and took me to the 3/26 rear area called the "Rock Crusher" (not to be confused with the "Rock Pile") which was located about 5-10 miles northwest of Da Nang. When I checked into the Corpsman's Station there was a Marine stretched out on a table with three corpsmen trying to hold him down. The Marine had lost it and was delirious. He was yelling and screaming while trying to fight his way off the table. This also was a scary scene because I'm thinking "Man! This place has to really be bad!" I was taken outside the hooch and told to report to Kilo Company located in a row of tents going up the side of a hill. The Chief Corpsman told me to find the corpsman I was replacing, get his medical bag and send him back down. I was making my way up the hill, walking beside the tents, and all of a sudden a Marine comes flying backwards out of a tent opening as if someone had hit him. The next thing I see is another Marine flying after him and jumping on the other fella's chest. The Marine on top took his index finger and middle finger of his right hand and placed them in the eye sockets of the marine on the bottom and pulled straight down. The bottom marine was screaming "I won't do it again - I promise". At this time a sergeant arrived and broke them up. As the sergeant stood between them trying to get an explanation, the marine, who was on top, was swinging around the sergeant's head still trying to hit the other marine. The sergeant finally calmed them down and asked what started the fight. The marine who was on top said the other marine was trying to steal a canvas cot out of his tent (each tent had about a dozen cots). Another scary moment! I'm thinking "I do not even know one marine at this point, but if they're all as crazy as this one I don't know if I want to be around them!!! I mean - all this over a stupid canvas cot!" Well, I found the corpsman I was to replace. Later, the marine who was on top came up to talk to me. I thought -"O crap - he's going to get on my case now". He didn't - he just started making conversation. That conversation led to us becoming close friends and when we went out on operations he taught me everything he knew about the bush and staying alive. He proved just as tenacious in the bush as he did in the rear. Instead of staying with the CP, when we set in for the night, I would stay with him and his fire-team and help stand watch. We would sit and talk each evening after settling in, solving the problems of the world. This Marine's name is James "Tex" Evans. I had and have the utmost respect for him because he has always been honest and up front no matter what the other person thought. After 30 years we found each other again and Tex has not changed one bit. Still honest, still up front and still as bullheaded as ever(LOL). Today we keep in touch and I value his friendship dearly.
Doc (Rocky) Miller
Kilo & H&S 3/26