By: Doc Hoppy
I mustered out in 1970, after 4 years of service, as an PR2 (Personnel Repairman 2nd Class... my own designation) with my greatest sacrifice being awarded the DsM w/combat V (my own creation... the DySentery Medal) ...
I refer to it as my "Brown Heart" ... as close to shedding "blood" (or mud) under combat conditions as I managed.
I had solved the "problem", a few days preceding my Medevac, of the entire Co. also earning the same award, although I turned out to be the only Medevac casualty ... to the best of my memory.
Mike Co. was called to double time over and run security for a downed chopper, and to blow an LZ for a replacement rotor to be brought in. The entire Co. came down with the Tijauna Two Step; I surmise it was from our water supplies, which were dubious to laughable as usual.
We were on Mutter's Ridge, and had been up to the DMZ on Op Pink Panther. We moved down and were south of what I remember as Chopper Hill; Dong Ha Mountain being to our East. We arrived on the hill not having hit any water sources for a couple of days, and everyone was low on water. It was an incredibly hot day. Captain Riley eventually sent a squad down to a stream at the bottom of the hill to retrieve beaucoup canteens of water... in the meantime, I had popped the cap on a liter of Ringer's Lactate solution (IV solution), and we collected Kool-aid and sugar in a futile attempt to make it drinkable... it was like drinking sea water!
Late in the evening, I had an incredible "urge", which evolved into an "explosive" event. This was followed at regular, and increasingly more frequent, intervals by even more "desperate urges" culminating in high fever, and eventually the lack of arousal from exhausted sleep ... not a pretty picture! By the morning, I was less than "squared away", and having no change of trousers, ... well, let's say "aromatic" would be an 'gross' understatement. We were destined to be choppered up to run security for Arty on the Mountain and it was not pleasant for those who shared the ride with me... I'm cetain. I have a memory of someone saying "Doc ... can you go stand by the window! (of the CH-46)
I was Mevac'd upon arrival at Dong Ha mountain from Mudder's ridge on the 1st of June 1969. I got off the chopper (funny everyone else stood away from me) and my Corpsmen found the Sr. Corpsman with the Artillery on the hill (I wouldn't agree to be medevac'd) and just before the last chopper left, I relented; ... the Co. was on the hill and "safe" by then. (I was borderline delirious and dehydrated, running a 104 fever, so am fuzzy on details.) I returned to duty after a several days, having been to 3rd Med and then sent on to DaNang to a Malaria ward ... I vaguely recall going thru the BAS at Quang Tri, and "re-gearing".
I don't remember where I picked the Co. back up at... I do remember they didn't have my '45 when I headed back for the bush, so I arrived there unarmed, and with two M-79 round pouches as medical bags/pack, along with flack jacket and partial basic 782 gear. A couple of weeks later when I felt uncomfortable with my disarmed plight during an intense firefight, I collected a '45 which was no longer needed by its owner.
Within 3 weeks I was out of the bush, and in the rear... subsequently going to HQ Bn 3rdMarDiv and becoming Division Training Petty Officer.... I kept track of Mike Co. from there until the Division was pulling out... I finagled transfer to FLSG-B and stayed in QuangTri until Xmas. We then mounted out and pulled back to FLC in DaNang... within a couple of weeks I was home and a civilian again.
I have never left Mike Co., no matter my travels since.