“Visions of Vietnam”: During the Battle of Crazy Horse

The Battle of Crazy Horse took place over several days in late May 1966. It was the most intense of my experiences over there, with my services needed many times through the night and the next day. The second person I tended to was Sp/4 David Jolley. When I responded to the call for medic, I found him by himself. Jolley was a machine gunner with my platoon, and was really well-liked by the men. That day he was providing cover for the charge up the ridge. When I got to him, I saw he had been shot just under the neck, probably from above as he was moving uphill; the wound was through the front of his neck and came through him at an angle where it exited through his lower back. I dressed the wounds as best I could. There wasn’t much else I could do.

At that point, there was a third call for medic. I told the RTO to stay with Jolley. I paused for a moment realizing I had to drop my web gear in order to “get light for flight” and to avoid getting caught on a “wait-a-minute vine”. So, I left my web gear with the RTO, took just my M-16 with a magazine and my M-5 aid bag, and headed out to the next person, Sp/4 Jimmie Sampson, leaving Jolley with the RTO.

Looking back, I think maybe I should have stayed and tried to do more for Jolley, but if I did that, then Sampson might still be on that hill. These were the kind of difficult decisions we medics had to make during combat.

Sampson was the fireteam leader in our platoon. When I got to him, his left arm was shattered and he was covering himself with leaves to hide from the enemy. Thinking they were further up the hill, I asked him, “Where is everyone?” He said, “They’re down the hill.” I realized I had to get us out of there, so I dragged him 25 yards back down the hill and found Sergeant Belcher and other members of the platoon. I started working on Sampson’s wound and within minutes, I heard voices shouting, “Medic!” It was dark at that point and raining. I reached for my weapon before responding to the call and suddenly realized it wasn’t there. I left my M-16 up on the hill! I mumbled something under my breath and Sampson said, “What’s wrong, Doc?” I said, “I think I left my weapon up on the hill!” Sampson said, “I grabbed it, Doc. I dragged both weapons down.” He had it right there in his hand! I couldn’t believe it; despite his wounds and the chaos of battle, he had the forethought to grab my weapon. I could’ve kissed him!

3 thoughts on ““Visions of Vietnam”: During the Battle of Crazy Horse

  1. Pingback: “Visions of Vietnam”: Survival Instincts | Visions of Vietnam

  2. Pingback: “Visions of Vietnam”: In Memory of Michael Vinassa and David M. Jolley | Visions of Vietnam

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