One of my listeners wrote me an email in January of 2008.
DEAR BOB: My name is Al Naar. I served as operating room corpsman
with the 3rd Medical Battalion during the Vietnam War. On May 2 & 3,
2008, in Charleston, SC, the officers and men of 3rd Med will assemble
once more…and hold their 40 year reunion….There will be over 100
doctors and corpsmen who served together and will see each other for
the first time since leaving Vietnam 40 years ago. This presents a rare
and unique opportunity to interview surgeons who left private practice,
joined the military and served during a difficult time in our nation’s his-
tory. There are many stories that came out of the Vietnam War. However,
very little if any have ever been recorded of the extraordinary service of
these individuals. As an avid listener to your show, I feel that this subject
matter would be compelling and of interest to many in your audience.
I thought so too, and so did Ariana. The battalion served in several field hospitals close to the DMZ. What these medical men were dealing with in 1968 were the results of a double whammy: the siege of the U.S. Marine base at Khe Sanh, which began on January 2, and the Tet Offensive, launched on January 30. Think of M*A*S*H, with the wisecracks, the black humor, the irony of sewing up men so they could go back to an unpopular war and risk their lives again, the antiwar feelings of some of these military officers at war, the music playing in the