Download Combat Chaplain: A 30-Year Vietnam Battle by James D. Johnson PDF

By James D. Johnson

Chaplain James D. Johnson selected to accompany his males, unarmed, on their day-by-day wrestle operations. this can be his chronicle of Vietnam and the aftermath of struggle, of his coming to phrases together with his post-traumatic demons, and his want for therapeutic and detoxification which led him to revisit Vietnam years later.

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I’m the one who must now define how best to be pastor to these men. I decide not to leave this decision to my brigade and/or division chaplain supervisors; it is my decision. And so, my decision is made. I will not be just a ‘special teams’ player. I will be offense, defense and special teams. I will, when possible, go on combat operations with the troops. I will be where they are, regardless. They may even call my action one of defiance. But, they’re not on the ground where I am. I will do what I must do to provide pastoral care to these heroes.

One leg is blown off and the other is badly mangled. His survival is in doubt, and I know I must see him as soon as possible. I have gotten to know him well since I arrived. TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 1967: I hop a chopper headed for Dong Tam. As soon as we land, I walk to the 3rd Surg and I quickly find Wayne. He is weak, but glad to see me. His leg is gone. “I guess you can see, Chaplain, that I left part of me in the field,” he says. I don’t know how to appropriately respond. “Yeah, I see. I’m sorry,” I say.

We have about thirty-five newly wounded. The evacuation takes several hours to complete, even with several medevac choppers making flights back and forth. I stay with the wounded until the last one is evacuated. Tonight, I’ve had my fill of torn flesh, fear, destruction and chaos. MONDAY, JULY 24, 1967: Daylight reveals the extensive damage done. The nearby officer’s hooches for the hospital have received a direct hit. One round actually landed in the bed of a physician who fortunately was in the operating room.

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