Navy Corpsman
Memories Never Forgotten

Copyright (1999) by, "Doc" Joe Claroni
Navy Corpsman with 3rd mar.div 3rd mar. batt.,Lima Co.
from Nov. '68 to Oct.'69


Memories Never Forgotten:

My first days in country were a nightmare, not really knowing what to expect. My initial contact with a fellow corpsman was watching him walk toward me in the Đà Nẵng Air Base, SVN. I thought he was a 50 year old beaten down marine the way he looked. He had a far distant stare in his eyes as if he had seen something horrible and frightening. When I realized that
he was a Navy corpsman, the reality began to sink in -- I may look the same way in months to come.

I was a Navy Corpsman with 3rd mar.div 3rd mar. batt.,Lima Co. We were convoying from Quang Tri to Con Thien when we were ambushed from both sides of the road. My jeep made it safely but the last few trucks of marines didn't. This was my first experience with such traumatic death and maiming that I wasn't sure what to do at first. Eventually, with the help of the corpsman that I was relieving, we were able to help some of the wounded but other poor souls were KIAs' from the initial ambush. This was a foretaste into hell.

Another ambush that I vividly remember was in the An Hoa mountains. Our mission was to find a recon team that was killed in action. Before we found them, our platoon was being sniped at and our machine gunner was the first to be killed. The next thing that I hear is "Corpsman up!" One of our riflemen was wounded, along with the radioman. I was able to crawl to the rifleman, bandage his wounds and give a shot of morphine while AK47 rounds were zinging by my head. He was dragged back to safety by
other marines. Sadly, by the time I got to the radioman, he was already dead.

We captured one VC and he was interrogated. We eventually found the Recon team but they had been deceased for a week or two. Vietnam made men out of boys. Vietnam changed lives forever ... not only for us who made it back but also for the families whose sons,daughters,husbands and fathers didn't make it back.

May we always remember our fallen comrades and their grieving families. May we continue to strive for peace then maybe our hurtful memories will be easier to deal with.

I was a Navy Corpsman with Lima Co 3/3 from Nov.68 to Oct.69, based out of Quang Tri and Con Thien. Welcome back home to those who made it and I pray for those who didn’t.

"Doc" Joe Claroni
Report a Broken Link / Photo (tell me where!), or eMail a Comment
© 1995-2023. All Rights Reserved.