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Hulking medic works army wonders

I stirred up the debris on top of my desk, called it the annual cleaning, and came up with a note. On the note was just the word: Medics. At some point, some story about army medics had seemed like an idea for a column..

I stirred up the debris on top of my desk, called it the annual cleaning, and came up with a note. On the note was just the word: Medics. At some point, some story about army medics had seemed like an idea for a column..

There is one slight problem: I dont know any good stories about medics, at least, not the ones with which I had contact while in the army, either stateside or in Vietnam. However, I do have some stories.

The first involves a guy well call Bill who was a medic stateside down at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where I was stationed with the Pershing missile battalion before I got orders to report to Vietnam. Bill was memorable for two reasons.

We spent several months camped in the desert at the intersection of three states: Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. We lived in tents, and fired the Pershing in the general direction of New Mexico. Most of them landed in New Mexico, where they were supposed to. There was a rumor that a couple of them got away from us and landed in Mexico, but I cannot confirm that. Last I knew, they were so lost that neither could the army.

The Germans came over and stayed in the desert with us, in the heat, the dryness, the blowing sand, and the overall complete barren absence of everything, to shoot missiles at Mexico with us. I guess everyone figured that corner of Utah was so remote that even if a couple got away from us, chances were no one would get hurt. The German armys boots, once exposed to the hot sand, fell apart. The Germans themselves, once exposed to the beer tent, and then the desert heat, also fell apart. I guess there arent any hot deserts in Germany for them to practice drinking in.

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Anyway, it was so desperately dry there that the lining in our noses would dry out and crack and bleed, so, like a lot of the rest of the soldiers, I found myself lined up outside the infirmary tent to get my nose packed. By a medic.

Medics seemed to run true to a physical form: Big, lots of muscles, and hair that grows out of every opening in their uniform. Out the wrists of their shirt sleeves; out the collar of their neck; on the backs of their fingers, you name it. It must have been difficult for them to figure out where to start and stop shaving, that neck thing the way it was.

Anyway, I get in and this hulk named Bill is greasing up about ten feet of fuzzy cotton cord, which he proceeded to pack into my nose to stop the bleeding. It seemed like I could feel it pressing on my ear drums by the time he got done. I guess it protected the lining of the nose and gave it a chance to heal.

Having it put in wasnt the fun part; extracting ten feet of fuzzy twine, now, that really was fun.

Bill had one other memorable feature - he took apart Percodan tablets and kept the barbiturate part for himself. Bill didnt talk much, just kind of floated around the tent compound, in his own world. Ive had my brain packed by a junkie medic the size of Hulk Hogan.

There was one more medic, this one in Vietnam. He looked just like Bill - hair protruding from everywhere. This guys favorite position was standing in front of a sign that said: All returning R and R (rest and recreation) personnel drop your pants and place your hands on the wall. On the wall in question was painted two hands. I was in there one day during a standard screening for something or other when I saw some tired looking 19-year-old GI walk into that tent, drop his britches, and turn to the wall and place his hands on the wall, leaning into it.

This Gorilla of a medic came around the corner with a huge hypodermic needle in each hand. Using both hands at once, he jabbed both hypos into the exposed buttocks of the GI leaning against the wall. Then he drove both plungers down, told the GI he was free to go, and disappeared.

I asked the GI what the hell was that all about, and he said: I just got back from Okinawa, and I knew this was coming, so I think I hit every whorehouse on the island to make it worth it. Then he stumbled out of the tent, taking with him enough penicillin to sterilize a third-world country.

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Me? I decided right then and there not to go on R and R.

Probably the medic did, too.

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