Camp Bunard and the Good Life
Thanks for the story on Robert Pryor and his experience at Camp Bunard in the April issue (“Life Has Been Good So Far”). I got to Bunard in early April 1967 as a Special Forces medic and helped build the camp almost from the ground up. Life was spartan then, and Bunard was not a pleasant place to live. From there I went to Bu Dop and was severely wounded on December 3, 1967. I spent nine months at Fort Sam Houston Brook Medical Center recovering from burns over 60 percent of my body. However, much like Robert Pryor, I was determined nothing was going to get me down. I went to college and medical school and have been happily married for 40 years.
MoH—Twice No More
The April news item reporting on the death of Colonel Robert Howard contained the statement that regulations prohibit more than one award of the Medal of Honor to an individual. I was unaware of such a regulation. In fact there are 19 people who were awarded the medal twice.
Editor’s response: You are correct, there were 19 double recipients prior to an Act of Congress on July 9, 1918, which established more stringent regulations intended to avoid the contentious issues that arose in the Civil War era. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, when the Act was revised in February 1919, it added the stipulation that no person could receive more than one Medal of Honor. Among the 19 double recipients, five were in World War I and four in the Civil War.
This Time Not Better with Coke
The article “The Coca-Cola Kid” in the April issue was interesting, but I had a much different experience with kids and Cokes. On my first tour in late 1968, I was an aircraft commander flying slicks for the 9th Infantry Division out of Dong Tam. We would insert troops in the mornings and then hold over at a little OV-10 airstrip called Ben Tre and then extract troops in the late afternoon. One day, while at Ben Tre, a group of kids showed up with Cokes and ice in a hammock-type bag. While most aircraft commanders wouldn’t let their crews buy the Cokes, a couple of the crews did buy Cokes from the kids this day.
Shortly after, one of the gunners in another platoon starting screaming and clawing at his throat. My job as Chalk 10 for the flight was to handle all emergencies, whether it came from the flight or the troops on the ground. He was loaded onto my aircraft, and I flew him to the hospital at Dong Tam. He was bleeding from the mouth and nose, and the only noises he could make were gurgles. About 20 minutes later, we landed at the hospital, and he was dead. Talking to the doctor by the helipad, we figured out that his throat had been cut repeatedly from the inside by crushed glass that he drank from the Cokes these kids were selling. Those kids never showed up at Ben Tre again.
Walking the Dog…Tag
I enjoyed the dog tag article in the April issue. The picture of the tag on a boot could have been my boot or that of thousands of other guys. However, the rationale in our unit to do that was not in case our leg was blown off, but in case the dog tag around the neck was missing.
Send letters to: Vietnam Editor, 19300 Promenade Drive, Leesburg, VA 20176; or e-mail: Vietnam@weiderhistorygroup.com