Anthology – Peoples’ Plan for Life, Now and Forever …
“Living among the abled as a disabled person has its moments. I know. I know. You want to tell me the ‘feel good’ able/not disabled parable. I’m the guy that used to write ‘Hire the Handicapped, They’re Fun to Watch’ on the VA return letter head. The same people that told me that going and seeing ‘Saving Private Ryan’ might cause distress, PTSD episodes, proceed with caution and then say nothing, not one mention, to not watch Shock and Awe on CNN. Don’t take me wrong. The VA is good to me. But there is problems in la-la land. And this has nothing to do with being a Bomber. I digress.
“After being wounded I spent one week being stabilized in DaNang and then two months in an Army hospital (249th Army General Hospital, Yokohama, Japan). A Marine in an Army hospital being treated by Army Medics, not Navy Corpsman, in an infectious amputee ward (B-211) because the Navy hospital was full. They were considering cutting my arms off to save me from possible blood poisoning is what I had gathered from scuttlebutt. I was already on my death bed, sick, down to 107 pounds from 175. A ghost of who I was. Somebody must have said let’s try saving them because either way he is dead. I was also dealing with a severely infected wound just below my beltline caused by a large piece of shrapnel passing through an empty canteen, low back, that had sinus tracked (spread out upon entering) which you could stick a pop can in. Two years later I was riding in a car with Ken Webb (’67) when the largest piece popped out and stuck to a 4X4 bandage, eventually healing. I still have it. Obviously, death never visited, but I swear I talked to him. Before being run into an operating room the medics would put a pen in my mouth and I would draw an X in the signature space giving them permission to hack and whack as they wished. I remember doing that twice out of five operations in Japan. There is a lesson here. A person on morphine will sign anything and remember very little. The first thing I did after waking up was see if I still had my hands somewhere close to where they should be. This place was a stench ridden hell. Ohhh, the stories. Gangrene. The screaming. My oh my… I will spare you the horror.
“An Army doctor, maybe doctors, given to me by miracle saved my arms. Dr. Amber later would save not just my arms but my life (mentally and physically) in the Bremerton Navy Hospital. A little over one year in the hospitals. Sixteen operations. I will tell you a couple stories about being gassed on an O-R table that will curl… uh, never mind. Not a Bomber story. How do I feel about the servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan? I’m miserable beyond description. I know this all sounds like a ‘poor me’ story, but I live in Huntington Beach and can move tomorrow to any place I want. I do NOT feel sorry for myself, trust me – I’m just on a rant here.
“I am among ‘friends’ here. Most put up with me. Some SPAM me.
Bombers… maybe that is a better descriptor. I’m telling, re- hashing, spouting more of the same, already several times told stories in the previous Sandstorms, but I felt you might like to again hear what is going on with the wounded today. Remember them daily. Help when you can. War does not change. My mother was vacuuming their living room floor when the Marine Corps green automobile pulled up in front of her house. Every time I think of that happening to her… there are no words to describe how I feel to this day doing that to her. But all this has nothing to do with being a Bomber, so I better end this. But not before thanking all you Vets and saying how much I enjoy being amongst you here in the Online Sandstorm.
“And THANK YOU Richard and Maren for reintroducing me to several old friends I have not talked to in many many years. Right from the beginning Barb Gore McCleary (’67) told me about the Alumni Sandstorm. Like many of you I have watched the tide come in and go back out many times, at times during stormy seas. The strong have survived. The weak let their subscription lapse and gave false email addresses to send the Alumni Sandstorm to. I’m off to re-read the first nine months of publications where you can pretty well read all you want to know about the Bombers.
“-Rick Maddy (’67) ~ Huntington Beach, CA – where it is sunny. AND
my sister, Sheila Maddy Kelly (’66) became a grandmother this
morning (18th) for the first time. Jerry (KHS ’64) and
Sheila’s daughter, Carrie (and dad, Aaron), had a girl
[I responded on-line to Mr. Maddy’s post.]
“Dear Mr. Maddy,
I very much appreciate the time you took to express yourself in today’s issue of Sandstorm, and the composure with which you were able to convey your thoughts on your experience as a vet. You make compelling arguments for learning to be more thoughtful. Correspondingly, you make a powerful case for the need in us all to become more aware of the consequences of action entered into with insufficient thought. You deserve very high praise in all those areas that came into view through your piece, and from your superb capacities for dealing effectively and thankfully with your experience in life.
I am grateful to you for your willingness to share those thoughts and experiences and to place them into such civilized terms, even though such experience could have mangled any sense of civilized behavior you imagined you once had.
Class of ’54”
“Bob, please call me Rick. Thanks so much for your post. Very grateful to you for saying what you did. I appreciated it beyond descript.
Have a great Holiday Season.
Now, you’re not going to write back and tell me you are Mr. Johnson are you?
[And mine to him:]
It is Bob. For sure. And thank YOU for the confidence.
You are a writer, whether or not you know it. I hope you will put more of your thoughts into that medium and share them.