Seven retired and practicing physicians and one registered nurse from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital gathered in front of the hospital’s main entrance on Tuesday to discuss their service during the Vietnam War and to remember events that are not always talked about but never easy to forget.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking Santa Clarita news alerts delivered right to your inbox.
Bill Sickler, Doug Gadowski, John Cocco, George Charnock, Allen Karz, Karl Stein, Sum Tran and Art Vatz are from very different backgrounds, different branches of the military, with many different experiences in the war.
Tran is a Vietnamese refugee who emigrated to the United States in 1975. He witnessed much of the fighting and treated victims of the war, but was never a member of the military.
“I know that Vietnam was a bad experience for Americans and Vietnamese, too,” Tran said. “I appreciate Americans (coming) to South Vietnam to fight the North.”
Gadowski, a Bronze Star recipient, described riding a tank that was hit by enemy fire.
“The machine gunner was shot right in front of me,” he said.
Gadowski escaped unhurt.
Charnock will see his legacy as a wartime physician carried on, as his daughter prepares to go to Afghanistan as a pediatrician.
Some, like Stein, never saw Vietnam, but had friends and family who were sent overseas.
Stein was scheduled to go to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, but ended up being stationed in Oklahoma before he was deployed.
His brother-in-law on the other hand, was sent to Cambodia and then to Saigon and was awarded a Silver Star for his service.
The doctors talked about the stress of the war and the classmates and friends whose names are on the wall. Most of them had never been to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
When the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall comes to the Santa Clarita Valley Thursday through Sunday, it may be the first opportunity for these men who have made a career of saving lives, to visit the names of those men whom they left behind in Vietnam.
Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Santa Clarita News