I recived these photos and a letter from a Vietnam veteran, he’s looking for old comrades who can approve that he was wounded at LZ Stud, about 8 miles west from Khe Sahn. Here is the letter:
The incident in which I was wounded happened during my second tour in Viet Nam. I spent my first tour in the Da Nang area at the Ammunition Depot called freedom Hill.
It was the summer of 1968, towards the end of the siege of Khe Sahn that our base began to receive attacks with 140mm rockets. The first few attacks were just a few rockets around mid-day. My guess is that the NVA hoped the sound of operating equipment would prevent us from hearing the rockets launch and give them a better chance of catching more Marines in the open. It worked.
As the siege on Khe Sahn increased so did the number of rockets in the daily assaults on our little base. Some days we would catch as many as 30 of 40 in a 24-hour period. This was about a tenth of what Khe Sahn was getting just about eight miles West of us. It was during one of the daytime attacks that my unlucky number came up to be caught in the open. Rockets landed on three sides of me but the closest was on my left and I was about in the center of the open loading field where the convoy trucks stage for off-loading munitions; fortunately to area was empty that day.
I knew something had happened to my left ear because along with the concussion of the rockets I felt a ripping in my inner ear and I could not hear anything with either ear for hours. The next day I went to see the Doc because the hearing had not returned in my left ear. He had me lay on his table and looked in my ear. When he spoke, I didn’t like the news; he said he couldn’t find my eardrum and looked again. He said it must have been blown loose and it was gone.
This is when he said that he was recommending me for a Purple Heart and sending me “State Side”. I told him I didn’t want the Purple Heart; I had lost several friends three of them within just a few days and they had nothing to show for their lives but Purple Hearts. At that time I felt unworthy of the same medal for the loss of my hearing.
Doc called for a chopper that was carrying wounded from Khe Sahn to make a drop-in and pick me up on it way to the Hospital Ship Repose. I concealed a small shrapnel wound I got on my left hand because I thought it would only complicate things if I made an issue of it.
Once onboard the Repose a Navy Doctor examined my ear under better conditions and “found” my eardrum. He said that it had been severely torn and stretched but it would heal. He packed my ear canal I returned to LZ Stud on the next available chopper.
I was told by a VA employee in Ohio that I would need witnesses of this incident, ideally, the Navy Corpsman, to ever hope of having my Purple Heart awarded. At 66 I could use the medical benefits and trust that those dear friends who fell in battle so many years ago would be understanding of my needs at this time.
Thank you for any help you can offer.
If you can help please send me a message and i’ll give you Ray’s email adress. Thank you!