Memories of Pleiku, 18th Surgical Hospital, 1967

Pleiku.  The Highlands.  I was only there about a month or two.  Seemed longer at the time, like a short lifetime.  As it turned out, many lifetimes ended there.  I arrived in Pleiku the last week of October 1967.  I was in Saigon for med. lab training the month before, learning to test for malaria–something they didn’t teach us stateside.

I remember that it was so cool there.  It was up out of the steaming coastal areas where you could definitely breathe better.

The hospital physically looked like it had been there for many years.  The buildings were semi-permanent wooden structures that gave it an air of stability.  I can say that because the 18th Surg would go MASH in Nov.-Dec ’67.

I was just getting my bearings, green as heck, 20 years old, learning under a 30 year old Spec. 5 lifer who knew what he was doing.  I didn’t, of course, but I learned the ropes fast–obtaining blood samples from the wounded and then cross-matching units of blood for them.  That is what I did 95% of the time during my tour.  The hundred other lab tests that I was taught to do seemed insignificant, superfluous busy work discarded in the face of bloody ordeals.  That ought to tell you something about how many casualties we took in.  We worked a 12 hour shift, 7 days a week, always on call.

Many enlisted men (and a Major) turned to marijuana to ease the tension of the brutal toll taken on our nerves.  Yes, I was weak and succumbed to the temptation to forget everything chemically.  Just getting back home to the “world” was all that mattered at the time, in one piece, physically and mentally.  I am not proud of this fact, but God was good to me and allowed me to learn from my mistakes.  I am pleased now with the work we all did in saving lives.  That part makes me feel good.

I remember one night in Pleiku, I was walking back to our barracks at night, very stoned.  A big ruckus came blowing out the door and onto the front lawn.  I peaked in and saw a boot flying in slow motion through the air.  Excited yells echoed off the walls.  “I hit him!  There he is!  He’s still alive!  Let me have him!”  It turned out to be a rat that McDonald, the company clerk, had stunned.

He then picked it up, took it outside, and commenced to douse it with lighter fluid.  Soon the Zippo was out and a writhing animal bond-fire was ignited.  Everyone was laughing maniacally.  I guess the tension was being relieved like when some of us laugh during a horror movie.  It was pretty crazy.

Funny how you remember stupid things like that.  The mind has a way of forgetting the truly traumatic incidences in our lives.  God allows us to forget those times when we either did dark things or had them done to us.  I suppose it allows us to continue on, to walk on toward the sunshine.

I, of course, have forgotten the faces of suffering I saw everyday–the dying young men at the 18th Surgical Hospital during my year there in 1967-1968.  Hundreds, thousands were treated.  If I could remember them now, I would be so heartbroken all the time that I wouldn’t be much good for anything else.

I remember that I was welcomed by my brothers-in-arms because I was a professional barber before I was drafted.  Oakland, Calif. Barber College.  It was the family business; Dad was a barber, Uncle Dale and others…They told me that the Vietnamese barber that had been cutting their hair at the hospital had been captured and was a Vietcong.  He was holding scissors and razors against the heads of our men by day and raining down mortars on them by night.  So I was a big hit as I set up shop in our barracks during my free time.  The C. O., other officers, and many enlisted men were my clients.  I actually made more money cutting hair than I made in army salary.

Being in Pleiku was a pretty nice gig, except for the bloodshed.  We had a nice club and had bands come in–GI dudes who were very good rock musicians, working for the USO special services, making their rounds to the different NCO clubs.  I remember a trio–elec. guitar/lead vocals, bass, drums–that were dynamite. In fact they played “Mr. Dynamite” James Brown songs, cape and all, plus the wicked Pickett, Otis, Temptations, a big hit for us.

It was there in Pleiku that I got my nickname that stuck with me the whole year–“The Groove.”  It was a difficult name to live up to, but I tried very hard.  A short-timer named Tenant saw me on my cot playing the Martin guitar that I hauled all the way from home.  He comes over and says very loud and sarcastically, “Hey, everybody, look at this guy.  That’s just groovy, man.  He is so groovy.”  And it stuck.

My one to two months at Pleiku working at 18th Surg proved to be the best months during my tour.  We would move the hospital to Lai Khe/Long Bien in Nov. 1967, be over-run during the Tet Offensive and have to move again, finally winding up 15 miles from the DMZ in Quang Tri, where the salty red stuff flowed more abundantly, and a thousand personal insanities cried out for Mom, apple pie, and a good bed.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

{If you were in 18th Surg during 1967-68, at Pleiku, Lai Khe, or Quang Tri, please make a comment.  I would love to hear from you.  I’m trying to get in touch with those who were there with me.  I would love to have some photos; I don’t have a one of my time there.  Thank you.  KWH}


Filed under Vietnam Stories

157 responses to “Memories of Pleiku, 18th Surgical Hospital, 1967

  1. Richard Heinzeroth

    I was at the 18th surg when it was being built. I was the pharmacist from Aug. 1966 to Apr 1967. Don’t know if the playboy playmates pictures were still on the walls of the club, but I was the one who wrote to the playboy club in Chicago to have them sent over. Our carpenter (who built almost everything there) made all of the frames in his spare time.
    Anyway, nice to hear from someone that had the same experiences as I had. Noone here has a clue what it was like.

    Bye for now;

    • Robert A. Lee

      Hey Rich and Hello Jerry. I was a lab tech that made the journey from Fort Gordon GA To Pleiku. Rich are you the pharmacist that played cribbage with Stan Vacek? I rotated back to the world in May 67

      • Phillip Leonard

        Robert I remember you from the 18th Surg. I was your replacement. I arrived in March 1967. You ran a good lab and I tried to maintain your high standards. I remember you as a great guy, cheerful and enthusiastic. I really hoped I would have seen you at one of the reunions of the 18th. What state do you live in? I’m in Utah. Phil Leonard

      • Eugene J. Chap, M.D.

        Hi, Bob. Bob Modrow sent me the site. And I noticed your name. I lost track of you after leaving the Army, but I do recall that you were married in 1968 or 1979 and while I was beginning practice in D.C., I did sent a small gift to you and your bride. I hope you and your family did and are doing well. My email is: Eugene J. Chap (Gene)

    • Robert Modrow

      Hi Richard,

      Hope this finds you healthy and happy.

      Do you recall the name of the person who took over as pharmacist when you rotated out in April,1967 ?

      (I served at the 18th as Registrar/Aeromedical Evacuation officer from
      Feb. to Oct. 1967).


  2. wayneman5

    Thank you, Rich, for sharing a memory with us. I got to Pleiku the end of October, 1967. So I just missed you. Great to hear from you. Hope you drop by again. Wayneman

    • Phil Leonard

      As I remember you were from the L.A. area. I remember you playing your guitar. I did what I could to familiarize you with the lab tests we needed to perform most often. It is good to hear from you again.
      the “30 year old lifer” Actually I was 27.

      • Thanks, Phil, so much for your recent comment. I have told the story so many times throughout the years about how lighthearted I was as a 20 year old, and how you straightened me out, even to the tune of grabbing me by the scruff of the neck and shaking some of that b.s. out of me. Thank you for caring enough to have done that. “All right, you little s. o. b. [or some other expletive like that],” you said to me. “I’m leaving in a couple of weeks, and you are going to be the one to have to do all this stuff in the lab. There may not be someone to replace me for 6 months, you never know, so you better buckle down and learn these tests!”

        Well, sure enough, your words proved prophetic. I became the man in charge (beginning as an E-3) for the next 8 months–almost my whole tour. They finally sent an E-6 SSG to be in charge for my last month or so, but he would only work the nightshift. So I basically did the same thing as I had since the day you left.

        Anyway, thanks for helping me. I was never reprimanded for anything, so I guess they thought I did a pretty good job. Take care and all the best in your retirement. Did you stay in the army till retirement? Just wondering. Take care and God bless. If you have any photos you could share, would you? Wayne Hancock (Groovy) {It was Tenant that gave me that nickname after he heard me playing the guitar in Oct. 67 when I joined you guys.}

  3. Tom Zero

    If interested I have some pics of the old 18th Surg Hosp from the Easter Offensive of Mar ’72. MACV Team 155 was stationed there and most of the hospital was destroyed by arty and demolition to prevent use of equipment.

    • Chuck Helms

      Would like for you to email me the pictures. I was there at tropo hill part of 71 and until april of 72. Any pics you have would be appreciated…

  4. wayneman5

    Tom, I would love to see those pics. Thanks so much for dropping by. Wayneman

  5. Jim

    I am not sure when my uncle was there, but he was with the 18th surgical hospital, and would have been over 30 when he was there. I don’t suppose you knew him. His last name was Holler. I think he was called a chief ward master, or something like that. It would be great to hear from somebody he served with. Thanks.

    • Hey, Jim. Sorry, but I do not recall the name of your uncle. But if he was there from Oct. ’67 to Sept. ’68 I could very well have cut his hair. I was a professional barber before my army stint, and I cut hair all the time making more money doing that than my army pay. Do you recall the dates? Wayneman (I went by the nickname “Groovy” in Nam.)

  6. Jim

    I will check with my cousin, to find out. He took some home movies while he was there, and I had them edited, and put to music a couple of years ago. I will get back with you on that. One more thing, I forgot my manners. Thank you very much for your service. You guys didn’t get the heroes welcome you deserved. About all I know of his service there, is that he got one purple heart, and two bronze stars while there, and was with the 18th surgical hospital (also mentioned in his obit was a moble hospital?), and Vietnam was his second war. He was also a Navy Corpsman in Korea, and then later entered the Army (he got a purple heart in Korea also). I was hoping I could get lucky and find somebody he served with. He died a few years ago, and was buried in his Army uniform.

    • Jim, thank you for touching base again. Please share more with me about your uncle. Do you have a picture of him while at 18th Surgical hospital? Wayneman

  7. Jim


    Thanks again for your time. I just found out from my cousin that he arrived just about a month after you left. I don’t have a picture of him while he was there, only the home movies. Thanks again for your service, and have a great day.

  8. Wayne

    I was a operating tech at 18th surg Quang Tri
    may 70 to april 71. Have lots of pix.

    • Hi, Wayne. I would love to see some sometime. My email is Do you know if you guys were in the same location as when we were there in Quang Tri in 1968? I remember we had an old French bunker across the road that we used to frequent at night for unauthorized mind-altering activities…Wayneman

  9. Harry Beam

    Welcome home Vietnam Vet. I was with 633 SOW 6th SOS at Pleiku Air Force Base was not in the Army but so many Army camps surrounded us. Made many trips up your way to visit some. 71st EVAC was just up the hill from us I could see hopspital and helo pad from our barricks. Check out pictures from our web site You might reconize some things.
    Harry Beam former Pleiku Vet

  10. Lou Miller

    I just discovered this page and would welcome any pictures from your collection. I was at ‘the surge’ from August 70-71 (one of the last to leave I believe).


  11. Tom Lassiter

    I was at
    pleiku when the hospital was built, Iwas in the Air Force. We made the culverts and some vats to wash in . We made these out of containers that rockets came in

  12. Lynn P. Brown

    I was in Pleiku at the USAStratcom LL Bn North
    the 1st Signal Brigade. The large antennas on the hill close to the 71st Evac hospital. That was us. Also around their was the Air Force strip and chow hall near our hill. We ate sometimes at the Air Force Chow hall not far from us. thanks for your website

  13. Lynn P. Brown

    I was in Pleiku 1966 to 1967

  14. AJ

    I am trying to find some info for a Veteran who was stationed at Pleiku in 67-68..he was a Medic… will you contact me?

    • Wolfgang schrauth

      Served at the 18th mash 3/67 to3/68.

      • Nice to hear from you. What was your job?

      • Wolfgang schrauth

        Ron I served as a medic in the er. Made the move from pleiku to Lai Khe in 12 /67. Due to ptsd and depression treatment impaired my memory past and present . Thanks for your reply.if there is another reunion please let me know. I’d like to recall faces since the names are lost to me. Wolf

      • Roy Headley

        Roy Headley here looking for dr. John Hughes. Was in lai khe in Feb.68 with the Robbin Hoods 408th. Took a hit in the mess hall. Can if anyone can help it would be great.

  15. Richard Kay

    Hi Wayne, I arrived at 18th Surg in July 1968. I was a power plant spec and Col Fishback was hosp. commander. I have been trying to remember names of those who were there. I may have some pictures that I would share but I haven’t looked at them. I guess you must have cut my hair but there is a lot that I don’t remember. Now I am trying to remember and I am happy to have found this site. I look forward to more contacts with other vets.

    • Hi, Richard. So good to hear from you. You came into the 18th about two months before I deros’ed out of Quang Tri. I remember only one power plant spec, not by name, but by looks. Dark hair, 5-8, heavy set…That’s probably not you. It is great to hear from you. There are so many guys that I don’t remember their names. The faces I can still sort of see. But that was over 40 years ago. Wow. I would love to have some photos of the guys and the hospital. I do not have a one. Never wanted to remember the things we were doing there, although it was a noble effort. Please say in touch. You can email me at if you desire. Thank you for your comment. And I may have cut your hair. I remember cutting the Japanese-American Lt. Col. commander, a major, and many, many enlisted men. Hope to hear from you soon. Wayne

      • Thank you, Richard, very much. We all did not think we were doing very much there in Vietnam, but we were a part of history, whether we wanted to be or not. You are blessed that you have those slides. I do not have one photo of me or anybody or anything. Nothing. These slides may be the key for both of us to remember more things. Have fun with the project; you will be uncovering some history, from a time that will be soon forgotten unless we unlock it from the crypts of our minds. [Richard, with your permission, I would like to share your email to me and my reply on my website. You never know. Somebody may read it who recognizes the names, etc.].

        Thanks, Wayne “Groovy” Hancock

        From: richard kay
        Subject: Thank you
        Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2010 15:35:08 -0500

        Wayne, I, like you, did not attempt to remember much about VietNam. Also, as you know, not much was talked about when we got home. Yes, I was probably that guy you remember. 40 years ago I had dark hair, glasses, 5′ 9″ and heavy set. I was the first relief to arrive and then Paul Karcher and John Carrier and Big John Reints arrived but I don’t remember how long they arrived after me. I think the person I relieved was Spec. Chisom and the funny part was I arrived in country at some headqurters and some guys from the 18th were there with an ambulance, they really didn’t know where I was supposed to be assigned, and the guys from the 18th told whoever that I was needed at the 18th because they wouldn’t have a power plant operator for the hospital.
        I have been trying to remember the name of the “procurement specialist” Ace, a Mexican from Modesto, CA. When we needed something of if someone said they would like something, Ace would go out at night and many times came back with what was needed. I have slides that I have not looked at for 40 years, and now I have a reason to see what I have and I will set them up so I can email them to you. This won’t happen overnight but I will get working on it. I am semi-retired but I keep pretty busy since I snowplow when we have snow and I am chairman of trustees for Traverse Bay United Methodist Church.
        I will talk to you later.

    • Hello viet vets, my name is Frank Rei, I served with the 18th must from 11/67 thru 11/68, as an o/r tech (91d20). Would love to hear and talk with any vets. Especially interested in any pix. my e-mail is I am retired and enjoying life in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Thank you all for your service, may you and your families enjoy peace, you have earnedthat!

      • Hey, Frank. Thanks for commenting. I was a lab tech for the 18th Surg from 9/67 thru 9/68. I am sorry, but I do not have any pictures. We sent hundreds to you from the e r. Incredible times. Do you have any pictures? What are some of your memories that stand out?

    • DuWayne Balk

      I was a surgical tech in the 18th Surg from about July 68 to Jan 69. I came from the 95th in Da Nang. soon after I was there we relocated to Dung Ha.

      • I derosed Sept. 26, 1968, so we were there together a couple of months. I was the labtech. My nickname was “Groovy.” I was a professional barber before being drafted, so I cut many people’s hair, from the LTC, the Majors, on down to the enlisted men. Do you remember the story of the new ambulance drivers who stole a bottle of nitrous oxide and took it over across the road, dishing out tokes like crazy, people lined up waiting their turn on the bottle. Crazy scene…kwh

  16. John Truitt

    Wayne,i was with 1st Med Co {amb} .Our camp was right behind you. Did a lot of work with 18th & 71st evac until i was transferred to Ankhe & Quinhon. I was there from Oct66 to Nov 67

    • John, we just missed each other. I got there to Pleiku the last of Oct. 1967, and in Nov. we went to An Khe to support the Big Red One for a couple of months until TET. Then it was up to Quang Tri.

    • tommy edwards

      This is Tommy Edwards. I saw your name here and wanted to reply. How are you doing? I served with you in Nam and with Fred Gazel as an ambulance medic. The best I can remember you and frank young were a team member. Love to hear from you.

    • Larry Galminas

      I was also with !st Med from Nov 1967 to Dec 1968 , do you remember any names like Jim Bice- Don Dominy etc

      • John Earl

        Larry you may be guy I’ve been looking for ( someone who arrived in Pleiku Nov 67 and and was familiar with the 71st evac) because i had orders for there but they were changed so I could be with my wife for our third child.
        Do you recall a USAF nurse who arrived about the same time as you.
        I have wondered about that foe 50yrs.

  17. Valerie

    My Father-in-Law (deceased in Aug 2008) was a Surgeon there – do you recall him? Fred Julian Freeman. He never spoke of his time there and I can understand why. Thank you

    • Valerie, sorry to hear of his passing. No, I do not recall the name. Us enlisted men did not get to know the officers very well. Do you know if he went with the hospital to An Khe and on up to Quang Tri during Tet, 1968?

      • Valerie

        Yes, that sounds like something he said the one time I asked him about his time there. He just would not speak of it.

  18. Ron Thompson

    reading your page and enjoyed it.

    I was an anesthesia provider, Captain, at the !\18th Surg(MA) Oct 66 to end of May 67. I was transfered from the 1st Cav.
    Being one of the odd ones that had arrived back home with out problems. My time with the 18th was filled with many fond memories, i grew there as a man and professionally. For me i was at the right place at the right time.
    thanks for your writtings.

    • Thanks, Ron, for your comment. Do you happen to have any photos of the 18th there in Pleiku–of the buildings, layout, etc. that you would scan and share? You left about 5 months before I got there, but the hospital would have looked the same. Thanks again. Wayneman

    • Ron!!!!!!!! Ron Hatch here. Remember you at the 18th. How’s it going ??
      CRNA with you in ’66.

      • Francis Moriarty

        Only know of one Ron Hatch from Maclean Hospital, Ma
        Francis Moriarty class of 1963. CRNA 18TH Surg Dec 69 to Dec 70 Quang Tri

  19. RB King

    I was a medic in Pleiku field hospital in 1966 with the 25th infantry. Would love to hear from anyone.

  20. Richard Alan Freed

    Hi, I would like to chat with anyone who was stationed at Tropo Hill, Pleiku in 1968. I was one of the microwave radio operaters who worked in the vans that held all of the electronic communications equipment. My unit was the Long Lines detachment. Thanks, Alan Freed

    • Phil Hesemann

      Hi Alan
      I worked in those trailers too. REL 2600 and Lankert 76C microwawe and tropospheric scatter long line communications 26V20. I have only talked to one other from Signal Hill. I was there from July 1969 until July 1970. Phil Hesemann

      • Alan Freed

        Phil, I forgot all about this website but if your still viewing this site, I would like to know if you have any photos to share. I left in Dec 68. I have scanned what photos I have. Thanks, Alan

    • 1LT James N. Robbins

      Alan, the post I am responding to is more than 2 years old. I. Hope you are monitoring it. I. too was stationed in Pleiku from July 68 til.July 69 as CO of Detachment C Long Lines Signal Battalion North. I have

      been searching a long time for someone who
      was also there during that time. I have made contact with only one person, Spec 4 Dennis Laudick from Lima, Ohio. The only other name I remember was my 1st Sergeant Stall. I think SFC Robinson was there also. I would very much like to talk with you about your experience there. But even more so about your life after Vietnam. Thanks for posting. Hope to a response. Jim Robbins

      • Larry wall

        howdy Lt I was in your unit from July 68 till July 69 at some point Sgt stalls son joined the marines he almost had stroke my email sp4 Larry wall LL det pleiku

      • tom cranr

        Tom Crane I was at LLBn North in Pleiku during 1966 and 67 Commanding officer was a Major La Greer

      • Alan Freed

        Jim, came across this site today, forgot that I had posted on it. Send a response to my home email which is I would like to share some photos with anyone who was there in 68.

      • Alan, I was in 18th Surg. from Sept. 67 to Sept. 68. I would love to receive the photos you mentioned. My email address: I was the labtech crossmatching blood 98% of the time; I also cut many people’s hair, being a professional barber before being drafted. Thanks so much. Wayne Hancock

  21. Ron Lake

    My tour was over in a couple days when I had a kidney stone incident. The Air Force dispensary people took me to the Army MASH. No one told my unit, so I was missing for several days. I had a rough couple days. When they found me, my First Sergeant said he had searched every morgue and jail in II Corps. I will always remember those who cared for me.

    • Thanks, Ron, for your comment. It is nice to hear these kind of things about some of the people we helped along the way. Kind of makes me feel good about that year I spent in Nam that nearly drove me literally insane. Thanks again. Wayne

  22. Jerry W. Martin

    I have just published a book “Soldiers Saving Soldiers,
    A History of the 18th Surgical Hospital (MA). I was in Pleiku when the hospital
    first started. The book is about the 18th and also has many many pictures of Pleiku
    the 18th and wounds, etc along with remembrances from some of the doctors and
    nurses. If interested, go to It is near the end of either new releases
    or upcoming books. Jerry W. Martin, M.D.

    • Thanks, Dr. Martin, for the tip. I was a medical labtech from Oct. 1967 through Sept. 1968. In fact, I was the only labtech from Lai Khe on to Quang Tri, deros-ing last part of Sept. ’68 there. I am interested in the book and will look into it. Thanks again. Wayne Hancock (“Groovy” was my nickname)…

    • Raymond Messner

      I am Raymond Messner Stationed with the 18th Surg Mar 67 – Mar 68 I was a Medic. Received you book the other day and wanted to say thanks. I would like to know when the next reunion may be. Address is 215 S Hampton St Lock Haven Pa 17745. or

    • Dr. Martin,
      I have been trying to contact anyone who may remember my husband, William Hubbard, who was with the Fourth Infantry Division, with base camp at Dragon Mountain. On November 5, 1966, he was mortally wounded during an ambush by NVA while on Operation Paul Revere IV, near Plei Djereng, near the Cambodian Border. He had wounds in abdomen, left thigh, left wrist, upper right arm, and smaller wounds of the buttocks. A lot of surgeries were performed during several months in hospitals—including 18th Surgical, 67th Evacuation, Clark Air Base, Okinawa, then on to US in April, 1967. I would love to hear from anyone who may recall this incident and my husband. Have all of his med records except those from 18th Surgical.

      Thank you,

    • Jerry!!!!!!!!!!!!! Voice from the past!!! Ron Hatch here!!!! Kentucky Colonel that you got for us. How are you?? Was one of the Anesthetists serving with you ,Jenkins, Hoskin Ingebrecht. Was shipped out from QuiNhon with GI bleed to Japan. Fond memories of you guys

    • Roy Headley

      Roy Headley here were you in lai khe in 68? If so did you know a dr. John Hughes? I would like to find him and thank him for putting me back together. Or if you think of someone who can help me it would be great and thanks for the help you did for all of use.

    • My name is William Meyer and I was medic at the 18th surg hosp from June 66 to June 67.I got your book and wanted you too know it is very interesting and brings back memories. Thanks

  23. Jerry W. Martin

    Both my husband and I thought you might have been at one of the reunions. Were you?

  24. Tom Zero

    No, I wasn’t. I was not assigned to the 18th Surg Hosp. My Advisory Team, MACV Team 155, occupied the vacant compound in Oct or Nov ’71. We were there until the Easter Offensive in March, ’72. Almost the entire compound was destroyed either by enemy arty or US Advisors not wanting anything of value to fall into the NVA’s hands.

  25. Phil Hesemann

    It is good to hear from others who remember the same memories. Phil Hesemann

  26. Paul Karcher

    I went over to Nam on July 26, 1968, I was a Power Plant Spec. 5, I knew Dick Kays and I remerber “Ace” but I don’t know his real name. I knew John Carrier and Big John. We spent a lot of
    time on top of the bunker at night time. I too din’t talk about all the things I seen for a long time.
    I went to Wic. to vist Big Jone seveal years after I got home. Dick Kays was there when I got to Nam.
    I left on July 26, 1969. I was 20 years old when I got home and now that seems like a life time ago

    • Thanks, Paul, for commenting. I was Groovy, the lab tech in one of the expandables. Thank you for keeping our air con. on. I left two months after you goth there. I was the unit’s unofficial barber; I was a barber in Calif. before being drafted. Did I ever cut your hair? Thanks again for writing. “Groove” Wayne Hancock

  27. John Venn

    I was a resident of the Lai Kha Hospital in January of 1967 for a week. I had a badly infected foot that required IV antibiotics for a week (and a later operation to remove stuff from my foot). Received great care at the hospital. BTW, which Unit ran the hospital in January of 1967? Those are the only medical records I have not been able to obtain (I obtained the records of my surgery). Also, I was with A Co. 2nd/2nd.

  28. thomas crane

    I was at Tropo Hill from Oct 1966 — Aug 1967 I remember the strikes on the airbase and camp holloway and also a few perilous times on the road to Quio Non

  29. Wolfgang Schrauth

    Wolfgang Schrauth 7/5/12 Served at the 18th 3/67 to 3/68 as a medic in the ER. I have some pictures that I could share with you. I have a loss of memory regarding names and some experiences.

  30. Stan Kirkendall

    I spent a few days at 18Th Surgical Hospital in Nov.66 & again in Dec. 67. Do you have any idea how I would fine records of my visits?

    • Stan, I am sorry, but I do not know how to find records of your visit to 18th Surg Hospital. All I would do is ask more people who were affiliated with the hospital…kwh

      • Stan Kirkendall

        Do you recall a Capt. Jenkins or Lt Lazorchak?

      • No, Stan, I don’t remember them. I don’t remember too many officers. I remember the LTC MD CO who was a Japanese American. And two Majors–chief nurses both. One looked like Barry Goldwater with a crew cut, and the other Major was named Don–I want to say Fladalin–something like that. He owned a “head shop” in San Francisco and was retiring when he got home. I cut their hair along with countless others…Stan, what did you do at the hospital? KWH

      • Jerry W. Martin

        Stan: I have a book that I wrote titled “Soldiers Saving Soldiers” and
        Capt. Jenkins and Lt. lacorchak are both pictured in the book. I was a
        physician with the 18th along with Dr. Jenkins. Jerry Martin, M.D.

      • Stan Kirkendall

        Dr. Martin, were you at 18 Surgical in Nov of 1967? I was treated their for injuries I received whem a tank hit me as I was sleeping. Happened at a firebase as the tank was leaving it’s night guard position. Thanks Stan

  31. Looking around the web for the possibility of finding some medical records, and came across your site, very interesting. I was a Cobra Helicopter Pilot stationed at Camp Holloway with the 7/17 Air Cav. In October, 1971 we were flying a mission north of Kontum, and we took a hit in the turret and it exploded beneath my seat causing damage to both of my legs. Was Medivaced to the hospital at the Pleiku Air base and had the best treatment, too good, the guys in my unit thought I had the “Million Dollar” wound, not so, the staff at the Hospital was terrific and had me fixed up and returned to my unit and was back flying within a week. Thanks to all of you who served in the medical field, for both your service to your country and for your dedication in treating countless numbers of combat injuries.

    Welcome Home!
    CW-2 Richard M. Barron, “Undertaker-22” Sep. 71- Aug. 72

    • Thank you, Richard, for sharing this and for your service. We on the ground many times longed to be up there with you in the air, as dangerous as it was for you all. I marvel at the ease of getting around Vietnam back then. Just show up, orders or not, and take a hop on a Huey you are bold enough to ask for. Incredible time, burnt into our collective and personal memories. I sometime write about it when moved, for it is cathartic to share. Thanks again.

  32. Stan Kirkendall

    Kenneth, I Was at the Hospital for a injury I received on Nov. 25th 1966. I have been able to locate some of my records of that visit, but they do not cover all of my injuries. Capt. Jenkins & Lt Lazorchak singed the records. I had a Tank come into my sleeping area on the 25 of Nov. It hit my right arm shoulder & back..It also broke my coller bone. I have had back problems all these years, last year found out that I have an inpenged spine. Short, becuse of no mention of back in my records so the VA says it did’t happen. I am just trying to trace down anything I can. Also still looking for the medic that treated me in the field, A Riley. I just thought even after all these years a Dr. would remember treating someone that had been ran over by a m-48 tank, & survived. Trying to find anyone that may have treated me. Thanks Stan

    • Stan, I wish you success in finding out more information about your injury. God bless you and keep you. kwh

      • Stan Kirkendall 1/22 4Th ID 66/67

        Thanks Kenneth, Just made contact with a fellow vet from my squad, he remembers what happened, Things are looking better, thanks again, & God bless you.

    • Stan…I know how you feel, about Army records! My name is Frank Rei, I served as an operating room tech (91d20) with the 18th surgical hospital in Vietnam from 11/67 thru 11/68. When I finally tried to get medical help from the V.A. office in Providence, R. I., they told me they had “NO” military records of me in Nam!! I personally handed instruments to doctors in Vietnam on over 400 operations that I signed logs on!!! After about 6 months of waiting, they finally admitted my service, but by then, I REFUSED IT!!!!

  33. jim

    Stan Kirkendall could not have been treated at the 18th MASH in Nov of ’67. At that time the 18th was at Long Binh re-organizing into an all male MUST unit. It was not operational until 1 Jan ’68 when it was deployed to Lai Khe. I, like a number of other nurses, was assigned to that unit (Oct ’67) after it moved from Pleiku. I have lots of historical documents (personnel data, action reports, etc). on the unit from that period (Oct ’67 to Aug ’68)..In March ’68 the unit was deployed to Quang Tri province to give medical support for the first assault on the A Shau Valley and the liberation of Khe Sanh.

    • Hey, James Odom. I too was assigned to the 18th in Oct ’67 and was in it all the way unto 9-27-68. I was the E-4 20 year old who reluctantly was in charge of the med lab, waiting for an E-6 to take charge; well, he did come–in Aug. 1968 there in Quang Tri. As the Dead said, What a long strange trip it has been…kwh

    • Stan Kirkendall

      Jim, you are correct I was not treated in Nov. 67. I was treated in Nov.25Th 66, than again in two weeks for malaria,& sent to Cam Ranh Bay. I have been able to get some of my records from from the 18th Surgical, with the help of my state Senator. Not much there, looks like very poor record keeping by the 18th.I see in an earlier posts I did post Dec. 67,and another one Nov 67, sorry they are incorrect. By that date I was back in the states and out of the service. Sorry about the wrong dates. Stan

  34. jim

    I remember. You had a barber shop in the lab (expandable). You used to cut my hair.

    • Hey, James Odom. Wow. I remember I cut a lot of hair there. Thanks for sharing with me. Means a lot to me. The old brain cells have blocked out a lot of things that happened to me. I remember that I had my entire $220 paycheck sent home and lived on the MPC you all gave me for cutting your hair. Were you a Capt. or LT? You mentioned that you were a nurse. Do you happen to have any photos of the 18th during our time there, that you could send me? Thanks for sharing…We’ll always have TET…kwh

  35. Robert Spino

    Shot up in Cambodia; 101st airborne 1970 Lucky enough to have surgery there. Des anybody remember Linda Van Decantor as she helped out of the chopper, greeting me with a wheelchair. I wanted to meet her at the Wall as never been there and did know she went every year. I went into severe depression and despondence as found out she had passed away form agent orange. Have her book and compiled a binder of her doings. She probably saved my life and will forever be embedded with gratefulness. Hope to meet her upstair’s She worked endlessness to the day she died with many soldier’s and causes

  36. jim

    Have lots of pictures, mainly slides-remember them. Will be glad to share after I convert to pictures. Also have lots of 8mm film from Quang Tri.

    • Jim, thank you so much for sharing the pictures with me of our tour in Nam. It means a lot to me, for I did not take one photo my whole year there. Wayneman

    • Leonard Phillip

      How do I order the book?

      Phillip Leonard

      • Jerry W. Martin

        you may order the book from me Jerry W. Martin, M.D., 2162 Nashville Rd., Bowling Green, Ky. 42101. I will sign it for you. Also the books are 39,95 plus about 3.00 postage. Barnes & Noble have had them. The title is Soldier Saving Soldiers by Jerry W. Martin, M.D. Also the publisher is
        Acclaim Press and they will mail one.

  37. Charles Mitchell Jordan

    I was assigned as an operating room technician (surgical assistant) to the 18th Surgical Hospital as it was being built up to strength at Fort Gordon Georgia. We delivered our hospital gear to Savannah, GA on 2 1/2 ton trucks, then flew to Fort Lewis, Washington and boarded troop carrier. The trip took about 14 days. Our orders were for Da Nang but were changed when we were almost there to Pleiku, Vietnam. We landed in Qui Nohn then went to Pleiku. We put down the cement pads for the quanset huts and all of the walkways etc. This took about 2 months. We slept in CPS Medium tens for about six months, then there were two barracks built. I believe we went into operation about August 1966. From then until I left the last of April, we had about 1900 casualties through our operating rooms. I worked in Central Materials putting up surgical packs and distributing supplies to the Admitting room and hospital wards. We had 5 Operating Tables in the Surgery Areas. I also worked in operating room either as a scrub technician helping surgeons or as the circulating technician setting up the surgical supplies and replenishing them during surgery. I was a Specialist 4 during most of my time in Vietnam, but was promoted to Spec 5 just before my tour was up. As I recall, there were about 18 or so Doctors, and a dozen or so nurses there. I remember our immediate supervisor was a lady Captain Hamilton. Some of the enlisted group on the CMS/Surgery team included Al Balukas from Brooklyn, Lonnie Sorrels from Georgia, Elkourie from Arkansas, ? Nickelwitz from Chicago and others whose names I have forgotten. During slow times, routine cases were treated at hospital. During battles in the field, Chinook helicopters brought as many as 150 casualties to hospital. They were assessed in admitting area and some were sent to other locations. The remaining casualties were treated at the 18th Surgical Mash Hospital. This facility was still going strong when I left in April 1966, but as I have found out was relocated in December 1966. This was quite an experience for a 24 year old and 43 years later, I still have some vivid and good memories of my time with the 18th Surgical Hospital.

    • Charles, thank you so much for sharing some of your experiences at the 18th Surg. I was a lab tech beginning in Oct. 1967, just a few months after you left. I was impressed with all of your efforts in setting up the hospital in Pleiku. I loved it there, but, as fate would have it, two months after I got there, we went MASH, or MUST and went on to Lai Khe and Quang Tri–not good places in more ways than one. Thanks again. And share anytime with our readers any story that is laid on your heart. It is good for us all to share. Wayneman

  38. Charles Mitchell Jordan

    Correction: The dates in Vietnam were July 1966 to April 23rd 1967.

  39. Russell Smith Evans, Jr

    Russell S Evans Jr (1LT) Med evaced from Dak Seang Special Forces Camp A-245 on July 1 1967. 4AK-47 bullet wounds. Many thanks to the surgeons and medical staff for saving my life.

  40. Robert Modrow

    All …everyone…who served or were patients at the 18th between May,1966 and July,1967 are warmly invited to attend the 50 year reunion in San Antonio April,2016. For further information forward your e-mail address to:

  41. John Earl

    In Oct.1967 I was a USAF 2nd Lt. nurse with eleven months of service stationed at Carswell AFB, I was married and had two sons age 2 and 1 year old and expecting our third around the 8th of Nov. I was approached by a nurse supervisor and told that she was told I would be getting orders soon, for the 71st evac hosp in Pleiku. I informed my wife and as crazy as it may sound although we would be apart the extra $120 a month was very needed. About a week later i was visiting the ER during the night shift and talking to the staff and one of them asked what my wife was going to do while I was deployed. I told him she chose to stay at Carswell instead of returning to Chicago. She liked her doctor and the military lifestyle. The MOD said to me “your wife is having a baby just before you leave?” Yes I said, not much I can do about it. Two days later i was called to the Hospital Commanders office and he told me my orders were on hold and iIwas to wait further orders after my wife got squared away. She delivered on the 8th of Nov. without problems. About two weeks later the same supervisor told me since my two years of service would be complete while in Viet Nam Randolph Field cut new orders keeping me at Carswell.
    For nearly 50 years I have wondered who was sent in my place and recently I came across this site and I read every note. I wish I could have met and served with you all.
    After leaving active duty and entering Anesthesia school in Springfield Illinois I joined the illinois ANG for the two years in school but it wasn’t the same as being part of a SAC base. I am now retired have seven children and twenty-three grandchildren. Married to the same woman for 51 years.
    So, does any one remember a USAF nurse arriving at Pleiku in early November 1967?

  42. John Earl

    I am trying to find any USAF nurses who arrived at the 71st evac hospital unit in early November 1967

    • John Earl, thanks for commenting. I am sorry, but I never knew anyone at the 71st Evac. I spent all my time in the 18th Surgical Hospital. Good luck to you in your search.

    • Michael R. Worthington

      Sir my father Sgt Roy Worthington was there during that time. He has recently passed and we are looking at finding out as much as we can about his life over there. If his name rings a bell could you drop a line. My family would greatly appreciate it.

  43. Raymond Messner

    I would like to have info on the reunion in April.

  44. Jim gordon

    Jim gordon, I was with the 18th must from Sept 67 to Sept 68. Now residing in Kansas

    • Hey, Jim. Thanks for commenting. I derosed Sept. 27, ’68. I came to the 18th in Oct. ’67. What job did you do? We were there pretty much the whole year together, so I know I would at least recognise you. I can’t remember many names. Did I cut your hair? I was a prof. barber before army. I cut from the LTC on down. I went by the nickname “Groovy.” I must say that I did not devise that handle for myself. Do you remember a pharmacist named Larry Golden? He saved my life–really–at the r and r beach at Danang two days before I was to go home. I never really got much of a chance to thank him properly. Just wondering…Thanks for writing. Do you have any pictures you could share? Until next time. Wayne (the Groove) Hancock

      • james gordon

        I was a medic with the unit, helped load, unload, and Medivacs. Have trouble with names so I can’t recall you. I do have some pictures that I can look at and refresh my memory.

      • Thanks, James, for the comment. Could you post some of those photos? Would love to see them.

  45. Wolfgang. Schrauth

    Hi, Wolfgang Schrauth…served in the 18th Mash from 2/67 to 2/68. Worked in the ER in Pleiku and Lai Khe. Would like to go to a reunion. Have trouble remembering names. Will look for pictures and post them when I find them

    • Thanks, Wolfgang. I would love to see your pictures.

    • Roy Headley

      I am Roy Headley I was in lai khe Feb 68 when the 408th Robbin hoods mess hall was hit. Looking for dr. John Hughes. Can any help me. Thanks.

      • Wolfgang schrauth

        Hi Roy, I must have just missed you. I got back from r/r in Australia and when i returned to Lai Khe the unit was packing up to leave for up north. I was given orders to transfer for my last few weeks to Saigon and the shipped home. Since 2000, I have lost a great deal of my memories of nam I dont recall the individual you are looking for maybe someone else on this site will remember. Thanks for your service and God bless you in the coming year. Wolf

      • Roy Headley

        Thanks for getting back to me. Great site. It would be great to thank the doc that put me back together. Once again thanks take care.

      • Wolfgang schrauth

        Glad you made it home but we all left part of ourselves in nam. Wolf

      • Col James Odom (ret) 1st Lt Odom in1967

        Hey, Roy, I know where Jack Hughes is located.

    • Roy Headley

      Say Wolfgang Roy Headley here.I was in lai khe in February.68 it is very possible that you worked on me. I was hit in the Robin Hoods mess hall. I am looking for dr. John H Hughes. If you or anybody can help it would be great take care and thanks.

      • Roy, thank you for visiting and commenting. Sorry, I did not know by name any of the surgeons during my year at 18th Surg. kwh

      • Wolfgang schrauth

        Roy, as i recall , the 18th mash was packing up to move around the time you came in to the ER where i worked. I wish i could remember you. Some of my memory was removed in 200o while in treatment. Im sorry that i cant help you any more than that. Im glad you made it back and i hope you find someone who remembers you. God bless you may you and your family have a merry Christmas and thank you for your sacrifice. Wolf

  46. Richard "Dick" York

    A fifty year Vietnam reunion in San Antonio in 2017 will make me 75 years in in age! Dick York/El Paso,TX

    • Dr. Ronald Hatch

      Hope there is a 2017 reunion. Me 83 now. Talked to Col Cenac and Dr. Jerry Martin last month. Delighted to hear they are doing OK.

      Dr. Ron Hatch CRNA at the 18th 66-67

      • Roy Headley

        Roy Headley looking for a doctor.Ron is there any way I can find Dr. John Hughes. I was hit in Lai khe in 68 but I would like to find him and thank him for putting me back together. Thanks for putting so many of back together.

    • Phillip Leonard

      Dick I remember you being in X-ray. I have a photo of you and Ningen in your X-ray module in Lai Khe. Gary Franklin was also there at that time. Have you benign touch with anyone since then?
      Phil Leonard, Lab. Tech.

      • Roy Headley

        Phillip were you in lai khe in 68? I am Roy Headley I was with the robin hoods when I was hit in the mess hall. I am looking for dr. John Hughes. If you or anyone can help me it would be great.

      • Phillip Leonard

        Roy: Welcome back and thanks for your service. I was in Lai Khe with the 18th MUST until the 27th or 28th of February. I left country on the 29th of Feb. as it was a leap year. The name Dr. Hughes sounds very familiar but I don’t know what happened to him. I too am looking for someone who was in Lai Khe with us. I don’t remember his name but he was TDY with us and maintained the power packs that provided electrical power and air conditioning for the MUST units. I’ve wanted to thank him for staying behind with me the night we were over run. Lt Griffith moved the unit out of the area and I stayed behind as “Rear Guard”. When the fellow who was TDY with us saw what I was up to he said he would stay too. We were lucky as the NVA took a route through the trees on either side of us and we never saw them until the next morning when the 1st Div guys cleared the area so the unit cold return. His staying meant a lot to me.

  47. Gary Franklin

    Hi Dick, This is Gary Franklin. I was an X-ray tech from 67-68 with the 18th Surg. Phil Leonard told me you had posted to this site. I just wanted to say hi and would like to work on getting a reunion together in 2017. Would appreciate any names/addresses you might have of our friends from 50 years ago. Would like to hear from you
    Take care my friend. Gary F.

  48. James gordon

    Oh my memories, Jim Gordon served with 18th mash Nov 67 to Aug68. I think I remember you. One nite during a rocket attack I was hit running to our bunker.I’ll try to find some pictures. After Vietnam went on to graduate from college of course now retired. Pretty good health except hearing loss and still have some PSTD.

  49. Paul Karcher

    Paul Karcher

    Iam looking for Richard Kay. I sent a letter to his last address and it came back. Dick, I have some pictures of you when you were in Nam at the 18th.
    Hosp. I thought maybe you might have moved. Here is my email
    I would sent you the pictures if you want me to.

  50. Justin Edwards

    My dad was there during 66 to 67 4th air Commando Squadron pleiku Sergeant James Edwards 941-565-9351 lots of photos

  51. Ron Hatch

    Good to see Dr. Jerry Martin’s comment. Served with him 66-67 @ the 18th. as one of the anesthetists. Wound up in Japan after being transferred to the 65th Evac in Quin Nhon where I had a GI bleed from a perforated ulcer.
    He sent me a copy of another incredibly researched book on myths and symbols of medicine. Jerry always a terrific guy and a real southern gentleman. Talked to him and Colonel Marc Cenac last year and was thrilled to be able to have a talk with 2 former comrades.
    Think, if I remember. that Jerry’s wife was not well. Hope she is OK
    Dr. Ron Hatch CRNA at the i8th 66-67

    Hope they publish Jerry’s book on the 18th again. Had to really hunt for my copy.

  52. Col James Odom (ret) 1st Lt Odom in1967

    It is now 50 years (1 Jan ’68) since the reopening of the18th MASH as a MUST unit in Lai Khe. For the past two years, I have been working on a history of this unit during this particular period of time. Apparently the nursing care provided by the staff of the 18th during this time was very poor, indeed, substandard. I would love to talk to any one who served with it who might shed some light on this subject. Thank you. J.O.j

  53. Wendy Petit

    This site is just gret. I’ve researched these stuffs a great deal and I realised that is professional,
    fast to comprehend. I congratulate you because of this article that I’ll tell to the people
    around. I ask you to recommend the page where each university student or pupil can calculate results grade
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  54. Katie Corrigan

    My father was there, Thomas Robert Corrigan. He’s never spoke about his time there, it was nice to read your story.
    Thank you for sharing.

    I do have some of his photos from his time there.

  55. mike WEber

    I was with the 1st medical co Ambulance We were adjacent to you and our medics staffed your chopper pad as well as transported wounded from your unit to the Air Force to fly out to long term hospitals
    When the 18 left they took all kinds of things we thought belonged to our unit……..

  56. Anyone who worked in a hospital in Nam should get a big kick out of “Long Daze at Long Binh: The humorous adventures of two Wisconsin draftees trained as combat medics and sent off to set up a field hospital in South Vietnam.” Very funny, excellent reviews, read all about it at

  57. Michael R. Worthington

    My father, USAF Sgt Royce L Worthington was in Pleiku at that time. He has recently passed and we are trying to patchwork his career and accomplishments together with the help of my brother in law CCMSGT Scott Lumpkin USAF (ret.). If Dads name rings a bell could you please let us know. Greatly appreciate it.

  58. Sonny Ashcraft

    I was AF Security Force K-9, I baden friends with a 71st Evac fellow he called himself Pete Quick…….a nick name or his real name, i dont know, I think he was from Peoria Illinois……his sister sent him the album Sgt. Pepper and we listened too it one night in his hooch and it was the first time I ever smoked dope…… was crazy, I almost got written up for being off of PAB all night and they were looking for me………sure would like to find Pete Quick…that would have been between January and May of 1968 !

    Thanks for any info….

    • Thanks for your comment. You had to have been there to understand our experiences. kwh

      • james gordon

        Good to hear from fellow veterans. Yes I entered Pleiku with 18th surg Sept67. Moving on to Laikhe to set up the mobile hospital and some time after tet we moved to QuangTri. I dont remember many names but one night we took incoming 122 mm rocket attack while runing to our bunker I was hit – only superficial to inside knee. I believe Wolgang patched me up, nothing to serious. Only other incident was alot more serious, enroute via Huey with patient and VC shot the Warrant officer in the foot and shot the rotor blades which set the helicopter into a spin. I’m not sure how he found a clearing right above the rubber trees. We went down hard but no fire and further injuries then soon recused. I really need to find out the name of that warrant officer so I can thank him. If anybody knows how I could get this done it would mean a lot to me. God bless and stay safe. Ill try to round up some pictures.

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