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Leaving For Korea

June 2024
1min read

The experience of reading the February/ March 1997 issue of American Heritage was to me absolutely poignant, in the deepest etymological sense of pungere , “to prick, pierce.” James Brady’s “Leaving for Korea” brought on a rush of memories from the same places but a different war: Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia; Camp Pendleton, California; Okinawa; the Republic of Vietnam; and Bethesda Naval Hospital. Brady’s delightful description of politely chatting with Stanford coeds recalled a bright Saturday afternoon at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Lt. Tom Olds, who was married and lived off base, invited me down to the college golf course, where we made friendly conversation with numerous Virginia belles, as a camouflage for a squirrel-hunting expedition with the .22 rifle in his golf bag.

All that was fun, but history caught up with us all, including our own Doug, who was shot through the heart on a night insertion mission, and me, who ended up in Bethesda Naval Hospital for about eight months.

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