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Doc Clannin


Doc Clannin denied having a conversation about his time in Vietnam because, "it is just too painful." However, he gave a speech in 1999 for the US Navy Corpsman's 101 Birthday, detailing his experiences while in Vietnam.  Below are excerpts from the speech, and above are photographs of the speech in its entirety. 

"I enlisted in the United States Navy in November 1966 as a Hospital Corpsman... The reason I had requested the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) was because I knew the most difficult medical cases w4ere on the SICU. Although I did not talk about Vietnam, I knew deep down I would be assigned there in the future and wanted to be as prepared as I could be to treat the wounded. 1968 was a difficult time in Vietnam and the beds on 2D were always full from medevacs. We saw and treated almost every kind of trauma and burn injury you can imagine. On the SICU unit I learned about death and dying as I had never known it and I grew up very fast.... I learned you could not save everyone and to do the best you could do with the challenges you faced. In late August of 1968 we received a young Marine on the SICU unit who had been wounded by poisoned stakes from a Malayan Swing. The infection was massive and none of the antibiotics we used were effective. He also had a blood coagulation problem. He was bleeding to death. The Viet Cong were very proficient with their poisons. The young Marine's mother sat at the far end of the ward. She was a small woman in a plain dress and a sweater. She didn't ask for anything she just kept her vigil. When the doctors told her that we could not save her son and that he had died, she bowed her head and quietly left. I made up my mind at that moment that I would do everything in my power to keep mothers from losing their sons in Vietnam. We not only save Marines, we save dreams, families, and futures.... On December 3, 1969, I arrived in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam... and one week later was in the An Hoa Valley, assigned to the 2nd Battalion 7th Marines Charlie Tanks.... While in An Hoa I learned that corpsman were a prime target for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army." 

See the photographs above to continue Clannin's story. 

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