Twilight Times Books logo

 

 

 

When the Williard brothers get together in Vietnam, any resemblance to a real war is purely coincidental. The zany brothers manage to turn the war zone into a party zone until the Tet offensive occurs and changes their whole outlook!

 

Chapter Excerpt

 

To order this book:

Format: ePub, PDF, HTML, Kindle/Mobi
    Payment Method
PayPal -or- credit card -or- Apple iBookstore; BN.com; Kindle; Kobo Books; OmniLit
List Price: $6.50 USD ebook

 
Format: Trade Paperback
    Available at
Amazon;  Bamm.com;  Barnes & Noble;  Borders;  other Bookstores
List Price: $15.50 trade paperback

Reviews

 

Medics Wild

military/men's adventure

 

Darrell Bain

 

Dedication

To all the grunts and aviators who fought in Vietnam and so often got the short end of the stick, and in particular to PFC Carlin M. Campbell Jr., KIA 1967, Lt. William C. Ryan, KIA 1969 and to SFC Gregory Sorenson, who survived two tours and a purple heart but died tragically in an accident a few years later. Let us not forget.

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

The double barbed wire barrier at the entrance to the tanker compound looked a little the worse for wear from the time Williard had left that morning. The local Viet Cong were notoriously inaccurate with their sniping and infrequent mortar attacks, but this time they had scored a hit, blasting a hole in the wire guarding the entrance, although Williard doubted that was what they had aimed at. Usually, they tried for the full tankers as they revved up for the morning convoy, but were more likely to overshoot and blow up some jungle where their own troops were sniping from the other side. The local Viet Cong squads were mostly poorly trained and equipped, not like the North Vietnamese regulars who were beginning to be a real pain in the ass up north where his brother was stationed.

"Anybody get hurt?" Williard asked the gate guards as he pulled to a stop.

"Nah. Just blew up the gate this time, and damned if they didn't accidentally hit our transformer," a trooper answered. "We were all inside when it came in. You got some shrapnel in your bunker, though. I saw your docs digging in the sandbags after it was over, looking for souvenirs. Don't them guys have anything to do except fuck and drink?"

"They'll be busy tomorrow," Williard said. He figured the docs had dug out a few pieces of metal and would send them home to their wives to prove how dangerously they were living.

Williard arrived back at his unit just in time to see the docs heading toward the officer's club tent. He honked the horn and waved them back, then, an arm around the shoulder of each, guided them back into their officers hooch and huddled with them for thirty minutes of so.

"Geez, Sarge, you sure this scheme won't backfire on us?" Captain Harkness asked.

"Just do it like I got it planned, and I doubt the colonel will be back any time soon. In fact, he may never inspect us again."

"I still don't like it," Captain Duarez said. "What if he catches on?" He wondered who had tipped off the sergeant on the impending inspection, not that it mattered now. Harkness was going to go along with Williard's scheme and there was nothing he could do about it without exposing his own complicity at not seeing patients. And, secretly, he had to admire Williard's scheme. The man never seemed to be at a loss where his or the dispensary's welfare was concerned.

"Don't worry about it, Doc. Now if troopers bodies ran on oil, he might suspect something, but since we're biological type beings, he ain't got a prayer."

"I still don't like it."

Williard considered. He didn't particularly like Duarez, but bore him no real ill will even though he suspected it was him who had put Colonel Pinkerton up to his inspection. It was just another problem to solve in order to keep his own little empire going. What if Duarez were to have a sudden attack of conscience and start telling tales? Well, there was one way to take care of that. "Tell you what, Doc. We pull this off, I'll talk to one of the clerks in brigade about getting you a transfer to Vung Tau." He didn't make the offer to Harkness, knowing he would refuse. He was too enamored with his underage housegirl to have any desire to leave the area.

"Vung Tau?" Duarez forgot all about trying to waylay the sergeant. "You got a deal."

Williard had known that would appeal to the captain. Vung Tau was a choice assignment, a base down river on the coast with pristine beaches, free flowing booze, and plenty of nurses, entertainers and red cross girls. If it was the captain who had put Colonel Pinkerton up to the surprise inspection, thoughts of Vung Tau should keep him happy and quiet tomorrow. Besides, he thought, I could use a little vacation myself. Get out from under all this bullshit for a few days and get some time to think. With Pinkerton after him, Duarez unhappy, and Harkness wavering, maybe it was time to pull in his horns a little. Or maybe not. See how the inspection goes first.

"I may have to request a three day pass to go down and check the accommodations out first," Williard said. "You know, find the best job for you and like that."

"What about your patients?" Harkness asked.

"Same deal as usual. I'll have Heavy see them, and he can call you if he runs into any problems. I'll review the charts when I get back." This was Williard's usual practice when he was gone. Heavy was Sgt. Williard's acknowledged apprentice and he was helping the young man acquire expertise in areas outside lab procedures. Williard felt like he had a lot of potential if he could just cut down on the booze a little.

"Can you keep him sober for three whole days?" Harkness said this as if questioning whether a politician could go three days without telling a lie.

"No, but I'll give him strict instructions to keep his beer out of the plasma cooler until after sick call each day."

"That ought to do it. OK, Sarge." Harkness agreed.

"Number one. See you in the morning. Be sure you wear starched fatigues."

Sgt. Williard followed up this conference by recruiting Mop and Sp/5 Jenson, an old veteran medical specialist. Jenson was usually referred to as the Junkman for his propensity of drifting through the days stoned on pot. It didn't seem to affect his work, although no one ever saw him move at a speed anything faster than the crawl of an anemic turtle. This meeting lasted not even as long as the one he had with the officers, since the same technique he was planning to use on the colonel was essentially a duplicate of the one he had used to break in the docs a couple of months earlier when they had gotten a little uppity. He had used the same men then and they would know what to do. Since Mop and Junkman had been headed toward the enlisted club tent when he caught them anyway, they didn't mind the assignment. There, the two medics quickly found their recruits, leaving it up to Williard to make sure they would be at sick call the next morning. Since the drivers would much rather attend sick call than the usual convoy duty, there was an enthusiastic response.

Satisfied with all his arrangements so far, Williard headed for the NCO club tent. Having no extra money of his own to gamble with, he contented himself with passing up the nightly poker game in favor of booze. Over here, it was so cheap he figured he couldn't afford not to drink. While imbibing, he found several of the top sergeants of the tanker battalion and promised them invitations to a jungle juice party in order to ensure there would be no hassle with getting the drivers Junkman and Mop recruited in to sick call the next morning. God, he thought, I'm sure calling in a lot of credits. If I'm not careful, one of these days all this shit is going to blow up in my face. Maybe I should just stop all this crap and try for an OCS commission like Jason keeps telling me to. As he got more or less pleasantly inebriated, he considered the idea suggested by his brother, then finally discarded it. Not now, not when the whole fucking rear area war zone was such a bubbling cauldron of fun and games. Maybe later. He felt in his fatigue pocket, stuck his spare change into the slot machines, came up empty and stumbled off to bed.

Sgt. Williard and Heavy were the first up the next day. They made a practice of taking a half hour run around the compound each morning. Williard did it not only to keep himself in condition, but he liked for the tanker drivers to see that he was a devotee of exercise. The reason he liked to be seen was because that was his usual prescription for troopers complaining of back pain that he suspected of malingering. He ordered an exhausting regimen of exercise to strengthen their backs, ordered it to be carried out each morning before convoy duty. Lately he had very few complaints about back pain.

Heavy joined Williard because he was his idol and he tried very hard to emulate him in every way. Besides, the morning run helped to dissipate the alcoholic excesses of the previous day and induced his stomach to accept breakfast. At his weight, he needed all the calories he could absorb to sustain life.

Sgt. Williard's favorite breakfast was S.O.S., an acronym for shit on a shingle, which was an accurate description of its appearance, although the army menus insisted on referring to it as creamed beef on toast. He liked it despite its appearance. He usually topped this off with eggs, bacon and fried potatoes. Williard never complained about army cooking, having grown up so poor that often the only thing in the house was beans and oatmeal. He never ate army oatmeal, but would sometimes sample the beans.

Run and breakfast finished, Williard and Heavy stripped off their fatigue jackets and tee shirts, washed off the sweat and changed into fresh starched tops, using the sweaty shirts to wipe dust off their jungle boots. By this time, it was nearing seven thirty and the sick call line was beginning to form. Heavy called it the hangover line. He was convinced that most of the troopers came on sick call because they feared to drive with the monstrous hangovers resulting from Ballentine beer. The enlisted club had lately taken to giving it away, since that was the only way they could get rid of it. Somewhere in the long supply line, a deal had been cut and all the huge Long Binh compound was suddenly flooded with Ballentine. The club management was working overtime trying to rid themselves of it before the troops began using full cans of the beer as blunt instruments to show their displeasure.

Sgt. Williard thought of sick call as the rotten peter line, since what he mostly saw on sick call was venereal disease, enough to sometimes make him think the Pope had the right idea and monogamy might have advantages he had never before considered. The thought was always a brief one, though. So long as penicillin and tetracycline was plentiful, there was little chance he would ever catch anything. On morning sick call, though, he wished the army would go back to the days of yore, when for a short time in the history of the army, prophylactic antibiotics had been issued to troops going on leave. He had heard that the practice was discontinued when the senate chairman of the armed forces committee, a southern moralist, heard about it. It was an ignorant and shortsighted policy so far as Williard was concerned, but then, if it weren't in effect he probably wouldn't have much to do.

Williard pushed past the line of waiting men who were beginning to look anxiously up at gathering clouds. It was nearing the end of the rainy season and likely as not, half of them would be soaked before getting in to see anyone about their real or imagined ills. Williard seated himself at his desk facing the entrance to the dispensary. To one side of him Junkman waited to assist. He was staring blankly off into some vision of his own, residual pot smoke practically pouring from his ears. Nevertheless, his fatigues were freshly pressed and his boots clean. To the other side, Mop waited beside tiers of shelves holding medical records, waiting to pull, record or re-file as the morning progressed.

"Are the docs here yet?" Williard asked.

"They're already inside," Mop said.

"OK, let's get started." Williard looked longingly down at his upper fatigue pocket where his day's cigar ration was concealed. Ordinarily, he would just now be lighting his first one of the day, keeping it chewed, lit and unlit long enough to last through sick call. This morning he kept it unlit for a purpose. Colonel Pinkerton might or might not have chastised him for smoking it while screening patients, which according to army regulations was all he was supposed to do, but one never knew, and he purposely wasn't going to put it into his mouth because the first thing he intended to do was put Pinkerton off balance as soon as he showed up, then knock him off his feet with a follow-up punch. If he had little respect (though a genuine liking) for Harkness, he had even less for the Pinkerton. A full colonel who spent his time kicking tires and throwing tantrums about unwashed jeeps struck him as the epitome of an officer's corps gone as stale as a day old can of opened beer.

Williard had hardly gotten started with the patients when he heard a cry from outside. "Attenshun!" Someone shouted, and he knew Colonel Pinkerton had arrived. Not only that, he knew that the colonel must have foregone his usual scrutiny of radiator fluid and oil levels and headed directly for the dispensary building. He waited gleefully for the colonel to step inside.

"Attenshun," Williard called immediately as the colonel entered. Mop and Junkman popped to, but Williard didn't. He allowed a horrified look to cross his face.

"Colonel! I'll have to ask you to put that pipe out. There's no smoking in the medical area." He pointed an astounded finger toward the colonel's elaborately carved Indian pipe as if it were a Texas sidewinder coiled and ready to strike.

"What?"

"The pipe, sir," Williard repeated. "You'll have to put it out. This is a medical treatment area."

Colonel Pinkerton looked around in bewilderment. "Where--?"

There were no butt cans present. Heavy, who normally smoked four packs of Winstons a day had, according to Williard's instructions, carefully unhooked each one as he entered the front of the dispensary, then all the others right on back to his lab and stashed them out of sight.

"Take it outside, sir! A spark might get loose and blow up some of this here G.I. Gin!" Bottles of the concoction were arranged on his medicine table. G.I. Gin was a term used for army cough medicine, a combination of 50% grain alcohol, juniper berry flavoring and water and syrup. Toward the end of the month, right before payday, many lower grade troopers developed highly imaginary coughs and colds in order to get a prescription for G.I. Gin. Heavy claimed that in a pinch it wasn't bad, once you got past the juniper berry flavoring.

Colonel Pinkerton, not being disposed to blow up the dispensary, quickly retreated outside, causing another chorus of "attenshuns!" He disposed of the pipe dottle on the ground and tried to make out like he had just forgotten it in the throes of his inspection, since to his way of thinking, officers were never in the wrong. He was already off-balance, though, just as Williard had planned.

In the meantime, Williard had called the docs forward. They were waiting, starched, shined and alert when Colonel Pinkerton re-entered the building.

"Good morning, sir," they chorused. "Glad to see you!"

"So am I, Colonel. We got some medical problems here," Williard interposed.

"Problems?" The colonel responded, directing his question to the captains rather than the sergeant. Medical problems were an officer's responsibility.

"Yes, sir," Captain Harkness said. "I sure am glad to see you. Would you mind helping me out?"

"Certainly!" Colonel Pinkerton said, puffing out his chest. Although captains were officers, colonels, by the very fact of the eagles on their shoulders naturally were smarter, handsomer and knew far more than any captain ever would about oil levels, transmission fluids and army regulated air pressure in jeep tires. Only after he opened his mouth and put his foot in it did it occur to the colonel that the medical officers were speaking of sick troopers rather than sick vehicles. By then, though, it was too late.

"Sir, would you mind examining this poor fellow?" Captain Harkness asked, pointing to the first supposed patient Williard had lined up, a private already primed by Heavy with an overdose of the last of the root wine Williard had been unable to finish, topped off with a liberal dose of G.I. Gin laced with a triple dose of juniper berry flavoring. The private wavered in place, bright red splotches of alcohol overdose appearing here and there on his shirtless body. "He must have some new tropical disease we haven't figured out yet."

Pinkerton felt for his pipe, then remembered that there was no smoking inside the dispensary. Red splotches? Dizziness? He didn't have a clue. "Um, Captain, perhaps we should send this trooper to the field hospital for evaluation." The wavering private grinned beatifically, anticipating several days of lounging under clean white sheets with attending round-eyed nurses while rear area doctors tried to transplant a tropical illness onto a simple case of root wine and juniper berry overdose. Forever after, he would be grateful to Sgt. Williard, and sooner or later, he had no doubt, the sergeant would be calling on him to return the favor.

"Yes, sir, thank you sir," Captain Harkness enthused. The next ringer stepped into the place vacated by the overdosed private. This one was a specialist fourth class with no apparent ills.

"What's wrong, son?" Sgt. Williard asked, so gently that it almost startled the specialist out of his role. He had been on sick call once before and Williard's change of attitude astounded him. The sergeant sounded almost human this morning!

"I need to see the doctor, Sarge," he said, recovering quickly.

"Why, certainly, son. I know we haven't been able to help you so far, but today we just happen to have our brigade commander present. No one knows more about medicine than he does. Why don't you show him what's wrong?"

"Oh, gosh, thanks, Sarge." The specialist pulled off his fatigue cap, revealing the top half of his head, which was covered with a stocking cap. He removed this and leaned forward to show the colonel a scalp almost completely bald and covered with old scar tissue and lonely tufts of hair sticking up like cacti in a desert. "There's something wrong with my head," he said, which was certainly true. He had caught a fungus infection, Tinea capitis, in Korea, a fairly common one which Williard had studied about and for which there was nothing to be done, other than covering it with a stocking cap and pretending to be a hippie. The colonel, of course, didn't know that. "I think this man should be evacuated, too," the colonel said, giving Sgt. Williard one more grateful disciple. He would be returned to duty as soon as doctors in the field hospital looked at his records, but in the meantime, he too would have a few days of bliss in the field hospital and not have to drive one of the blasted oil tankers to wherever planes were short of fuel. He moved aside and let the next trooper come forward.

"Evacuate him, too," Colonel Pinkerton said, before even hearing the man's symptoms. He was far out of his depth and knew it.

"Yes, sir," Sgt. Williard said. "Gosh, evacuating all these troopers sure is going to put a strain on our vehicles. There's going to be a lot of wear and tear on them, ferrying these men back and forth."

Blasphemy! Colonel Pinkerton wavered back and forth between displaying his medical knowledge and the possibility of flat tires and low oil levels in the cracker box ambulances. He finally decided that he had better stop with the medical knowledge and try another tack. "Perhaps we should leave these capable medical officers to go about their business for now. I'd like to inspect the enlisted quarters. Can you spare Sgt. Williard, Captain Harkness?"

"Certainly, sir. After all, a medical doctor has to see all these patients and get them back to their maintenance duties." Harkness was more than ready to get Williard out of there before he collapsed from pent up laughter. Besides, the sooner the colonel finished his inspection, the sooner he could turn sick call back over to Williard and retire to his hooch to play with his little brown Lolita.

Pinkerton had gotten an insinuation of pilfering from mess halls at the tanker compound from Duarez and this was an area where he thought there was a possibility of finding a discrepancy. Maybe this uppity sergeant was the one stealing the food, and if he could prove it, he would damn sure bust him for it.

Sgt. Williard, with perfect military precision and manners conducted the colonel through the enlisted hooch. There were eight cots in the tent, sitting on the plank floor and sporting a brightly colored footlocker of low-grade tin in front of each, purchased from the Vietnamese vendors who were always clustered near the compound gate. To the rear of each cot were handmade closets of old packing crates, doors removed. In each crate hung several sets of clean fatigues, freshly laundered by their mama-san, a kindly old woman with only a few snaggly betel juice-stained red teeth remaining in her mouth.

Pinkerton had never inspected the enlisted quarters before. Prior to this, he had always concentrated on the vehicles, but he already figured that was a lost cause. He knew he would find nothing wrong there. But here--"Sergeant, all these footlockers and wall lockers are non-regulation. I think I'll have to write up--"

"It's sad, sir," Williard interrupted before the colonel could commit himself. "We have requisitions on file for army foot lockers and wall lockers, but we've never received them. I think the air force must be diverting army gear to their own units. They don't have to spend their hard earned money for things the army should be supplying us. Even the captains had to buy their own foot lockers." He failed to mention the soft air force bunks the two medical officers owned, nor what went on during the day on those bunks.

"Still, non-regulation equipment in an army unit. I think--"

"It sure is non-regulation, sir. The men are really complaining. Why just the other day, I spent a whole hour talking them out of writing their Congressmen."

Pinkerton shut up about the footlockers. He slept on an air force bunk himself, and stowed his gear in air force foot and wall lockers. He had never bothered to inquire of his orderly where or how they had been obtained.

"That was commendable of you, Sergeant. One never knows how Congressmen might react to minor supply problems." Frustrated, he turned to leave. Then he spotted the refrigerator. It was a large white cooler, set in an alcove near Williard's own cot. "What's this?" he asked, remembering again the mention by Duarez that perhaps the enlisted men were eating better than was strictly authorized.

"That? Why that's where I keep condemned meat, sir."

"Let me see." Pinkerton strode to the refrigerator and swung open the door. Inside, neatly packaged, were enough steaks to feed a medium sized pack of hungry wolves. Each package was stamped US Grade A and beneath, US Army.

"This isn't condemned meat, Sergeant. Why this is the same kind of steak we officers keep--er, are fed in the mess hall."

"Oh, it's bad all right, sir. I condemned it myself and the mess officer turned it right over to me."

"You condemned it! Sergeant, I can't go along with such non-regulation behavior. You aren't an authorized meat inspector, and since you aren't, I have no choice but to assume this meat has been stolen. You and that mess officer are in big trouble, Sergeant." At last! This so-called perfect sergeant was in a jam of his own making.

"Stolen? Oh, my no, Colonel, sir. No one in my command would ever steal anything. If the colonel will check my records at brigade headquarters, the colonel will see that I am a graduate of the army veterinary school course, of which I was tops in the class. Since there is no qualified officer present with the proper training, Captain Harkness appointed me as veterinary officer for the compound. I impounded that meat yesterday when I inspected the mess hall. I suspect it's contaminated." In the old horse army days, the army had real need of veterinary officers, but with the event of wheels and disposal of mules, that need had faded. The army, like bureaucracies everywhere, had not let its vet section die. In the modern army, it tended to officers' pet dogs and cats, and with what time that could be spared from this onerous undertaking, took upon itself the task of food inspection. Soon after Williard had gotten his third stripe, he had seen possibilities in the antiquated specialty. He had applied for, been accepted, and completed the four-week veterinary course several years ago.

Pinkerton's cheeks turned as red as a blushing bride. He felt for the comforting presence of the oil rag stuffed into his holster. He fingered it lovingly, like a child playing with his boo boo blanket. It gave him the courage to continue, even though he suspected he was well and truly outfoxed. "Well, I'm sure all the proper records will be in order, knowing of your reputation, but tell me this Sergeant: If this is condemned meat, why hasn't it been disposed of?"

"Why sir, I would never be guilty of disposing of potentially good meat simply on suspicion. Even now, my lab technician is running numerous complicated tests on this meat to be certain it is unfit before we dispose of it. In fact, most of those tests use alcohol-based reagents. I'm afraid I'm going to have to requisition an extra supply of ethyl alcohol to replace what he's using up."

Pinkerton, knowing nothing at all about laboratory procedures, had no way to argue with Williard's logic, but by God, there was one thing he could do. He could take the steaks with him and let his officers "dispose" of them. He said so.

"Oh, sir, I couldn't allow that. I have to be present to log the disposal procedures. Regulations, you know."

"What sort of disposal, Sergeant?"

"We incinerate them, sir. Right there," Williard said, pointing to a lovingly crafted brick kiln located just in back of the hooch. The incinerator looked suspiciously like an open-air barbecue pit, but the colonel knew when he was beaten. He retreated with ill grace to his jeep and waved aside his enlisted driver while he checked the oil level, tire pressure and radiator fluid level himself. He folded part of his mind into those comforting routines while he let the rest of it roam into other realms, where officers were always exalted beings and sergeants were less than the dust beneath their chariot wheels. A reckoning would come, sooner or later, just as soon as he could figure out how to bring it about.

 

 

Medics Wild Copyright © 2001. Darrell Bain. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.

 

bar

 

Author Bio

Darrell Bain is the author of about two dozen books, in many genres, running the gamut from humor to mystery and science fiction to non-fiction and a few humorous works which are sort of fictional non-fiction, if that makes any sense. He has even written for children. For the last several years he has concentrated on humor and science fiction, both short fiction, non-fiction (sort of) and novels. He is currently writing the fourth novel in the series begun with Medics Wild.

Darrell served thirteen years in the military and his two stints in Vietnam formed the basis for his first published novel, Medics Wild. Darrell has been writing off and on all his life but really got serious about it only after the advent of computers. He purchased his first one in 1989 and has been writing furiously ever since.

While Darrell was working as a lab manager at a hospital in Texas, he met his wife Betty. He trapped her under a mistletoe sprig and they were married a year later. Darrell and Betty own and operate a Christmas tree farm in East Texas which has become the subject and backdrop for many of his humorous stories and books.

TTB titles:
Alien Infection
Doggie Biscuit!
Hotline to Heaven
Laughing All the Way
Life on Santa Claus Lane
Medics Wild
Samantha's Talent with Robyn Pass
Shadow Worlds with Barbara M. Hodges
Space Trails
Strange Valley
Tales from a Christmas Tree Farm
The Focus Factor with Gerald Mills
The Melanin Apocalypse
Warp Point

Series
Human By Choice with Travis 'Doc' Taylor. Book 1 Cresperian series.
The Y Factor with Stephanie Osborn. Book 2 Cresperian series
The Cresperian Alliance with Stephanie Osborn. Book 3 Cresperian series.

Author web site.

 

###

 

To order this book:

Format: ePub, PDF, HTML, Kindle/Mobi
    Payment Method
PayPal -or- credit card -or- Apple iBookstore; BN.com; Kindle; Kobo Books; OmniLit
List Price: $6.50 USD ebook

 
Format: Trade Paperback
    Available at
Amazon;  Bamm.com;  Barnes & Noble;  Borders;  other Bookstores
List Price: $15.50 trade paperback

 

  Reviews

The bookís dust jacket promises the reader: "If you like MASH youíll love MEDICS WILD. Itís a promise well kept. In fact, if the discerning reader will put the book aside for a moment, close his eyes and listen carefully, he may even hear distant echoes of Joseph Hellerís CATCH 22.

Anyone who spent a day in military service will instantly recognize the protagonist, Sgt. James Williard, as the archetypal wheeler-dealer. A cynical cool cat, hip and savvy, , cleverly manipulating people and the system for his own advantage, he spends his days easily outwitting the bungling, incompetent, venal officers who have the misfortune to be his superiors. Whether brewing jungle juice or screwing the brass, Williard is truly a Master of the Game.

Ah, but as the story unfolds we begin to suspect there may be more to this Sgt. than meets the eye. Might he be something other than the shallow egocentric we met in the first chapter? For one thing, he not only likes his work operating a rear area medical unit dispensary, but heís extremely good at it. So good, in fact, that the MDís responsible for diagnosing and treating patients are well content to let him run the show, giving them free time to indulge their appetites, sexual and otherwise. Provided, of course, the commanding officer remains under the illusion theyíre actually in charge.

More importantly, though, the Sgt. has a serious character defect. The manís a closet idealist. Safe and relatively comfortable in a non-combat zone, he nevertheless feels a powerful empathy with the grunts doing the fighting out in the boonies. Two of his brothers are in combat, one a Marine pilot flying fighter-bombers, and the other an ensign on a destroyer suppressing Viet Cong coastal activity. He has not been totally desensitized by the war. Guilt gnaws at him, because he is an active participant in the waste, corruption and venality that surround him. He considers throwing it all up and applying for transfer to a combat unit. But he knows the system is omnipotent, too deeply rooted to be challenged by one man. And so he plays the old army game -- he goes along to get along.

Donít get the idea, though, this is another of those clinical, pseudo-psychological studies of the tortured souls of men at war. Itís a darned good story, with lots of action, including a riveting account of a fight near Long Bhin during the Tet offensive of 1968.

With MEDICS WILD Darrell Bain has scored a remarkable achievement. He has crafted an anti-war novel disguised as a comedy. Well done, Mr. Bain, very well done indeed! FIVE STARS

Reviewed by Bill Riepe for Amazing Authors Showcase.
 



The main character of Darrell Bainís new book Medics Wild rather sardonically observes that ďNone of us ever did things back in the world that we do over here.Ē That, gentle reader, is an understatement. Sergeant James Willard is a medic and Bain uses him as your guide on this odyssey of the war in Vietnam. Although thereís enough bloody action to satisfy the armchair warrior, this isnít just another war novel. Itís a unique and often hilarious look at what goes on behind the lines.

Willard uses his position as NCO of a medical dispensary at Long Binh to build a personal fiefdom that is based on personal influence and fueled by gifts of medical supplies that are...uh, well...diverted. The book gives an unflinching view of all the rear echelon craziness: teenage hookers, drugs (legal and otherwise), booze of every stripe and make, supplies that are pilfered (or conveniently ďcondemnedĒ), and all the characters that make up any military unit. Youíre taken on adventures that wind through the back alleys, bars and brothels of Vietnam to a medical unit under fire while on a humanitarian visit to a local village. Bain has a keen eye with a strong sense of place and heís able to realistically recreate the almost indescribable lunacy of the Vietnam war zone. All the smells, sights and sounds of the Far East come alive in this fast paced novel. From the dreariness and boredom of every day existence to the sharp and terrifyingly sudden violence of the Tet offensive, Bainís ability to transport you there never wavers. Readerís who have never been there are treated. to sights seldom seen by civilians. ĎNam vets will find themselves nodding - with a bittersweet smile as they turn the pages. Itís all there.

ďNone of us ever did things back in the world that we do over here...Ē

Reviewed by Mike Hargraves for East Texas TODAY'S book reviews.
 



"I LOVED the Medic's Wild series, and frankly, everything else! My brother John- the LRP/Helo brother- isn't much of a reader, but he also fell in love with the Medic's series; that's really saying something, too, as I haven't seen him read anything but fishing catalogues in years. Bravo!"

Reader comment from Jamie J.

 

 

bar

 

Back to Twilight Times Books main page 

 

 

bar

 

  A special note to TTB readers. All contents of this web site are copyright by the writers, artists or web site designer. If you discover any artwork or writing published here elsewhere on the internet, or in print magazines, please let us know immediately. The staff of Twilight Times Books feels very strongly about protecting the copyrighted work of our authors and artists.

 

Web site Copyright © 1999, 2000 - 2010. Lida Quillen. All rights reserved.

Cover design 2004 Myron Leski. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 01-02-09.

Twilight Times Books logo design by Joni.

 

windy