6 February 2015: Revisiting the Past

Starlifter . GNAS. Beverly Dawson p 68

I recently reconnected with Beverly Dawson, the lady I met at Glenview History Center in 2007. This Starlifter picture is from her book, Images of America, Glenview Naval Air Station. (Page 108).
Note the bus with the red cross backed up to the back of the medevac aircraft; that’s what we were loaded on to, to be transported to Great Lakes Naval Hospital on Aug 29,1968.
Beverly presented my Muddy Jungle Rivers memoir to a Navy League group in Glenview. Here is a message she sent me.

I think it’s fair to say everyone at last night’s meeting was mesmerized by your story — to a person, all asked how they might purchase a copy — I think your publisher will be hearing from Glenview!
I’m not quite sure where to begin to tell you about my reaction to the book — maybe best to just plunge in…
Your writing is terrific! I felt as if I was right there — you’ve a gift for making the story come alive.
Did I mention previously that I was in Vietnam about 15 years ago? Your descriptions of the river currents and jungle were so vivid — I was right back there as I read. Although my visit was limited to the area surrounding Ho Chi Minh City [Saigon] (and its harbor) and the Mekong Delta (and under completely different circumstances from yours), I recall thinking the environment was totally inhospitable — and what it must have been like for those in combat during the war. I realize full well my concept pales by comparison to the real thing.
Your description of those horrific wounds captured me — both as a nurse and as a fellow human being. And your accounts of the delivery of medical care were beyond anything I’d previously read.
The mob action as your bus left NASG has haunted me all these years since our meeting at the History Center — and more so now that I’ve read the details.
We lived in Chicago in 1968 and saw firsthand the disaster that was the Democratic Convention. As I look back on that time, it’s hard to comprehend that Americans are even capable of the kind of actions we saw back then.
The issues you raise regarding our treatment of veterans resonates even now. While our veterans today by and large have the support of the people, our government still is not doing right by those who’ve put their lives on the line for our country.
As an “old” psychiatric nurse, I’m particularly captivated by the success of your journey with PTSD. There’s so much I’d like to discuss with you — but that’s probably best saved for another day. The fact that you’ve come to terms with so many demons is huge!

My wife and I plan to visit Beverly at Glenview History Center either on the way down or upon our return from the Mobile Riverine Force Reunion in Indianapolis late this summer.

GNAS. Beverly Dawson


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