Dive bombing an area, rocking it with huge explosions.
Viet Cong prisoner treated at the 12th Evac.
Operation Cedar Falls officially ended on January 26, 1967. Part of our responsibilities once the action slowed was to participate in the medical civil action program, or MEDCAP, which provided medical services to civilians in Cu Chi and surrounding hamlets.
We saw patients with diseases we had only read about in textbooks, as well as malnutrition, blindness, tumors, skin ailments, and a host of other conditions.
Cu Chi villagers line up to be treated at a MEDCAP facility.
My new sneakers. I had scrubbed the old ones daily.
Operation Junction City largely failed in its mission, and US Forces continued to take heavy casualties. I recall my frustration when, after being on my feet in the OR for two days and nights without a break, reading in the newspaper that there had been no casualties in Vietnam. Wounds were horrendous and seemed to be never-ending.
It wasn't long and we were back in the throes of war. Operation Junction City began on February 22, 1967, and lasted until May 14. This was the only major airborne operation of the war and the largest since World War II. It was also the first major combat parachute assault since Korea.
Junction City's search-and-destroy mission intended to rid War Zone C of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army installations and to eradicate the Central Office of South Vietnam (COSVN). Most of the fighting took place northwest of Cu Chi and extended to Tay Ninh and north along the Cambodian border.
"Sorry, kids. All gone."
Banner photos above: A Visit from Santa, 12th Evacuation Hospital, Cu Chi, Vietnam, Christmas 1966 (left); Pat Wojdag (Coté), 7th Surgical Hospital (MASH), Cu Chi, Vietnam, 1966; Rocket's Red Glare, portion of the Vietnam Women's Memorial, Washington, DC, USA). All photographs © 2013 by Beth Parks, Ed.D. (All rights reserved.)
Said the corpsman on the right, "I feel like a rock star!"
A blind Vietnamese woman seeks treatment.
Mopping up after surgery.
Wherever American service people went, Vietnamese kids were sure to follow. A big treat after the MEDCAP clinic was distributing candy and gum to eager youngsters.