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POSTED ON 10.18.2011

I(f I should die...remembrances for SP5 Wayne Sherwood BATES, USA...San Pablo's bravest of heroes!!!

If I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchnace, may therein comfort you.
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POSTED ON 7.11.2004
POSTED BY: Chris Spencer


It is said a man hasn't died as long as he is remembered. This prayer is a way for families, friends and fellow veterans to remember our fallen brothers and sisters. Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die
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POSTED ON 6.29.2004
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Wayne is buried at San Francisco Nat Cem.
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POSTED ON 9.24.2003
POSTED BY: Scott Washburn

I Am That Soldier Who Last Saw 'DOC'

I was that soldier to whom 'Doc' was administering first aid when he was killed. Our company was told to go out 'light' as we had been in that area earlier and encountered no resistance. Military intelligence being the oxymoron that it is, we ran into a VC unit that was well entrenched, roughly three times our strength. We encountered heavy resistance and the Mortar Platoon had only six men. I was one of them. I had been hit with shrapnel from an RPG in the lower back and 'Doc' came to my aid. He was attempting to patch me up when he was hit with gun fire and fragmentation and fell in front of my face and died instantly. There were two others, Robert Hilley and Richard Wolfe from the Mortar Platoon who were also killed within 25 yards of my location. They were both RTO's.
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POSTED ON 6.27.2003
POSTED BY: Landon McAllister

Artificial tree--but the man was real

Artificial Tree, but the Man Was Real
Howard Landon McAllister
(written shortly before the 1991 War in the Persian Gulf)

As Christmas nears, with nearly a half million American service men
and women poised on the edge of war in the Middle East, I am
haunted by the ghosts of a Christmas past. The year was 1967, and
we were members of an infantry rifle company in Vietnam. It was
less than two months before the North Vietnamese Tet offensive in
February 1968, the time when war finally became unfashionable for
the American people.

We belonged to Company A in the second battalion of the 18th
Infantry in the 1st Infantry Division--the Big Red One. We were lean, hard young warriors, filled with pride in
our country, and well versed in the traditions of our regiment,
which had fought with distinction at Chickamauga in the Civil War,
wearing the blue uniform of the union army.

That year, just before Christmas, our home away from home was a
small fire support base, carved out of red clay and laterite soil
alongside a dirt road some 35 miles northwest of Saigon. It was not
picturesque. The little outpost was surrounded by gaunt,
artillery-blasted mahogany trees, and we slept in holes in the
ground surrounded by dirt-filled sandbags.

All in all, it was not the most dangerous time we spent in the war,
either before or after. During the day, we were charged with
protecting a two-mile stretch of road for long convoys of supply
trucks. At night we sent out ambush patrols to intercept and
destroy the enemy patrols coursing through the area. It was a rare
day when one or more of us did not fall to a sniper's bullet or
fragments from an artfully placed booby trap. Lucky soldiers were
only wounded. The unlucky ones lay covered by olive green ponchos
at the side of the helicopter landing pad, waiting their final
journey home.

Our only reminder of the holidays was a small artificial Christmas
tree, covered with glittering ornaments permanently wired to its
branches. Sent from home by a soldier's relative, the tree stood on
an empty ammunition box outside the mess tent.

Each evening, while soldiers moved through the mess tent, receiving
their evening meal on steel trays, one soldier carefully brushed
dust from the Christmas tree, which, like everything else, had
collected a fine patina of red dust from the day's truck convoys.
The soldier's name was Wayne Bates. He was the company's senior
medical aidman, and was known to us as Doc, the nickname given to
all medical aidmen.

The first time I noticed Doc Bates dusting the tree, I asked him,
"What's this, Doc? First aid for the tree?"

Bates laughed, and replied, "Just trying to make myself count,

Doc Bates was short and compact, with a
thatch of reddish-brown hair and a quick smile. If he had a motto,
it must have been "just trying to make myself count." Usually, in
an infantry unit, medical personnel are excused from some of the
more onerous tasks assigned to the other soldiers. Infantrymen, who
spend so much time digging holes for their own fighting positions
and shelters, hate digging more than any other duty. But holes have
to be dug. Field sanitation requires it--latrines, garbage pits and
the like. Doc Bates always pitched in whenever there was digging to
be done, and he never had to be asked.

Often, he volunteered to stand in the serving line at mealtime. In
a good infantry unit, it is customary for the officers to be served
after all the men have gone through the line, and, as company
commander, I always ate last. Sometimes, I had some odd meals. On
one occasion, Doc Bates was serving dessert in the line; when I
reached his station, I had only spinach and bread on my tray. The
cooks had run out of everything else. Doc deposited a huge glob of
lime jello on my tray, and minutes later he sat down to join me
with his own meal of spinach, lime jello, and bread. When I
reminded him that servers were entitled to eat before other
soldiers went through the line, his response was predictable,
"Don't matter--just trying to make myself count."

We were a scruffy lot. We bathed as often as we could, but with a
few quarts of water per man per day, and temperatures sometimes
reaching 120 degrees, most of our fresh water went down our
throats. When we went on a combat operation, loaded down with
weapons and equipment, most of us carried several plastic water
canteens clipped to our belts or rucksacks.

When Doc Bates was rigged for the field, he carried two huge bags
filled with bandages and other medical paraphernalia, one hanging
on each side, suspended by straps crossed over his shoulders. Doc
also carried a number of water canteens, but time after time, in
the course of his duties, I watched him use his own precious
drinking water to cleanse a minor wound or abrasion when he was
treating another soldier.

Christmas passed, and, in the first days of the new year, the enemy
began stepping up operations that culminated in the violent combat
of the Tet offensive. On January 6, Company A was airlifted to a
spot near a village called Xom Bung, where we ran into most of a
regiment of well-entrenched Viet Cong on the edge of a woodline.

We killed more than a hundred of them, but luck ran out for
a few of the men of Company A. Doc Bates was one of them. He died
on that woodline, running into the face of enemy fire to help a
wounded soldier.

One of the last things I saw before an enemy rifle bullet ripped
through me was Doc Bates, running toward the woodline, helmet
pushed back on his head, swinging a medical kitbag in each hand,
just trying to make himself count.

Every time I see an artificial Christmas tree, I think of Doc
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