Echoes of the Vietnam War

EP04: A Bump in the Road

Release Date: May 10, 2021

Hal Kushner was a U.S. Army flight surgeon from 1967 to 1977, and spent more than half of that time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In this episode, Dr. Kushner recalls his experiences before, during, and after his imprisonment. Also, we remember “the Mayaguez incident.”

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Echoes of the Vietnam War


[00:00:00] (HAL KUSHNER) When I got down to the bottom of the mountain, I walked, I don’t know a mile or so and I saw a peasant working in a rice paddy. And he saw me and I had a fatigue jacket on that had captain’s bars insignia and the medical insignia that conduces. And he ran up to me and he said, “Dai Uy Bac Si,” which I knew very little Vietnamese, but that met Captain doctor, “Dai Uy Bac Si.”

[00:00:29] (HOST) From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, founders of the wall, this is Echoes of the Vietnam War. I’m your host, Michael Croan, bringing you stories of service, sacrifice and healing from people who still feel the impact of that conflict nearly 50 years later. This is Episode Four, a bump in the road. Hey, thanks for checking out the official podcast from the founders of The Wall in Washington DC. We publish a new episode every two weeks, so be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And if you like it, one of the most important things you can do to help support it is to share it with a friend who might like it as well. Either way, let us know what you think by emailing [email protected]. You know, even as more and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel restrictions are starting to loosen up a bit. It’s still not easy for everyone to visit the wall in Washington DC. And that’s why we created the wall that heals. It’s an exact replica of the wall at three quarter scale and it travels to communities all across America. The Wall That Heals and the Mobile Education Center that travels with it will be in Tunkhannock Pennsylvania May 13 through 16. For more 2021 tour dates and locations visit

[00:01:50] (HOST) This week marks the 46th anniversary of the Mayaguez incident, which is widely considered as the final battle in our war with Vietnam. The Khmer Rouge had taken control over the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh about a month earlier. And on May 12 1975, they seized an American merchant ship. The SS Mayaguez, which had entered disputed waters on its way from Hong Kong to Thailand. Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State to President Gerald Ford, demanded the immediate release of the Mayaguez and her crew. In the ensuing rescue operation, the US Marines retook the ship and together with the Air Force attack the island of Koh Tang, where they believed the crew members were being held hostage. Khmer Rouge defenses on the island were stronger than expected the Air Force last three helicopters in the initial assault. The Marines fought a desperate day long battle with the Khmer Rouge before being evacuated. By the time it was over. The United States had lost 14 Marines, two sailors and two airmen. Those casualties are listed among the very last names on The Wall. The crew of the Mayaguez were released unharmed by the Khmer Rouge not long after the attack on Koh Tang began. You may be wondering as I was why an incident that took place 100 miles from the Vietnamese border two years after the peace was signed, and nearly two weeks after the fall of Saigon is considered the final battle of the Vietnam War. The answer is well, complicated. Maybe we can get into that in a future episode.


(HOST) Hal Kushner was born in Honolulu where his father was serving with the Army Air Corps. Hal was six months old when Pearl Harbor not far from his family’s home and Hickam airfield was bombed by the Japanese on December 7 1941. In 1965, when Hal was still a medical student, he joined the army. He served as a military flight surgeon from 1967 to 1977. For five and a half of those 10 years, he was a prisoner of war. In the interview that follows, I didn’t ask Hal to recount the details of the brutality he faced as a POW. There’s plenty of material already published about that. I was more interested in the context of that experience, the before and the after.

[00:04:34] (HAL) Oh, as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a physician. My older brother, Bobby, who is now a retired physician, and is, will be 87 this year, had bad childhood asthma. And when I was a youngster, I can recall Bobby being sick with asthma attacks and we would call the family doctor And he would arrive at the house in a brown suit with a white shirt and a brown fedora hat at night, and he would come in, and he would, uh, hang an IV on Bobby and he would sit there and Bobby would be wheezing and, and the next morning I would wake up and Dr. Harry would still be there. And my mom would give him breakfast. And off, he would go in his Buick to work that we were so grateful to him. I, I think that’s what originally attracted me to medicine. So, I went to college, I went to high school in Danville, Virginia, where I was raised after the war, and went to college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, my dad’s alma mater, and went to med school at the Medical College of Virginia, which is one of the oldest medical schools in the south. Now, it’s called the Virginia Commonwealth University. And when I was in medical school, Vietnam was heating up. And there was a program called the Army Senior Medical Student Program, where one could join the army and as a junior in medical school, and then get paid a first lieutenants pay while a senior after graduation. One had a three year obligation instead of a normal two year obligation. In those days, there was a draft, a doctor’s draft, and virtually every able bodied male was being drafted. I was a struggling young medical student, I had a wife and a baby. I graduated medical school in 1966. And I thought Vietnam was the right place to be at that time, and I could choose the year. So, I went up to Fort Meade, Maryland with another medical student in 1964, I believe it was 64. And we signed up. And then during the same year in med school, I got a first lieutenants pay, which in those days was about $400 a month. And the bonus to that was that Richmond, where I was going to med school was dry, couldn’t buy a drink in a restaurant, but we could go to the officer’s club at Fort Lee Virginia. They had a bar. So that was a bonus. So, when I graduated, I was commissioned to Captain immediately, but I was able to match with the hospital of my choice, which was Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. And in fact, that was the hospital in which I was born.

(HOST) Were you able to take your family there? Or did you go on your own?

(HAL) No, no, I was it was an accompany to tour and I took my wife and baby. We drove across the country. And we flew from Travis Air Force Base to Honolulu.

[00:08:03] (HOST) And your intention all along? It sounds like was to go to Vietnam eventually.

[00:08:07] (HAL) Yes. I was interested in aviation. I was a private pilot. And I intended to be a flight surgeon. And in those days, flight surgeons and Vietnam went together, like dogs and fleas. We have special training. I trained at Fort Rucker, Alabama in the army flight surgery program. And then part of that was at Pensacola, Florida and the Navy flight surgery program. And then I deployed to Vietnam almost immediately, got on the United flight and flew to Tan Son Nhut, Saigon. I sat next to the same person for 22 hours. We talked about our families. We talked about what our assignments might be, what it might be like, we were excited to go. I mean, it was an adventure, right? We were young men. I was 26 years old and roaring to get there and do my duty and then come home and complete my training.

[00:09:15] (HOST) So, you land in at Tan Son Nhut in August of 67?

[00:09:22] (HAL) Actually, have to correct that. I said Tan Son Nhut we actually land into Bien Hoa airbase which is right next to Tan Son Nhut very close, we landed had been one in the middle of the night it was dark and, and the doors were opened and it was just hot, fetid and hot and just humid. It was when I got on the airplane, you know I had starched khakis on the creases in my pants could have cut bread. And when I got off the airplane I looked like I’d been through a washing machine. And the first thing I noticed when I got off in the dark was the smell, which was raw sewage in the heat. And they took us on a C-130 took me and all the people that could fit on a C-130. That was combat loaded up to An Khe which was the rear area of the first Cavalry Division. And we met the, the division surgeon of the first Cavalry Division and they choppered, me out to LZ (Landing Zone) Two Bits, which was in the Bong Son valley of Vietnam, just at the north side of II Corp if you’re familiar with the geography right below Da Nang, South of Da Nang. And we had two landing zones, LZ’s up there Two Bits and Dog were their names. And these are just landing zones just carved out of the jungle, just mud, and a bunch of hooches and landing areas, sandbag places and holes in the ground and it was in the field. I had a, a battalion or squad, we called our battalion size unit a squadron because it was aviation. I had a squadron sized Quonset hut and On K in the rear for an aid station. And it was named the Shenep Memorial dispensary because the man I replaced was Karl Shenep, a young doctor from Memphis, Tennessee, who had been killed in action in April of 1967. Now, this is August of 1967. And our mission was to protect the health of the people in my Squadron and also to take care of wounded to do life and limb saving procedures on wounded when they were wounded in the field and brought back to the aid station until they could be stabilized and evacuated to a better equipped facility like a surgical hospital or field hospital or an evacuation hospital. And we had a civic action duty also, there was a little town and village called Bong Son. And once a week I went took my jeep with a medic and went down to Bong Son, and held sick call for the civilians. And that was really busy. I mean, everybody would come with everything. We saw leprosy, I saw things I had never seen before. And we would take care of them. But, but the main job was taking care of the aviators and the crew. And I had 17 combat medics who were in my medical platoon who went out on operations with the infantry, and we call them the Blues infantry blue is the color of the infantry, so they would ride helicopters out. helicopters were like horses of the old. It was the cavalry. We were the eyes and ears of the division. They would ride the helicopters out, they would do operations out there, they would pick up wounded, they would pick up dead the helicopters would come back with those great green body bags with people in them. Also they’d bring back Vietnamese Vietcong and NVA POW who they had captured if they were wounded. And we would treat them to and evacuating, evacuating them if required. I mean, I didn’t have any downtime, and I felt pressure. And I flew on operations, I flew enough to get three air medals. And each Air Medal is 50 hours of combat support, or 20, 25 hours of direct combat. But my unit, my squadron of battalion size unit with approximately 900 people was spread out from Phan Thiet in the south to Chu Lai, in the kind of a northern border of the middle of the country, about 300 miles. So, I visited troops all over the place and the night of 30 November, we flew up to Chu Lai…

[00:14:09] (HAL) to give a lecture, ironically enough on the dangers of night flying to a group of my unit that was up in Chu Lai. And the weather was horrible. It was pouring rain and wind and lightning and thunderstorms. So, I went up there to lecture to the small group about the dangers of night flying and I said to the aircraft commander, who was a very good friend of mine, Steve Porcella. From Massachusetts, he was a major. And I said, Steve, let’s wait out the weather because it’s so bad. And I’ll never forget what he said. He said we have to get the helicopter back for operations tomorrow. So we took off, I was watching the trucks on a highway beneath me. And I saw that we had drifted west of the highway and I knew that was wrong. And I call Steve on the radio. When the helicopter was about nine o’clock at night, I called him on the radio and I said, I think we’ve drifted west of the highway. And he called an air traffic controller at Duc Pho, Vietnam, which was close. And the, he asked him to identify his position. So, the air traffic controller, and Duc Pho said to him, I cut off my equipment at 2100, 9 o’clock. It takes a minute or so to warm up. Do you want me to cut it on and find you? And Steve said, Rog…, and that was the last thing he ever said. The next thing I knew was helicopter was on fire. I was waking up. And I could see that we were crashed. And I didn’t know what happened, whether we crashed in the mountain or we got shot down or I had no idea. And it was 53 years ago, 54 years ago now. And I remember vividly waking up and the first thing I said was, is anybody alive, and I really didn’t know for like a millisecond. If I were alive. by the light of the Fire, Fire light, I can see Steve crushed against the instrument console. And the copilot, a very fine young Warrant Officer was not there. His seat had failed and he had gone right through the glass chin bubble of the helicopter. Still strapped in his seat. I had trouble freeing myself because I had broken left arm. My head had hit something and I was bleeding profusely from the face. And I ran my tongue over my teeth and I was immediately aware that I’d lost a bunch of teeth turned out to be seven.

[00:16:59] (HAL) And Steve had a knife on his right side. I took his knife out of the sheath and tried to cut his seatbelt. And it’s not like in the movies. I mean, it didn’t just cut easy. And the fire just got too hot. I’m sure he was dead anyway. I’m sure he was dead. The fire got too hot. And I jumped from the, the helicopter. And when I jumped from the helicopter I saw the copilot on the ground still in his seat. And I saw the crew chief even beyond him. And he was just on the ground. And the airplane just whooshed, whooshed up just, it didn’t explode it just sort of whoosh and everything burned up. The Viet Cong told me when they captured me that they shot down the helicopter. But I later found out that it was found right at the top of the mountain where it had hit and it was a crash. And in fact, the flight surgeons who investigated the accident, ruled in a non-survivable accident. But I survived. The war-, the warrant officer copilot, and I thought that we were about 10 miles west of friendly troops. The next morning it was pouring rain to I mean absolute pouring rain of the next, next day we sent the crew chief for help. We thought we knew where we were and the crew chief was not injured.

[00:18:28] (HAL) He never came back. Found out much later. Six years later, he had been found shot dead and submerged in a rice paddy about 10 miles from the carsh site. We crashed on the night of November 30. We’re up all night no food or water December 1, and the CO pilot died on the morning of December 2 and when he died I left the crash site. I had a fractured left forearm, there are two bones in the forearm, radius and ulna, and a fractured collarbone left side and I had some burns. And I had, had lost those teeth and had lacerations on my face and lip and when the helicopter burned up the M 60 machine gun cooked off around it’s called cooked off they explode but it’s not the same as firing they don’t have the same velocity but they just explode and they send the, the, the shell any which way and I got hit three or four times and the left side of my back and the front on the left side of my front with that exploding ammunition. I had splitted the copilots leg with two army belts and tree branches. That’s it. Important to my story because when they discovered the helicopter The day after I was captured on December 3, they said that the copilot had been, quote, professionally splitted. Therefore, they assumed that I was alive and not critically injured, which was true. I was I was captured the day before December 2, and I walked down the mountain and had fallen and walking down the mountain, I had my arm strapped my body with an army belt. And when I got down to the bottom of the mountain, I walked, I don’t know a mile or so, and I saw a peasant working in a rice paddy. And he saw me and I had a fatigue jacket on that had captain’s bars and signia and the medical insignia that conduces. And he ran up to me and he said, Dai Uy Bac Si, which I knew very little Vietnamese, but that meant Captain Doctor, Dai Uy Bac Si. And he took me another mile to a little hooch. And he went inside and gave me a can of sweetened condensed milk, a C ration can opener in a plastic C ration spoon, and I was sitting, eating that and a squad of VC came up and captured me. And I had my left arm bound to my body. So, the squad leader said, surrender, no kill. And he spoke, he put both of his arms up in the air said that in English, surrender, no kill. And I raised my right arm, the left arm was tied to my body. And I was absolutely exhausted. And I, I didn’t. I don’t know what I felt then. And he shot and I think he was more scared than I was. And he shot me right through the left shoulder. Right where the my neck joins my shoulder, and the bullet went all the way through. I showed them my Geneva Convention card, which is white with a Red Cross, which means I was a doctor medical personnel. They’re supposed to be treated differently than a prisoner of war, according to the Geneva Conventions, and the guy tore up the card. And he said no POW, no POW, criminal, criminal.

[00:22:21] (HOST) What reaction would you have expected upon presenting that card?

[00:22:25] (HAL) Well, we were told in their escape and evasion course and in flight surgery school, that if, if we were captured, not to worry, because we weren’t, we weren’t supposed to be treated as POW is we’re supposed to be treated as retain personnel. And I knew in World War Two, and int Korea doc-, American doctors were allowed to run hospitals, no matter how rudimentary or makeshift for POWs when they were captured. I was captured in December and in July of 1968. Seven months later, indoc- an attempt was made to indoctrinate us in the jungle in Vietnam, and we got this big Commissar, Mr. Ho. And he took me aside and he said, Would you like to work at a Vietnam Vietcong hospital, a Vietnamese hospital, they’re underground, they said you would be safer and we will give you a higher ration? And I said, No. Said, I’ll take my chances with my own people. I would never even think about doing that. And he told me, he said, Well, you’re making a mistake. He said American doctors did work in German hospitals in World War Two. This guy spoke English about like, I’m speaking English to you now. But I’m glad I stayed with my own people and took my chances.

[00:23:53] (HOST) Were there times during your imprisonment when you were able to help other POWs medically?

[00:24:00] (HAL) I think I helped other POWs and the other POWs think I helped them which is even more important and more objective. I was able to advise. POWs about hygiene and sanitation. Rarely, we would get medicine. I was able to teach the other POWs when to complain, how to complain about malaria or dysentery and try to get medicine and then I would hoard the medicine and give it out when they actually got diseases because we couldn’t depend on the Vietnamese to give us medicine. And this fellow Mr. Ho when he was there, we were all very, very sick with dysentery. I thought we were all gonna die. And I went to him and pleaded with him to get us chloromycetin which is a broad spectrum antibiotic that’s no longer used much and some other medicine and he did actually get that for us, I had to make a deal with him. But we got that medicine and I think it saved several, a lot of our lives. We had once in a while we’d have access to a razor blade or something like that and I was able to lance boils and minor stuff. One of the guards wants had a bad infected ingrown toenail. And he brought down a little tray with Novocain in it and some instruments and I removed his ingrown toenail. He happened to be an American who had crossed over, which is another story in itself.

[00:25:42] (HOST) As I was doing my research to prepare for this conversation, one of the things that really struck me was your account of having marched 560 miles in 57 days, through the jungle, and over mountains in all kinds of threatening conditions. Why did they put you at such immense risk?

[00:26:03] (HAL) To get us to Hanoi, because we’re all gonna die, and they wanted to use us as bargaining chips in the peace negotiations. Simple as that, in Hanoi, we got much better treatment. I mean, we got food, two meals a day, the food was terrible. It was in soup, a piece of bread and two cups of water a day. But it was better than in the jungle, and also in the jungle artillery was coming in frequently. And they almost, they, they flew helicopters right through our camp. I think they knew our location, the Americans knew our location. And the Vietnamese thought that we were going to be rescued. All of this happened in February of 71. Late January and early February 71, they moved us to a temporary camp for a few days. And then they made the decision to move us to Hanoi. We were 12 survivors of 27 people. And they broke us into two groups and I was in the fast six group. And we took 57 days, the slow group took 180 days. We carried our own rice. And of course, the weight got less and less because we ate it as we went. And once we got to the Ho Chi Minh trail, it wasn’t very difficult. Because first of all, we were eating better and getting stronger. Second of all, because it was, we were training. I mean, as we walked, you know, it was really hard the first couple of three weeks. But after that, it got easier. And then on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, they had waystations every 12 or 15 miles, and we would make that in a day and then you would stop and cook and rest and they had hammocks, and it was much easier. It was it got easier and easier as we went along. But on the march I learned a lot I saw that on the Ho Chi Minh trail particularly, we saw whole units, battalion size units, company size units, marching to Vietnam, marching to South Vietnam, we saw people rolling bicycles carrying supplies, marching to South Vietnam. I saw a guy carrying two mortar rounds, which are quite heavy on his back to South Vietnam, he had to go as far as we did. He was carrying two mortar rounds. And I wondered at the time when I pass it. I said, What if one of those rounds is a dud, you know, he’s spent three months carrying this ordnance down there. And if they fire one, and it’s a dud, so I wasn’t completely with without some humor. But one of the things that occurred to me and we saw where the B-52 would just destroy a road or the hokey men trail, and they would have 1000 Vietnamese, they were like little ants, they would come out and repair it in an evening, in an evening. And I saw the determination and the sacrifice that they were making. And I thought to myself, we’re gonna have to kill every one of these people. And are we willing to do that. But in retrospect, I don’t think we would have had to kill every one of those people would have just had to put troops into North Vietnam, which we were always reluctant to do. So and I also I saw a whole battalion to accompany size unit of female, North Vietnamese in uniform marching, armed with rifles and sidearms marching down south. We went to Vinh the 57 days, took us to Vinh, which is a railroad terminal south of Hanoi. And we all got on a train V-i-n-h. It’s in North Vietnam, of course. And there was an operation going on simultaneously In South Vietnam, called Lom Song 719, which was a South Vietnamese operation. And it was a disaster and hundreds of them were captured. And they were being put on the train with us to arrive the last 180 miles to Hanoi.

[00:30:20] (HAL) Train went at 10 miles an hour. So it took and we were in box cars. And that was a little worried for my safety because I was putting this car with all these South Vietnamese ARVN. Guys, there was no guard. And I remember the North Vietnamese were giving them things like cigarettes, and they would chew hoy for a pack of cigarettes to Hoi meant turn their coat and fight on the other side. And there were several, not a lot, but several, who were just after being captured, would take a couple of packs of cigarettes and turn their coat. And that was a real revelation for me, because we had been steadfast. We Americans had been steadfast. And we have been in a camp adjacent to ARVNs, and they were steadfast, the ones that we had been captured with, were extremely steadfast. And they helped us a lot. They really helped us a lot. Of course, this is in the 68, 69, 70. And the Salaam Song 719 are happened in in April 71. It was a different time. But all of those things made impressions on me.

[00:31:31] (HOST) Can you talk a little bit about the circumstances of your release?

[00:31:35] (HAL) The War ended! The War ended on January 27 1973. I think and most of the people who were captured at the time think it was because President Nixon implemented the Christmas bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. The Vietnamese Americans were in this negotiation, it was on and off. And then there was just widespread bombing of Hanoi in December from December on they have the dates a little wrong. December 18, to December 30 or 29. And after that the Peace was signed, quickly. January 27.

(HOST) How did you find out the war was over?

(HAL) First of all, we heard the guard you know, I’d been captured five and a half years I understood a little Vietnamese quite a bit actually. So, we heard the guards talking amongst themselves and they played portable radios. They had them outside ourselves playing portable radios. And they announced it today or the next day. Then they opened the camp up until the Christmas bombing. We were confined to ourselves a cells had six men. And we could not speak to anybody else. And if they caught us, they really tortured us punished us beat us hung us up. It was so we couldn’t speak to anyone. We had a tap code on the walls. But after the Christmas bombing, they moved us from the prison. We were in to the Hanoi Hilton, they opened it up. They put a volleyball court I mean a basketball goal up, they put a ping pong table up, they increased our rations. They fattened us up. I gained like 20 pounds between the Christmas bombing and the time I came home. It was completely different change in attitude. And they opened the place up so that we could talk to each other. They gave us checker sets and chess sets and decks of cards. It was totally different experience.

(HOST) And how did you get out of there, finally?

(HAL) We were sent home in groups. My group came home on 16 March 1973. They gave us little uniforms to come home. And we’d been wearing these pajamas that were striped. And they gave us a little pair of pants and a short sleeve shirt and windbreaker and a little a wall bag, which is like a little gym bag. And they actually gave us a toothbrush and toothpaste and a pack of Vietnamese cigarettes. It’s kind of funny because they never gave us anything while we were captured. Time came for release. And what was really interesting to me, we had a senior ranking officer I’d love for the listeners to hear this and famous Ted Guy. He’s, he’s passed away now. Colonel Guy was Air Force. And we didn’t get to see him much. And he tried to lead us clandestinely by codes through the walls and talking through the wall. And every time he got caught doing this, he was tortured terribly and had to go on the camp radio and apologize. And you could tell he was being tortured and beaten, and telling us to cease and desist and doing the stuff we were doing. So we’d all been captured five years or more. And Colonel Guy and I had not even seen until the war was over. He lives up in the airport Gia Lam airport, it’s about 40 guys, and he says to us, and get this, this is after five years of capture. He said, I want every man to hold his AWOL bag in his left hand. I want every man to unzip his windbreaker 1/3 of the way down. I want you to walk out there, like soldiers with dignity and pride and honor. It was very meaningful to me. So, it didn’t work because they called us individually, we didn’t go together, but he didn’t know that. So, they called my name individually, and I go out and the first thing I see is this gigantic C-141, USAF on the fuselage and the American flag on the tail. And I almost fainted. I was absolutely overwhelmed. And there was a brigadier general in class a uniform. And he welcomed me home and he said, welcome home major Kushner and I’d been promoted, which I didn’t even know. And we shook hands and he hugged me and there were tears coming down his, his face and he said, We’re glad to see you, doctor. We got on the plane, we flew to the Philippines. And we were in the Philippines for three or four days and they gave me temporary crowns on my teeth, which were still all broken and fit me with glasses and

[00:36:23] (HAL) fitted us with uniforms and briefed us about what had happened while we were gone. Let us call our family’s took us to the PX at Clark field and let us buy gifts for our families. And then we came home and we stopped in Hawaii for a day. And then we flew to my home of record which was the hospital closest to my home of record which was Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania. They flew, flew me to Andrews Air Force Base and then airlifted me by helicopter there where I met my wife, my then wife, and we are subsequently divorced and she passed away last year 2019 and my mom and dad and my brothers came later the day later or two days later, and I was in the hospital off and on for four months I had four surgeries and was treated for malnutrition and malaria and dysentery. I had a lot of stuff wrong with me. Then I went back to duty. I came home in March I went back to duty in August. One of the things I’m most proud about I am not proud of being captured. I’m proud of the way I behave while I was captured. And I’m very proud that I came back. I put it behind me. I got retrained, the army was very good to me. They retrained me in the field that I wanted to be trained in. And I had a very productive, fulfilling and successful medical practice. I’ve gone on missions all over the world, doing cataract surgery, mostly cataract, some other stuff, cross eyed children, ocular plastics, things like that. But I have no PTSD. I don’t, I don’t claim that got some scars, bullet wounds and stuff like that. But I think I’ve had a pretty normal life. And I do not let this experience define me. It was a bump in the road of my life.


[00:38:45] (HOST) This interview was heavily edited for time in order to fit it into this podcast format. If you’d like to watch my entire Zoom interview with Hal Kushner, you’ll find it on our YouTube channel. And just a quick reminder, our continuing efforts to honor those who served are fueled by donations from people like you. If you’d like to help, you can donate any amount that feels comfortable at and we’ll be grateful. See you in two weeks for Episode Five, Finding faces.

[00:39:21] (RYAN KERN) More times than not they’ve needed this. They need to talk about this. they’ve kept it suppressed for too long.

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