It takes rare dedication and discipline to continually treat the wounded
Lieutenant Colonel Jean O’Neil OAM, OStJ was a Matron of the First Australian Field Hospital at Vung Tau, South Vietnam. She died in 2004 aged 74 years of age.
One of her Nursing Sisters tells the story that she, having only arrived in Vietnam some days prior, was involved in her first amputation operation. After the operation Major O’Neil heard the Sister crying in her room. On confronting the Sister and being told that the operation had severely upset her, Major O’Neil berated her and said, ”That was the first one, if you want to stay here you had better get used to it!”, and walked away.
Some time later, the Sister approached Major O’Neil’s quarters to apologise for her behavior, but stopped when the Sister heard Major O’Neil crying. The Sister realised then that both she and the Matron were only human after all and that neither would ‘get used to it’. The Sister stayed. Thank God!
RAAMC Corporal Mick O’Sullivan displayed that same sense of dedication and responsibility when he assisted Lt Col Gary McKay when as a young Platoon Commander, he was shot through the shoulder. Mick held him all night under enemy fire to stop the bleeding and to prevent him from going into shock, thank God. Mick was later awarded the Military Medal for that and other actions on the battlefield that day. He later became Command RSM of Western Command.
RAAMC Corporal Wayne (Sam) Brown, thank God, continually rescued soldiers and treated them whilst under enemy fire. Sam was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery.
Corporals Dusty Miller and Dick Foster, both Infantry medics, were each Mentioned in Dispatches for their bravery under fire. Many other medics deservedly received bravery awards; many others undeservedly, did not.
Bravery and fear are not unknown to the combat soldier; that is his lot, but it takes rare courage and discipline to leave relative safety and to purposely place oneself in jeopardy, oft times between the enemy and the wounded, in order to treat the wounded and to save a mate. It takes rare dedication and discipline to continually treat the wounded, the injured and the dying in hospitals.
The Medics did, THANK GOD.