Stanley L. Davis, MD, Army

Stanley L Davis, MD

I was 29 years old, in the middle of my internal medicine residency, and the father of newly born twin daughters, when I received notification of my commission in the Army Medical Corps, aka drafted. This was not convenient, but I loved being a physician and I knew that most likely would be practicing internal medicine during my two-year obligation.

After ten months as an internist at Ireland Army Hospital at Ft. Knox I was sent to the 71st Evac. Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam located in the Central Highlands area. This was a newly commissioned 450 bed hospital with all medical specialties covered and was designed for the acute care of combat injuries and medical illness. I was responsible for a 50-bed medicine ward as well as daily assignments involving the emergency/admissions area. Occasionally I assisted in surgical operations and sometimes did minor surgeries.

I treated many conditions which were typical of the Far East, including malaria, (7000 admissions in the time I was there), parasitic intestinal disorders, STDs, and skin conditions of the tropics. I was always very busy and that made the time go quickly.

The battle of Dak To, November 1967, was close by, the largest fixed enemy encounter at that time. It was over in five days, but at a horrendous cost, 379 American boys killed and 2000 wounded. The mountain top was abandoned three weeks later, but it was declared a victory! The 71st Evac. was very involved as it was two months later with the Tet Offensive.

The first of three rocket attacks on the hospital happened in late January and resulted in three wards and a supply building severely damaged. Several troops/patients were killed. General Westmoreland visited but offered no encouragement. Later that week Tet occurred. Three weeks later Westmoreland was relieved of his command and later failed upward.

The twelve months I was in-country were the busiest and most costly of the war. I was told at Ft. Knox that the purpose of our being in Vietnam was "to win the hearts and minds of the people". It was more complex than that, but 1 was very proud of my service, my fellow physicians, and those who supported us, the 71st Evac. Hospital, and the men who fought the war.

The hero of my family was my wife Sally, who alone and without much help raised our 18-month-old twin daughters.

IMG_Davis MD, Stanley L_edited

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