Major shielded his eyes against the bright sun and moved his body so he was now touching. He raised his arm to point and brushed her right breast. She moved away.
“ See the first C-7 landing? You and I will meet the plane. I’ll introduce you to the infamous Air Force Captain. She’ll keep you on your toes and tease you for being ‘army scum” or something like that.”
Dawson and Dee watched the twin-engine Caribou; with its green and brown camouflage markings land. A second and then a third landed. She was on her own, separated from her nursing colleagues.
“Where has this plane come from?” Dee asked.
“It’s made several stops already at scattered Casualty Staging Units. I’ll share patient status with the Captain; a five hour flight can be hell if meds are not in place.”
The dust swirled around the planes as they landed.
“Lieutenant, I want you to escort those that can walk. Give them your ‘Sandra Dee’ smile, but don’t use it all up. I intend to have that smile over drinks tonight.”
The Major shook hands with her and they studied a clipboard chart.
“There you are, I’ve been looking for you.”
The friendly medic joined Dee.
“I’m Vince by the way. Maybe we could have a coffee or a drink?”
Dee faced him.
“Vince I’ve only arrived in Vietnam today. I can’t make plans. I just want to shower and sleep.”
“Here they come. Just ask if they need assistance. Tell them you might be around to write a letter or get them something they need for the flight. Feel you way, don’t make them feel weak.”
“Thank you, Vince. Your help has been appreciated.”
Vince had been correct. The wounded soldiers carried themselves with dignity. Some walked with bandaged body parts. Dee noticed two men stride towards her, one with an amputated hand, the other with an arm amputated above the elbow. All men greeted her, even the men on crutches and those in wheelchairs. They wanted to know her name, from which state she came, had she heard any baseball scores? For the most part, they were cheerful and optimistic, at least on the outside. Dee laughed at their jokes and pick up lines and got hugged each time she tried to maneuver them into the bus. They apparently had no interest in the fact she was an officer and they were enlisted men. She was a beautiful woman; they were warriors and she was their reward for being alive.
The walk-ons loaded, Dee looked towards the first of litter carried wounded. Major Dawson and the Air Force Captain had asked the orderlies carrying the stretchers to stop.
They walked down the line confirming the patients and checking meds. The major’s
mobile phone rang.
“I need a few more moments.”
The Captain turned towards Dee and beckoned for her. As Dee approached she got a closer look at the woman. She was native American with large dark eyes and short black hair. Her gaze was like an x-ray and Dee felt that somehow the woman could read her deepest thoughts.
Major Dawson looked up as Dee approached
“Captain, this is the first woman I am going to dance with tonight.” He roared off into the dust.
Dee looked uncomfortable. The Captain raised an eyebrow
Dee sprung to attention and saluted.
The Captain returned the salute with a smirk ““I like the respect from an army type, but honestly Lieutenant, haven’t you noticed we’re in a war zone. Now, quickly attend those litters.”
“Air Force bitch.” Dee thought to herself.