After trying to recover from the body bag identification process, the nurses watched the medic approach them. “What next?” exhaled Susan.
Officers, “I’m sorry, your next duty is to load the incoming wounded into waiting buses. Now that the coffins are in the hold of the cargo plane and out of sight, we can assist the wounded to board.”
The nurses stood.
The noise alone informed the nurses that a series of small planes and choppers were landing.
The medic stopped and smiled.
“The Captain in charge is Air Force. I know there’s friendly competition between the Army and the Air Force, so let’s hold our own, that is, anything goes short of insubordination. Remember, she pulls rank!”
The nurses laughed, happy to ease the tense feelings for a few moments. What visions would the next duty bring? They watched the medic walking beside Dee and engaging her in conversation. They kept their distance. When Dee looked behind her, she was met with her companions giving her the ‘thumbs up’ sign.
Shielding her eyes from the glaring sun, Dee recognized the outline of unarmed Huey Evac choppers.
Unarmed Huey Evac choppers that will be accompanied by Cobras.
Hovering above them, gunners in armed Cobra choppers scanned the horizon for enemy attacks on the vulnerable Hueys carrying the wounded.
Cobra armed chopper with machine guns on sides.
A flight surgeon suddenly appeared and singled Dee out.
“Sorry about the body tagging, I just got out of surgery. I need to talk to the Air Force Nurse to make sure each individual has the right meds. Five hours is a long time, if you’re a wounded soldier confined to a bumpy plane ride.”
Dee noticed his intense gaze and she blushed. She had been blessed with natural blond hair and blue eyes. These gems came from her family of Dutch immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania
“My, looking at you I can declare that you’re the prettiest female I’ve seen in a while.”
“I intend to be known as a good nurse.” Dee replied.
“Yes, of course, you do. But, let me tell you the work is relentless and you’ll have to play if you want to keep your sanity. And, I’d sure like to play with you!”
“Pardon.” Dee showed in her voice that she was incensed.
“Play volleyball,” he replied giving her a wink and a sheepish grin.
‘We’re waiting for our deployment orders.” Dee said casually.
“I heard you’re bunking in for at least tonight. That means a night of fun before you go up-country!”
Dee said, “We should have received our orders today. “We were seized before we could make the arrivals station.”
The doc grinned. “War has a habit of destroying plans and dreams. But, we cope and there is always time for fun. Say, promise me you’ll drop into the Officers’ Mess. There’ll be drinks, music and dancing and, with your looks, men lined up or fighting to meet you!”
The sound of choppers interrupted the conversation. Suddenly the surgeon became the Officer in Command.
“Dee, you will work with me. You three nurses will work with the medics and any Air Force nurses that arrive.”
Dee felt uncomfortable. Officers on duty always addressed each other by rank.
“Yes, Major Dawson.”
The surgeon turned to all present.
“Let’s get the wounded into the buses with the minimum of stress. Remember, smiles and kind words are what’s needed now. Don’t grimace or turn away. Body language can destroy a man’s spirit. I know you will do your best.”
The surgeon took Dee aside and reached for her hand. He shook it, but then squeezed it several times, his eyes glaring boldly into his.
“I’m Major Dawson. Larry to you, when we’re in the Officers’ Mess.”
Dee pulled her hand away; but as she stepped backwards, he moved forward. He was practically breathing upon her.