was made to stabilize the patients in preparation for transfer to a ship with medical Doctors and specialized equipment.Simultaneously, while this was taking place, others were carrying out all the necessary steps for withdrawing from the beach. Not only was it urgent that we reach a hospital ship, we were still under fire. This operation was made more difficult because all equipment on the bridge, including the voice tube, had been destroyed. Every crewman responded to this emergency with a high degree of expertise and bravery. Much higher than anyone could have expected. The grief and shock were suppressed and each man performed his duties at heroic levels. Only when the situation had been brought under control and the wounded transferred to a more complete medical facility, did some give into their feelings. We had lost 7 shipmates and friends. Two silver stars were later awarded for that day's action.…perhaps others were deserved…. Later.…some of us watched as the torn and bloody life jacket, cut off of our skipper, was thrown overboard. It sank slowly out of sight, pulled down by the weight of imbedded shrapnel. Though the Captain was horribly wounded, the riddled jacket had stopped enough metal to spare his life. He survived and so had the ship, to go on to the other events that fate had decreed. Some were traumatic….but none rose to the emotional level of this "the baptism by fire" of our first invasion.
EARL JOHNSON QM2/c
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