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"When somebody said, 'We have a job to do,' people pitched in and got it done, under trying and difficult circumstances." (Audio interview, 1:15:09)

   David D. Dryden
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War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: 82nd Medical Detachment; 587th Medical Detachment; 571st Medical Detachment
Service Location: Soc Trang, Vietnam; Camp Zama, Japan
Rank: Colonel
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In many cases, military medicine involves not only treating combat-related casualties, but also getting them out of harm's way in the first place. Medical Evacuation (MedEvac) helicopter pilots flying missions in Vietnam faced enemy fire as well as treacherous terrain and weather conditions as they retrieved and evacuated the wounded. One such pilot was Colonel David Dryden, who served nearly thirty years with the Army Medical Service Corps, including two tours in Vietnam. Stationed first in Soc Trang and then in Phu Bai, his time in country involved logging over 1,000 hours of combat related flight. In his interview, he speaks eloquently about the difficulties and dangers of flying MedEvac missions, the emotional impact of transporting and treating the wounded, and the tight-knit community of a military hospital.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (10 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (79 min.)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (10 items)
Arrival in Vietnam; assignment to Soc Trang; serving with the old guard. (01:35) Memorable incident involving a helicopter accident. (07:08) Interesting missions flown out of Soc Trang; description of flying in the Mekong Delta. (05:04)
Living conditions; entertainment; feeling an overall sense of dedication to the mission. (02:26) Transfer from Vietnam to the US for further training; establishing a new unit at Camp Zama, Japan. (01:54) Activities during deployment to Japan; importance of mission there. (02:37)
Becoming commander of a detachment near Hue Phu Bai. (03:15) Evacuating people from the no-fly zone; flying patients to the Navy medical ships. (04:57) Stress caused by difficult missions and seeing casualties; living conditions. (04:50)
Returning from Vietnam; assignment to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infections Diseases. (02:08)  

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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