Navy Medicine in Vietnam: Oral Histories from Dien Bien Phu to the Fall of Saigon
Jan K. Herman. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc, 2009. 357 pp. Appen. Gloss. Notes. Bib. Index. $55.
Jan Herman, historian of the Navy Medical Department, has done most impressive work with this moving collection of first-hand accounts chronicles Navy Medical Corps service in Vietnam. It begins with the rescue of French survivors of the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and ends with the evacuation of South Vietnamese refugees after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Herman includes stories of care rendered by surgeons and nurses and the healing process. As the preface explains, the astounding success of Navy medicine during this period is backed by solid statistics. In 1968, of every 100 Marines wounded and given emergency treatment on the battlefield and care in rear-echelon hospitals, only 1.5 percent died of their wounds.