"Doc" Fred Gardner
HM1(SS) Chu Lai 66-67

Hospital Corps School at Great Lakes in 1965. After graduation, was sent to New London Naval Hospital. A natural for me being a "bubblehead" with intentions of returning to the boats.  Got orders to Field Medicine School 9/8/66 (my wife's birthday).~Fred Gardner HM1(SS) Chu Lai 66-67

Doc Fred Gardner was a good friend of Larry Yoder, FMF Corpsman with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines who was killed during Operation Union II May '67. Doc Gardner's tribute to Larry is posted on Doc Larry Yoder's Memorial page.

Left:  My wife, Pat, and I the day I left for Camp LeJeune for Field Medicine School. My wife and I grew up together, literally. She's an RN, medicine and helping people is a trait we share even though I have been out of the medical field for a long time.
Right: The day I returned from Viet Nam.


Sgt. Brandt, my DI at FMF School at Camp LeJeune. A lot of Corpsmen made it back because of him. Doc Colucco reminded me the other day of his saying; "Don't Panic, Perform."  I forgot the words, but not the lesson. He can be proud; most of us made it back; all of us did our jobs better because of his leadership. I hope he is enjoying the good life somewhere; he certainly earned it.  Semper Fi , Sarge. 

That's me on the right, and unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the Doc I am with. We were all taking pictures to send home to our wives or girlfriends and I didn't do a good job of writing down the names of the guys. I hope he made it back and maybe somebody out there remembers his name. 


Field photo taken while at FMF school. Larry Yoder (KIA May 2, '67) is one of the guys in the background, but I can't remember which one. Larry was the guy who helped me find my first apartment so my new bride could join me in Connecticut. We went through field med school in Camp Lejeune, and became Marines together. We landed in Danang as part of the same group of replacements. That was the last time I saw him. 


We told Doc Colucco we would mail him home to The Bronx. He told us "No thank you," he was staying. Bad choice, Doc. 

Left: Doc Colucco with the fishing group. That's Doc John Alvarez on the left. Can't remember the other guys.
Right: Doc Colucco with a crab he caught down by the beach at Camp LeJeune. Doc Ron Palmeri is the other guy in the Navy dungarees on the left. Can't remember the other Doc.


Doc John Colucco, WIA with 1/5 Marines near Tam Ky. Got shot in the butt on his birthday while patching some of his Marines. John and I found each other via the internet boards, and now have a early morning conversation every day. This photo was taken after coming in off our last training march. Sgt Brandt worked us hard that day.

Left: Taken while on patrol with a Swift Boat going up the river to Binh Son, south of Chu Lai. Later in the day on the way back down the river, we gave them a good dousing; pissed them off, but war is hell. Center: Passed these guys on the way to Binh Son on a Swift Boat patrol  Checked them for weapons then let them go. Right: Taken from a Swift Boat while on patrol south of Chu Lai.

A couple of local villager photos taken while on a MED Cap around the ville of An Tan near Chu Lai.

Photo of an Ontos, just because I always thought they were neat, and they offered great covering fire. Ontos means "The Thing" in Greek. It carries six 106 mm recoilless rifles, used where it's too cramped for a tank.


Left: L/Cpl. Warren Lupe in An Tan, near Chu Lai. Lupe was a Cajun from Louisiana, and a great guy.  He thought we talked funny. Right: Doc Joe Hollinquest watching a convoy go north to Tam Ky. Notice he is unarmed; not smart Doc. 


Prisoners of War

Left: Captured VC being interrogated.
Right: We told this guy if he ran we would shoot him. He paid attention because he didn't move a muscle.


Left: These VC were captured near Tam Ky in May of 1967. 
Right: All packaged up and ready to go to Danang. Don't know if they made it.

A photo from my submarine days. It is a dolphin riding the bow wave of the USS Skipjack SSN 585 when we were entering the port of Charleston, SC. 

USS Theodore Roosevelt SSBN 600 leaving Holy Loch, Scotland on Polaris patrol  in 1969. The numbers are painted out to confuse any bad guys who may be tracking ship movements.  We probably didn't fool anybody, but we sure tried. We were normally gone for 65-70 days on these patrols.  Sometimes longer. 

This is the last submarine I served aboard.  It is the one I went to after returning from Viet Nam.  By coincidence, I located two former shipmates from those days and spoke with one of them on the phone.  After 30 years, we picked right up where we left off. 

(FMF Submarine title by Redeye)