Gnat Grudge here, reporting for the Stars and Stripes. I’m here at the 44th Medical Unit Hospital in Sa Dec talking with Majors Margaret Houlihan and Frank Burns who treated Lt. Kerry on Christmas Eve.
Q: Is it true that Lt. Kerry was unconscious when he arrived at the 44th?
FB: Yes, Lt. Kerry had suffered a concussion when he was thrown from his vehicle.
Q: Did his swift boat hit a mine?
FB: No, he was riding his bike and lost control.
Q: Lt. Kerry was riding a bike?
MH: Yes, a Serotta … an Italian bike.
Q: Was his injury serious?
MH: No, he regained consciousness as soon as he arrived at the 44th.
Q: Major Burns, what about the shell fragment?
FB: So what if it was an eggshell? It could have blinded me! I won that Purple Heart fair and square.
MH: Not you, Frank, Lt. Kerry!
FB: Oh, him.
Q: Did you operate on Lt. Kerry to remove the fragment?
FB: Well, I would have if the fragment hadn’t fallen off his arm.
Q: Where is Lt. Kerry now?
MH: On his rounds.
Q: His rounds?
FB: Yes, every day he visits each soldier’s bedside and reassures them that he’s fine and not to worry about him.
MH: He’s wonderful! My nurses and I call him Big John.
FB: Margaret, you promised me you wouldn’t look!
MH: I’m a nurse, Frank! It’s my job to look.
Q: Then Lt. Kerry is well liked here by the other soldiers.
FB: Wellllll … Ho-Jon, the camp houseboy, did give him that floppy green hat he had found.
Q: When will Lt. Kerry be well enough to leave the 44th ?
FB: Oh, he’s not still here because of his injuries.
Q: Then why is he here?
This is Gnat Grudge, here at the 44th, signing off for now.
Originally written August 17, 2004