Hawaii 2008: Visiting Doc

Photos from May 2008 reunion in Hawaii (and a couple from our Vietnam tour)

I traveled to Hawaii for a week in May to see my friend Richard "Doc" Morse, an Army combat medic in Vietnam. We spent three or four months within about 20 feet of each other in 1968, but lost touch for more than 38 years. We were in Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds" in the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. I was the infantry platoon leader's radio operator (RTO) and Doc was the medic. He needed to be close to the radio all the time in case someone got wounded. (Click on images for larger version.)

 KO and Doc in 2008 (we all had nicknames in Vietnam; I was "KO the RTO" from the initials of my first and middle names)



KO, Doc, Freddy in September 1968 on a bunker at Fire Support Base Crockett, located about 5 miles east of Cu Chi and about 20 miles NW of Saigon. We were in Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment (Wolfhounds). We had just gotten off a night ambush patrol and were probably taking it easy for a few minutes after breakfast. The bunker we're sitting on was our home for several weeks. Freddy was hit by enemy mortar fragments a week or two after this photo was taken, but recovered.


Doc's father did this drawing from a photograph (below) I took in early December 1968 near Fire Support Base Reed, which was about 40 miles NW of Saigon. Doc is carrying a heavy full stretcher as well as his medic's bag, and you can sense his weariness by the bowed head as he nears the end of a long patrol. 

FSB Reed was located in the trees ahead of the soldiers. 

The basecamp now looks like this (Google Maps image). The base was located in the disturbed area in the center of the photo; the trees, now gone, were at the junction between the top rice paddies and the disturbed area. Doc was standing about at the upper left edge when I took the photo toward the southeast. The buildings on the left are new (probably a school).

Back in Hawaii: The Kiluaea SO2 eruption taken from about 9,000 feet up on the side of Mauna Loa. The plume to the right in the distance is the latest eruption site. Out of view in the clouds to the left of the photo is the location where lava is flowing out of the Pu'u O'o vent to the sea. That area was closed when I was there because the eruption was blowing fine glass particles into the air along with nasty gas.

Kiluaea SO2 eruption closeup

Volcano fog (or smog) (VOG) near Volcano, HI, a few miles from Doc's house. Most of the time the trade winds blow the plume south, away from Doc's neighborhood. It isn't as bad as it looks, although people with respiratory problems are encouraged to stay indoors when the wind blows the wrong direction.

Hapuna Beach sunset. Hapuna Beach is on the Kona (western) side of the Big Island, and is often ranked in the top 10 beaches in the world. 

Another Hapuna Beach sunset

Black sand sea turtle beach; tourists swim with the green sea turtles that eat seaweed in the bay.

Another beautiful beach about 15 miles SE of Hilo. This one is off the radar, and there wasn't another person (tourist or local) in sight.