On the morning of the 18th, four medics were
bringing down a wounded man on a stretcher—a
casualty from the night attack on Malinta
Hill. Suddenly, they came under machinegun
fire at the vulnerable point. They panicked,
dropped the stretcher with the casualty, and
made a run for it down the hill. Col.
Postelthwait pointed to the wounded man and
shouted, “Someone get that man!
I was closest, so I ran up the trail. It
wasn’t a conscious decision to take a risk
or to do something heroic.
The Colonel had ordered something to be
done, and I was in the position to do it. As
I reached the wounded man on the stretcher,
machinegun bullets dusted up near my left
boot. Even though he had certainly already
been treated, my training automatically
kicked in. I turned the man over. There was
a gaping bloody wound in his chest. I pulled
out a sulfa packet, ripped it open and
poured the powder on the wound. A few other
men, including Frank Alvarez had followed me
up the trail. We all grabbed the stretcher
and brought the wounded man down to the aid
station. All the while, we were under fire,
but no one else was hit.
Decades later, Frank said that one of the
medics had been hit, which had caused the
panic, and that we also rescued him as well.
It could have happened that way, although I
don’t remember seeing the other wounded man.
After we got down, I heard that the medics
wanted our names because they were going to
put all of us in for decorations. “Hey,
said the adjutant, “I’m
putting you in for a Silver Star.”
I replied. I didn’t think much of it at the
time, because it really didn’t mean much to
me one way or the other, and I soon forgot
about the whole incident. For me it was just
another day of following orders and trying
to stay alive at the same time. I later
heard that the stretcher casualty didn’t