by P.L. Rodgers
I was 20 in 1969, a PFC. in the US Army, serving in Viet Nam. As a member of the 1st. Battalion 22nd. Infantry/ 4th Infantry Division. I had been in Viet Nam for some 8 1/2 months & had been in the field " Humping the Booneys" most of that time. During that time we had seen heavy combat several times, even being fired on by our own Helicopters twice & Artillery once.
Having been wounded twice and spending a few weeks in the 8th field Hospital in Nah Trang, only to be sent back to the field to finish my tour, it was good to be back with my friends in D
We had been doing Ambush & Search patrols near Duc Lap, in the central highlands for more then 3 weeks ( I think ) in areas that had been de-foliated with Agent Orange. The trees were all dead in 3 to 5 mile long swatches through out the area. We had been out of water, & were catching & drinking rain water in our helmets dripping from trees burnt & blackened by Napalm. I can't tell you what happened after that time first hand. But I later woke up in a hospital bed with total amnesia.
While on air transport, some time later, I ran into one of my buddies from my unit. I don't think I ever knew what his name was, but we all called him "Cochise" because he kind of looked like an
indian. A lot of us had nicknames; mine was "Super-Pickle", taken from a radio
character I used to listen to in Oregon. He told me some of the events that happened shortly before I was taken from the field by
Medi-Vac. It seems I had had 5 major-motor grand mal seizures, probably from the water we had to drink. I can guess that I was out of it for a few days before the seizures and afterwards spent some time in a coma. I dont know how long.
I feel I know what its like to be a new born baby. There is no thought, no recognition of sound or faces, a blank tape is what I was. Like a video camera someone just turned on and left there on the table. I remember white clad faces coming by looking at me and making sounds. Still, No Thoughts, nothing. I dont know how many days went by, when I heard a sound that stirred emotion, a feeling, of recognition. No thoughts like we would think with words " What is that sound" just a feeling. But my mind was starting to work on it. as the days went
by,(again, I cant tell you how many) the feeling got stronger. I can only guess its like a Blind & Deaf person, suddenly getting there hearing back, hearing a familiar sound and trying to move towards it in the darkness. I still saw the faces coming by, but it didn't mean anything
Until I heard the sound again, this time I felt very strongly that I wanted to see what that sound was. Still no thoughts yet, just a very powerful feeling of recognition. I struggled to sit up, looking out of my bed for the first time, my muscles weak from being immobile for so long.
I saw in the cubicle across from me a television set, Armed Forces Television was broadcasting twice a day STAR TREK. I was an avid fan before going to Viet Nam & it was the music I heard that both brought me out of a coma and started my mind working again. I sat there and suddenly the fog in my head cleared, I said out loud " Star Trek". Heads snapped around and I heard voices I could understand, saying " He's awake , He's Talking".
Suddenly I was surrounded by Doctors and Nurses, I promptly threw up
stomach bile all over and passed out. When I awoke again, the Doctors were there, and started asking me questions, I could understand them, but I didn't have any answers to their questions. However, as time went by my mind cleared and I regained my speech and most of my memories. I have wanted to thank Mr. Rodenberry, Mr. Shatner, and the rest of the cast for 30 years. I hope this reaches all with my heartfelt thanks. I am still given a warm feeling when I hear the music and most of the movies and TV shows are an emotional trip for me.
Very Truly, Your Star Trek Fan, P L Rodgers :-)