One week after finishing Field Medical Service School at CamPen, I was aboard APA 45 Henrico headed for RVN via Okinawa. I roomed with 3 other O-3s, one of who had red patches on the outside of the knees of his utilities. I mentioned at dinner that I would be open for sick call at 0800 the next morning. I arrived at the ships dental office and there was a line of troops down the passageway which really surprised me. My dental tech and I worked as quickly as we could to care for all the patients that day, most of whom had the same strange little squares on their utilities. At dinner that night, I casually asked the group if they knew what the little squares were for?? The Captain I had met who also had the little patches spoke up quickly and said “Hey Doc, didn’t they tell you that those are the guys with VD and you have to be REAL careful with them!!” My helpful and friendly dining companions all chimed in to confirm the need for special precautions when dealing with these contaminated Marines!! Of course I had to appear as un-squid like as possible, so I put on a grim face and said thanks. By this time the battalion surgeon was in on the scam and he advised me to show up at sick bay in morning for appropriate antibiotics. The next morning as I headed to sick bay, the XO met me in the passageway and said he’d heard on “my accidental expose”. It was kind of quiet when I went into to office considering the number of people in the room when Dr Tom said to drop my trou for the shots. As I got thing ready to drop, the Captain who also had the patches came in the room and yelled “Hey, Doc,turn around!” And there he was with the plywood insignia for SHORE PARTYand the room was filled with hysterical folks leaning on each other ……laughing the asses off!!! It’s just about impossible to do anything but realize that I’d been HAD by these screw balls. A great group of men with a fitting introduction to the Corps.
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