Britton Bell, Vietnam War Veteran, Facebook Friend.
Maturity is the capacity to empathize with another’s drastically different experience.
I hope this post helps to do that.
I ask the zanily funny, straight-talking Britton a few difficult questions.
I enlisted in the US Navy in June 1966, and had a three year enlistment.
- What you remember about your Comrades
I was a Hospital Corpsman, and met some of the most inspiring guys – mostly Marines – who were hospitalized for months, and sometimes a few years because of the severity of their wounds. I have more stories about them than Carter has little pills.
I lost more than 50 friends in the Viet Nam war … Marines and many Navy Corpsmen. That is something no one can forget – every year I remember them as if it were still 1966.
- Worst thing about being a Veteran
The worst thing ?When I traveled in uniform and when I applied for jobs after my discharge, using my little experience (considering I entered right after high school graduation) was being called “A Government Paid Whore”.
This happened more times than I can recount. Eventually I left my time in the Navy off my resume – and was offered every job I applied/interviewed for.
- Toughest thing after the War ended.
Going to the Viet Nam War Memorial and finding the names of those I knew who were killed in action was the most difficult, painful, emotional experience for me.
Of the 58,220 names on the Wall at the Viet Nam War Memorial in D.C., 638 belong to Navy Hospital Corpsmen who were killed in action — more than in any other war except World War II. I knew more than 50 of those boys personally.
- About considerations to a Veteran.
I do not and never have expected anything from anyone because I served in the military. My Duty, my Pride, my Honor.
Anything you want to say
On a Lighter Note,
the BACRONYM (yes – bacronym) WAVES – after it was used by the Naval Reserve when it accepted women into their service it came to mean:
WAVES: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Servicemany years later, it was “changed” in fun to mean:
WAVES: Women Are Very Essential Sometimes!!!!
How I met Britton
Gabby had a really bad accident, and as Britton talked about the difficult legal/emotional fight about the accident, I found myself drawn to her and wrote to her and we emailed for a while. Later, I (or she) found her on Facebook and became friends. She has a great pick-myself-up- attitude which inspired me through the years.
This interview is in her honor as a Fiesty, Brave, Tough, Kind, Gentle, Faithful, Honor-bound woman.
So ready to take on so much.. and still laugh it out.
Love you, Britton! You are a hero!
And it has nothing to do with the war.
Also the founder of Britton’s Unique Boutique, BUB, Fine, organic skincare products – her lifetime passion! (labeling done). Link will be updated.
Britton Talks About her War Experience:
(Some of this may be in the speech in the Veteran’s Day Ceremony, where she presents a tribute to Navy Hospital Corpsmen, many of whom served with the SEALS and Marines in country and especially the 638 who were killed in action.)
” Two million women have served in defense of our nation since the Revolutionary War, the Navy providing all medical services to the Marines since that time.
In June 1966 I enlisted in the Women’s branch, “WAVES” of The US Naval Reserve (estd 1942), at the height of the Viet Nam “Conflict”, because I wanted the GI Bill to help toward Medical School.
Only 38 out of 80 I started boot camp with, were graduated and sent to other duty stations.
I was thrilled when I got my orders for Great Lakes Naval Training Center because I was going to be a WAVE Hospital Corpsman.
The first Navy Corpsmen went into DaNang with their Marines in 1965. Corps School, a 34-week school, with rising casualties, we were pushed to our limits in 17 weeks to be fully trained.
Less than 10% of my class were WAVES and were sent to non-combat zones. The majority of my male classmates were serving “in-country” by early spring of 1967.
Special units, such as the Navy SEALS and Marine reconnaissance units took Corpsmen with them.
Hospital corpsmen in Vietnam cared for over 70,000 Navy and Marine Corps combat casualties. Of the 58,220 names on the Wall at the Viet Nam War Memorial in D.C., 638 belong to Navy Hospital Corpsmen who were killed in action — more than in any other war except World War II. I knew more than 50 of those boys personally.
From 1965 until we pulled our troops out of Nam in 1972, 30 hospital corpsmen received the Navy Cross; 127 the Silver Star Medal; 290 the Bronze Star Medal; and 4,563 earned the Purple Heart.”
The most dangerous role of the hospital corpsman in Vietnam was in the field, as medical Sailors.
These Sailors patrolled with their Marines, risked the same dangers, and rendered the aid that saved the lives of thousands.
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial, located at the Ceremonial Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, is the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America through history.