OASIS ó Quar had never permitted his people to accept medicine from
the American doctors. Today his daughter lay shivering and convulsing with
fever. Montagnard medicine had failed óhis daughter would die.
The civil affairs team of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry had in the
past encountered difficulties in reaching the villagers of PIei Cham Neh.
Small children were the only ones who responded to the Ivymenís offer of
aid, often against the wishes of their primitive parents.
Quar let his sick villagers die rather then have them treated at Army
hospitals. It wasnít that he was unnecessarily cruel, he simply believed in
ruling his village as his ancestors had ruled before him, free of outside
Today, the team sensed something wrong.
The village was quiet. Doors were closed, windows barred, and the
children who usually played in the dirt were not In sight.
First Lieutenant Robert Gratty of Longmeadow, Mass., who had seen it
before, realized the Montagnards were in mourning.
The 3rd Brigade team moved quickly into action. Specialist 4 William
Drehs of Williamsville, N.Y., and the team medic. Specialist 5 James Weinke,
of Neeah, Wis., raced front door to door trying to find the reason for the
mourning. An old woman whom the team had befriended in the past finally told
them the problem. The chiefís daughter was dying.
The medic examined the little girl and diagnosed the ailment as malaria.
It was not acute malaria, but the disease had been neglected a long time and
was now serious.
The lieutenant and his men were in a delicate position. They knew if
they saved the girl it could be the turning point they had been looking for in
their relations with the Montagnards. If they failed, the project would be
Proud Quar, who had by this time stoically accepted the fact that his
daughter would die, reluctantly agreed to let SP5 Weinke treat the girl. The
young medic did all he could, administering the proper pills and serum. All
the team could do was sit and wait.
Tue girl showed immediate improvement. Her temperature dropped steadily
and soon the fever broke. A week later she was on her feet again.
The next time the team entered the village they were greeted
enthusiastically. The old and young alike were present at the teamís MEDCAP.
The only one absent was Quar, the aged chief.
Some things can only be changed with the passing of time.