Cacti War Stories


Edited by Wiley "Tiny" Dodd
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The Snake bite

by Davis Shattuck
1966/67

The Snake Bite

David Shattuck

A 2/35th 1966/67

After reading a previous snake episode on the site, this one came to mind....Actually it was somewhat resolved quite recently, due the powers of the computer.....LZ 10 rings a bell although rather faintly, as in my Occupational specialty I had little idea of where we were....or when.... Luckily I almost kept track of who I was with....Any how it was mid tour I think....I had been wounded on May 29th but I can't remember if this happened before or after....It was in 1966 though, that I can attest to....Myself and a few others had been lent to Recon Platoon via Psgt Hinsman and Msgt Duncan...I considered it an honor to be picked myself, as Lt Brennan and Sgt Hinsman were excellent leaders and Lt Brennan was one of the few guys who actually looked younger than I ( a touch of humor)....Francis Xavier Brennan....Now how in hell did I ever remember that??....Or come to know it in the first place.??....Of course this story has a humorous side to it as it is pretty much the only way I can relate things during that year .....Slight pause....Trying to recall how dying of snake bite is humorous....Anyhow we had been getting probed on a regular basis and I remember hearing a thump..As in hand grenade ????,I thought.... I was in back of my foxhole and I tucked and rolled into said insect laden foxhole and felt something sting me in the back of my hand...Scorpion, I thought....No explosion or gunfire followed so I warily removed myself from said cover after a time.... SSgt Hollis was nearby so I crawled over to him and said Homer, I think I got bit by a scorpion....He got me a medic, Sp/5 Solis, and it was determined to be snake bite....Doc cut my hand open and proceeded to use a serum extraction device on me and they readied me for dust off.....I recall Doc strapping me to the stretcher and me telling him I was fine and I didn't really need all the fuss that I was getting.....A good Soldier does that, you know( more humor)......In the mean time I did recall a sandbag being tied to my leg....A tourniquet had been wound on my arm and soon I was getting dusted off.....Now somewhere along the line things were starting to get a little fuzzy, but I think Ane Khe Field hospital was on my list of next destinations and I believe they gave me an anti-serum of some kind and I continued enroute to Quin Yon...All I remember thinking was, get that friggin tourniquet off my arm as it was aching like hell and swollen and thats all I could concentrate on.... Then mercifully, I lost consciousness.....I awoke in Ward One of Quin yon hospital.......I had been in a surgical ward their previously but Ward One was different...I awoke to a guy talking to me across the isle from me....He told me Ward One had a door that only swung one way, cause no one ever left....Someone came and gave him a shot while we were talking and in an instant as fast as you can flick a switch blade, he sat up and died....Never found out anything more about that....Could that have been me.....Strange.....I lapsed back into unconsciousnessness.....

But soon I was recovered and left to go back to my unit 2/35......As it turned out, the previously mentioned sand bag being tied to my leg?....Well that contained a snake...Yep, Sgt Hollis killed that snake with an entrenching tool and Sgt Duncan directed him to tie it to me for my trip...The snake had fallen out of some limbs and was still takin residence in my foxhole....

I guess, so I was told I had died...., However I do not know what state of death I entered...And someone had discovered the bag and snake and identified it and gave me the correct anti-serum....I believe the snake was a malayian pit viper.....A few of these little items may be discombobulated as I wasn't of a clear mind during some of their transpiration's.....Did that make sense????Most of course is from the doc's and nurses after they reintroduced me to the world.......

Awhile back I received an email concerning a Recon brother who's name is or was spelled incorrectly on the wall..... Well, it was a cover letter, and I spied now retired CSM Duncan on the list of addressee's.....After corresponding with him he informed me that he had directed SSGT Hollis to tie the snake to my leg....I of course thanked him for giving me a second go round...He keeps regular contact with now retired CSM Hinsman(ex recon plt sgt) which is a cool thing....There probably still helping each other out as they were in Nam....

But here's the thing also....We got talking about medals I had received and I told him I did get a purple heart and CIB but that was it.....He recollected others I had been put in for from both he and CSM Hinsman during the time I was in Nam and gave me the protocol for St Louis....I did all that with the correct form and gave them both my service number and social security number and all that necessary stuff and oh yeah my name, and they informed me they had no record of me and my respective numbers on file.....I should have kept the Snake and sent that to them...Maybe they would have paid more attention....Imagine I was here and gone and then back and they don't even know I was here to begin with !!!!

All and all I should be thankful I know, as I met some of the greatest men who ever walked on this planet....I got a second go round that enabled me to be prepared for the case of Malaria that was in store for me later down the road and the ability to raise some hell and a family whom I am dearly thankful for....My little piece of the 2/35 will always live with me....Dave Shattuck 2/35 ...65/66 Hawaii and Nam....