Vietnam Soldiers – It’s Good News
Slice of Life
By – Sheri de Grom
It’s not often I hear a story about something good happening to a Vietnam soldier.
This past week, a neurological diagnostician shared the following story with my husband and me. We are all Vietnam-era age and the doc and my husband are both Vietnam veterans.
The doctor, now in private practice, was the Officer in Charge of a medium-sized Army hospital upon his return from Vietnam. We talked about how regulations were bound in those black notebooks we were all familiar with and how those ‘notebooks’ only came out when it was time for inspection.
During the last eighteen months of theVietnam conflict, the Army was going through a drastic down- sizing of service members—(much the way the military is doing now). See my blog here.
Senior enlisted soldiers with sixteen-to-eighteen years of active duty service were being denied the opportunity to re-enlist and complete their twenty years of service. As a result, these service members would be unable to retire with benefits after serving their country during the violent conflict of Vietnam.
Many of the soldiers received notices they were being separated from service because they were fifteen to forty pounds overweight.
The then young captain found this an unacceptable punishment for battle-scarred men.
The captain decided to admit the soldiers to the hospital under his own care. The soldiers were then given nutrients with zero calories by way of an intravenous feed and monitored for exercise.
The doctor admitted his methods were extreme, but these soldiers were going to be put out of the Army before they’d had the opportunity to retire as they’d expected, and the Army wasn’t giving them the opportunity to take the weight off on their own.
The soldiers could only be held in the hospital on the extreme weight loss plan for thirty days. Upon discharge, the service member was given a six hundred calorie-a-day food plan to follow until they reached their regulation weight requirement.
Unfortunately, concluded the doctor as he ended his story, he’d never be able to implement his unusual prescription in today’s military medicine of checks and balances. And that’s a sad thing.