The names have not been changed to protect the guilty, as they know who they are!!
VIETNAM VET (WITH NAVY CROSS) SCREWED BY THE MARINE CORPS/NAVY: HIS STORY
August 7, 2008, 6:50 am
I am a 60 year old Vietnam Veteran who served 1968-1969. I earned the Navy Cross and multiple Purple Hearts in two days of action, dragging out wounded Marines and Corpsmen. I was severely wounded during that action, receiving 6 bullet wounds across my chest, shoulder, one shattered my left arm and one went through my left buttock. My buddy Jack E. was in this action with me, dragged me over to a nearby tree, thought I had died, as I was "out of it" for awhile. Crazy thing is, that Jack didn't earn any special medals that day, although he was right beside me all the way those two days during the Tet offensive, February 1969. The bullet wounds "bracketed" my heart in three places, just missing this organ by mere fractions of an inch! It took about 11 months of recuperation at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, California to heal my collapsed lung and shattered left arm! The arm itself required more than four operations to repair. I was medically discharged, zero percent disability. That was supposedly the end of my military career. I had planned on making the Corps my life's work! Bummer!!
I made up my mind that I would work my body into shape. After I achieved what I thought was a "beautiful body" again, I wrote to then Secretary of the Navy, John Chafee, requesting that he overturn my discharge, and let me back into the Marine Corps. He consented and I returned to active duty in 1971. One year later, my story really begins!
I was assigned to Bridgeport, California, Marine Corps Cold Weather Training Center, arriving there in June 1972. By this time, I was a hard core alcoholic, smoker and recreational drug user! I didn't do these before going to Vietnam. The old Robert B. Gregory, Jr. died in Vietnam, the hardened, alcoholic grunt returned to the USA. I didn't care what really happened to me anymore I guess. I saw too much of the bad stuff in Vietnam. I won't go into that now, what happened to me in the USA is what really matters now.
On June 19, 1972 at the USMC Cold Weather Training Center, the day started out as usual, with my co-workers drinking almost a case of beer and me drinking at least a 6 pack of beer all by myself, we kept in the icy stream that ran through the camp. I topped that off with a bottle of Jim Beam mixed into orange Kool-Aid. Apparently I have an inherited from my mother, a trait that I don't become intoxicated easily nor do I suffer from hangovers. My co-workers weren't so "lucky".
About 1330 hours, I came back in from field duties, walked over to the "head", after that, walked over to the S1/S2 (Security Office) quonset hut. That's the last thing I can remember until I woke up in the hospital, Washoe Medical Center, Reno, Nevada. That's even after they tell me that I woke up in the morgue with a tag on my toe! I apparently suffer from traumatic amnesia. I wish I could remember, as it has been "bugging" me for over 35 years now.
When I woke up, my head was wrapped in bandages, I had a HUGE headache, and couldn't figure out where I was at first. My first wife from whom I was estranged at the time was in my room, hugging and kissing on me, saying she "would never leave me". That scared the "p" out of me, at first I thought, "how did she get into my barracks"!! My mother was also there, having driven almost 500 miles from So. California to Reno in record time after she received a telegram from the Navy saying I had been in an accident, and that she and dad could come and "claim the body". My mother yelled at my ex-wife to get out of the room and never come back. All she was there for was the money she would have received as a widow!!
I was told that I had "committed suicide" when I walked into the S1/S2 office, picked up a loaded .45 weapon, pointed at my head and pulled the trigger. It blew out the right side of the temporal region of my brain, splattering blood and brain bits all over the floor and walls of the office. They "choppered" me out as soon as they could, one of my co-workers, Sgt. Joe Bob R. accompanied me on the ride. He stated that I stopped breathing, there was no heart rate nor pulse, and that they put in a tracheotomy on the way. The report states I was in a moribund condition when I arrived at Reno, and promptly put me in the morgue. Joe Bob reported to the other co-workers that I had "died". It was reported that all my co-workers "cleaned up all the mess" even though they were told not to touch anything, but they did anyway. They had time to collaborate on their stories, so as to make sure all the blame was put on me, no matter what! I didn't matter that the gun wasn't mine, it belonged to the Security Officer, Sgt. Terry H. His was the only loaded weapon allowed on the base for security reasons. How he allowed the weapon to get out of his possession is a BIG MYSTERY! They walked into the office, then walked back out, went around to a window about 6 feet high from the ground, climbed in, "unseen" by all the others, took the weapon out of it's holster and climbed back out of the window, walked around back to the entrance, and shot myself in front of all the others. THAT IS RIDICULOUS!! If anything, I may have seen the weapon on the ground in the office, picked it up to clear it as I had been taught. ONLY thing is that in clearing it, the weapon wasn't pointing up straightward as it should have. Even Joe Bob stated later via telephone to my Mom and my girlfriend listening in, that he may have been the one to shoot me, but in his inebriated condition at the time of the call, it was hard to discern whether he was telling the truth or a fable. I believe he was telling the truth. However, later on, when I was brought before the NCIS board, Joe was a witness AGAINST me, as were all the others. It was a "SLAM-DUNK" as far as the Navy and Marine Corps were concerned.
This incident has been a bitter pill to me for the past 35 years. I was discharged honorably, BUT, given a label of "MISCONDUCT" for trying to destroy military property, ME!! RUBBISH!! I have been fighting for a change to "TRAINING ACCIDENT, ALCOHOL RELATED" all these years. I gave up being a drunk & a smoker in 1982 when I married for the 3rd time and my wife said she wouldn't marry anyone who drank or smoked. I have been classified 100% PTSD, but that doesn't cover my left-side paralysis which the military won't cover. They have denied me a motorized scooter as I cannot walk without a brace or a cane, and that is very difficult now, as I develop blisters and have painful knees and ankles. My left arm is totally useless. I have resigned myself to being a cripple, but I still want JUSTICE!! I want the military to recognize my problem and address it and link it to my PTSD, which it really should be. What can I do now. I've tried everything I know to do through the proper military channels, group therapy, writing to congressmen, even the president! The military refuses to reopen my case, stating I cannot unless I have new evidence. UNFORTUNATELY, none of my co-workers have volunteered to come forward and tell the truth. When the old TV show, "LIE DETECTOR" with the famous lawyer F. Lee Bailey was aired, I wrote to him regarding my case. He wanted to help me, and asked certain co-workers to come and take a lie-detector test. They refused, stating that "THE MARINE CORPS WILL PROTECT ME". Protect them from what? THE TRUTH? I know that there have been nothing but LIES and COVERUPS and so on. NCIS wanted a "slam-dunk" case, and that's what they got.
All I want is a motorized scooter which the VA has refused me, stating I am "too young" and need to walk (which I cannot do easily, and have been falling a lot lately), a change in my discharge, full recognition that this was truly and only an accident!