Friday, April 15, 2005

Unknown Soldier - 225

Cr's brother Wallace (former Vietnam SEAL traumatized & disaffected from Vietnam service) asked Cr to investigate the found remains of soldier he believed was Marine helicopter pilot Lt Joe Johnson. Cr gave V 5 days to interview and "see the jazz festival." Gr also assigned and had to "coerce" V into "doing his job" as he wanted to slack off all the time. Drove to Joe's hometown Vicksburg while V was asleep in car; newspaperman said Joe's bro Elroy (DNA for ID) was blues guitarist & knew Loretta McKeely in Tutwiler; Loretta said he divorced her for some "Jezebel" (her sister April-Dawn); who said he divorced her for "Candy Graham" another singer & gave them a home made record. V forced himself on Gr in same motel room; sleeping in same bed though Gr said it was against regs. She guessed that he had been "left at alter by only woman he had ever loved" which upset V. Gr recognized "Candy's" Voice as Indira Diamond. Drove back to Natchez where she was appearing. Indira said Elroy left; got wedding invite from PO box in Memphis, might find him on Beal St. Tried all clubs on Beal St, found Etta (Gladys Knight) & guitarist told them Elroy had died. After leaving, V realized that guitarist had same guitar as in photo of Elroy. Went back & guitarist was Elroy. Wallace disclosed details that helicopter had gone down after chasing Vietcong away from their POW rescue black-ops mission. Co-Pilot & gunner thrown clear, Joe trapped inside. Wallace couldn't budge aircraft. Joe begged him to "not let him burn" asking him to shoot him until he finally did before flames got him. Wallace got peace; Elroy gave DNA but said he didn't want to know results so he can "keep thinking that he might run into him some day.

Mattie still in coma; H prosecuting reservist doctor Lt Chang for using "Vecuronium," muscle paralytic, to intubate a severely burned Iraqi girl against orders from Capt Smith. When H was speaking disparagingly about Chang, Co told him that she was an excellent doctor who didn't give up, "the kind that he wanted for Mattie." H seemed distant toward M who told Co that H wouldn't talk to her so maybe he would w/ Co. Smith said that they "ran out of drug" and helicopter had to risk enemy fire to bring more. Chang described that she couldn't "not use the drug" cause she was "a doctor first" and she knew that it would work. Got the child intubated; left to take blood to lab and 10 min later girl dead. H very distressed during her description of valiant attempts to save girl but in cross exam played attorney very well and pointed that she "had never considered herself in military despite joining to have her medical school paid for." B discovered that Smith had made the mistake and only ordered 1/10th of needed drug which made them in short supply and required military shuttle replenishment. H agreed for administrative separation & prorated payback but Chang turned it down. She said she had been successful at everything because she had worked at it but had never really applied herself to being an officer. Military needs doctors more than ever now; wanted to accept consequences and remain in service to finish her commitment.

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