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Recommended Reading: “INTO THE DRAGON’S JAWS” by Dr Garry Willard - a friend of 441 Wing
The book details the experiences and adventures of Dr. Garry L. Willard, a young Canadian Red Cross surgeon, who became a combat surgeon during the Vietnam War, as you will discover, when you read this interesting description of his life there. Dr. Willard, a 1963 medical graduate of Queen’s University, while training in the post-graduate surgical program in Toronto, volunteered through the Canadian Red Cross to help Vietnamese civilian casualties following the Tet Offensive that began on 31 January 1968.
The Communist Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army carried out a masterful massive offensive by striking simultaneously 130 cities, towns, and villages in South Vietnam during the Buddhist Lunar New Year Celebrations, known as Tet. In addition to military casualties, there were thousands of civilian ones, many suffering head and spinal cord injuries, in a country where many of the doctors were serving in the South Vietnamese military, or had been killed or injured during Tet. To meet the need for medical assistance, a Volunteer Physician Program was organized in the United States, and through the Canadian Red Cross, Canadian surgeons were solicited to volunteer. Garry and his fellow classmate, Ken (Brad) Bradley arrived in Saigon, where they were declared equivalent to the rank of Major in the US Marine Corps. Initially, they were separated with Garry going to Da Nang to be embedded with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines of the 3rd Marine Division, situated in I Corps Tactical Zone - the five most northerly provinces of South Vietnam up against the Demilitarized Zone and North Vietnam.