"The Motorcyclist and The Flight Surgeon"

Category: "Viet Nam"
Les Gar Frazier on Jan. 8, 2021

In 1970, the Phan Rang SOF [Supervisor of Flying] had a pickup with a big orange rotating light on the roof of his pickup.  The SOF's duty station was the CP; since I was chief of the CP, I volunteered to pull SOF a lot since I was in the CP anyway if not flying.  One day, someone called in with hung ordnance, an emergency.  I got in the truck and headed for the flight line.  I knew who had the emergency and I knew his position, so I was in no hurry; I didn't have the orange light on.  En route, [they drive on the same side as we do in Viet Nam] there was a stop sign and I stopped to let through traffic go by.  A motorcyclist, approaching from my right, turned into my street, leaning way over.  As he went by the side of my pickup, I saw his eyes go big and thought he had leaned too far over and was slipping on gravel in the intersection.  But that wasn't his problem, the flight surgeon, responding to the same emergency, two vehicles behind me, had no idea what the emergency was, so he had pulled into the left lane to get on down to the flight line.  The cyclist saw the ambulance in his lane of travel.  The cyclist slammed on the brakes but went over the handlebars directly into that big steel grill the ambulances had.  He bounced back and lay off the side of the street, tangled in his motorcycle.  The flight surgeon and driver got out, put the cyclist into the ambulance and went back to the hospital.  I forgot to ask if they'd killed the guy or just knocked him out.

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