Doc's Story

Steve "Doc" Hanmore was a Corpsman on Hill 25. We got to meet Doc through Rich, and he shared a story that touched us all.

"The Marine with the pickaxe - I have the same picture. I remember Davis from that picture for something he did for me.
We were on a company size operation across the river from Hill 52. We were at the rear of the patrol. The lead platoon came under fire from a bunker. I believe an ARVIN soldier was killed or wounded and a Marine was wounded also. I remember we had a med-evac because Sgt. Bolton gave me a chance to go and I turned him down.
When we came under fire we stopped our advance up the hill. After a few minutes the Captain called for 2nd Platoon to take the lead and take out the bunker. Sgt. Bolton sometime referred to us as the 'red-headed step-child' because we lived on Hill 25 by ourselves. I will never forget Sgt. Bolton's speech to us. It went something like this: 'The Captain had the shit scared out of him. He doesn't want to risk (his men). We are taking the lead. You are Marines - when you move up through this column do not look like you are afraid. Hold your heads high - we will show them.'
We moved in on the bunker but the VC had long been gone. The bunker was a hole between two huge boulders. We were ordered to destroy it with C4. A direct hit with a bomb would not have hurt it. But we put some C4 in it and blew it. When they lit the fuse I turned to run and sprained my ankle.
Sgt. Bolton said there was a helicopter coming in and for me to get on it. I asked him if they were going to stay on Hill 52 that night and he said no, they were going to go back to Hill 25. There were only a few Marines on the Hill with most of us out in the field.
I had a Corpsman friend killed in an ambush in the village outside of Hill 52 (Fiberto Aquirre HM3) just a few days before. I was the only Corpsman with our patrol and we had to go back through that village to get back to Hill 25.
If Doc Dyer had been with us I would have taken the ride but I was the only Corpsman with the patrol. As you can see it was a dangerous road back. I told Sgt. Bolton I would go along with them. He said 'Doc, if that ankle swells up you're not going to be able to walk on it.' He said 'If you fall back you're on your own.' He never wanted to be away from the Hill with so few Marines defending it. He was expecting us to get hit and a few weeks later we were.
Hill 25 is probably a little over two miles away from Hill 52. We were across the river a mile or better away from Hill 52. This is then about a four mile walk back to Hill 25. If I had taken my boot off I would have never made it back. I left my boot on for a week to support my ankle.
It was dark when we went through the village. After we got through the village I did start to fall behind and Sgt. Bolton was true to his word - he never slowed down. A couple of Marines fell back with me. They were on the Hill half an hour before we ever got there. The last mile I leaned on Davis' shoulder.
You never forget what a friend does for you.
I am very sorry for your loss. I had been in the field seven months when I went on R&R to Hawaii. While I was gone the Hill was over run.
Doc Hanmore"
[Doc Hamore, December 1, 2001]