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Purple Hearts - Combat! Fan Fiction

 

 

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MEDIC

(Follow-up to "Operation Flytrap")

Combat! Fan Fiction
by
Mary Wright "Eagle Lady"
eaglelady80010@netzero.net

 

          His companion nearly plowed into his back when Lieutenant Hanley paused at the top of the street, studying the squad of men scattered outside the remains of a bakery.  Caje and Kirby were pitching pennies; Littlejohn appeared to be asleep; Nelson was working on his rifle and Saunders was seated a short distance away, reading a letter.  Hanley's long legs carried him quickly down the hill, none of the men noticing him until he was nearly on top of them.  Nelson saw him first and started to his feet, but Hanley waved him back down.

          "At ease, men."

          "What's up, Lieutenant?"  Saunders asked, rising anyway.

          "I just got word from the hospital.  Doc will be laid up for several weeks.  This is his replacement."  Hanley raised a hand to forestall the protests.  "Just till Doc is back on his feet.  This is Laszlo Medicowski."

          "Laszlo Medi what?"  Kirby asked.

          "Laszlo Medicowski.  Most folks just call me Tex Medic.  It's a lot easier to say."  The new medic grinned.

          "I'll say!"  Kirby grinned back.

          "Anything else, Lieutenant?"  Saunders asked.

          "Not at the moment.  I'll let you know."

          "Yes, sir."

          With a nod, Hanley headed back the way he'd come.

          "Medicowski, I'm Sergeant Saunders.  Kirby, Caje, Nelson, and the one sleeping is Littlejohn."

          "Glad to meet y'all."  Tex drawled.

          "Where are you from in Texas?"  Billy asked, then groaned when the rifle he was attempting to reassemble fell apart.

          "Lewiston, just outside Dallas."

          "Find a place to stow your gear in there."  Saunders motioned over his shoulder.

          "Sure thing, Sarge."  Tex stepped over Littlejohn and disappeared into the bakery.

          "Are all medics from the south?"  Billy asked.

          "Seems that way, don't it?"  Kirby gathered up the pieces of the rifle and started handing them back to Billy in order.

          "Hey, Sarge!"  a soldier hollered from up the road.  "Hot chow up here!"

          " 'Bout time."  Kirby said.  "Hurry up, Nelson."

          "Almost done.  There, finished."  He grinned.  "Thanks, Kirby."

          "Hey, Medicowski!"  Saunders called.  "Caje, wake Littlejohn."

          "Yeah, Sarge?"  Tex loped out of the bakery.

          "Hot chow.  Let's go."

          "What's up?"  Littlejohn sat up and stretched.

          "Hot chow, Littlejohn."  Billy told him.

          Saunders led the way up the road, Caje and Kirby right behind him, then Tex, with Billy and Littlejohn bringing up the rear.

          "Hey!  Who's that?"  Littlejohn asked.

          "Our new medic.  Tex Medic."

          "What?"  Littlejohn looked confused.

          "His name is Las...Hey, Medic!  What's your name again?"

          "Laszlo Medicowski.   Just call me Tex Medic."  He answered patiently.

^^^

          The late afternoon sun slanted across the street, bathing the squad in it's welcome warmth as they sat around smoking and talking.  At the moment, Kirby was extolling the virtues of a girl he knew back home.  Tex listened quietly, leaning back against the wall a few feet away.

          "Let me tell you about my gal."  He said when Kirby finished. "She's got red-brown hair and, man, is she a looker!  She can work all day and not a single complaint.  Prettiest little 8 year-old in the county.  I'm telling you, guys, when you throw a leg over her and start to riding, well, it's as close to heaven as you're gonna get here on earth."

          "Eight years old?"  Kirby sounded as shocked as the others felt.

          Tex held up both hands, palms out, laughing.

          "She's a horse, guys.  You know;  four feet, mane, tail?  A horse."

          "A horse?" Caje looked like he couldn't decide whether to laugh or take a swing at him.

          Saunders ducked his head to hide his grin while Billy scratched his head in puzzlement.

          "A horse?  I thought you were talking about a person."

          "Yeah, I figured that."  Tex chuckled.

          "How much time do you have on the line, Tex?"  Kirby asked.

          "I hit the beach at Normandy, along with the 287th."

          "What'd you do before the war?"  Billy asked curiously.

          "I was a hospital orderly."

          "How many horses you got?"

          "Leave the man alone."  Saunders interrupted. 

          "Hey, Caje?"  Kirby called.

          "Yeah?"

          "Wanna play cards?"

          "Why not?  You already owe me from the last time."  Caje grinned.

          "I'm gonna win it all back, along with everything you got."  He boasted.

          "Sure, Kirby, sure."

          Kirby, Caje, Littlejohn, and Nelson gathered around, angled toward the lowering sun.

          "Hey, Tex?  Wanna play?"  Littlejohn invited.

          "No, thanks.  I need to check my bag."  Tex headed into the bakery, Saunders following him a moment later.

          "Sorry about that."  He motioned at the guys outside.

          "That's okay, Sarge.  I don't mind.  It's just natural to be curious about the new guy."  He shrugged.

          "You got any questions?"

          "Nope.  Well, one.  When do we move out?"

          "I don't know, Medicowski.  We're in reserve right now."

          "Sarge, if you don't mind, could you just call me Medic?  Or Tex?  Only the brass calls me Medicowski."

          "Okay with me."  He shrugged.

^^^

          

          "Hey, Saunders!"  A passing GI called.

          "Yeah?"  He looked up from the book he was reading.

          "Lieutenant wants to see you."

          "Thanks."

          Laying the book aside, he got to his feet, automatically reaching for his helmet and Thompson.  The rest of the squad watched as he started up the street, then returned to their card game.

          "You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?"

          "Yes, Sergeant.  Civilian information reports Kraut patrols moving in Sector C.  I want a two-man patrol to go out for a look-see.  Do not engage."

          "Yes, sir."

          Returning to the squad, he stowed the book in his pack and let his gaze run over the men watching him expectantly.

          "Caje, saddle up.  You, too, Tex.  The rest of you take it easy."

          Caje put on his helmet as he flowed to his feet, checked his rifle and buckled on his web belt, while Tex hurried into the bakery for his bag and helmet.

          "Kirby, you're in charge."

          "Okay, Sarge."

          "Where we going, Sarge?"  Caje asked.

          "Sector C for a recon.  No fighting."

          "Okay."

^^^

          

          Caje led the way through the low hills, keeping to the trees.  Tex followed him, while Saunders brought up the rear.  The new medic moved almost as quietly as the Cajun, showing no fear, just a good, healthy caution.  Dropping to his knees, Caje waved the others down.  Saunders crawled up beside him, peering over his shoulder.  A patrol of four Germans was moving past them at an angle, talking quietly.  Glancing over his shoulder, the sergeant saw that the medic was bellied down under a bush, his expression curious, but he was keeping his mouth shut. 

          They watched the Germans move on out of sight, then Caje moved cautiously moved onward.  Just at the edge of a field, Caje again waved them down, and the three of them watched as a Kraut patrol passed within fifteen feet of them, unaware of their presence.  Rising to a crouch, Saunders tapped Tex on the shoulder and they checked the map.

          "Here's home."  Saunders said softly.  "This is where we are.   We'll head over this way to the railroad tracks, then swing around toward the winery, then head for home. You alright, Tex?"

          "Fine, Sarge." The medic looked surprised at the question.

          "Let's move out, Caje."

          The little group moved through the countryside like ghosts, silent and leaving no trace of their passage.  They made it to the railroad tracks without incident and took a five minute break.  Saunders took the lead when they headed for the winery, Caje taking his place at the rear. They crossed a small brook and entered an area of heavy trees, the medic stopping to re-lace his boot.

          "Go on, Caje. I'll be right there."  The medic waved him on.

^^^

          

          Just as he finished and started to straighten up, the world exploded.  The two men in front of him were tossed into the air and slammed back to the ground.  Instinctively ducking from the falling debris, Tex clutched his bag to his chest underneath him.  Carefully crawling forward, he reached Caje first.  The private was lying on his back, unconscious, a long, splintered piece of wood protruding from his thigh.  After quickly checking for other injuries, Tex moved on to the sergeant.

          He was sprawled on his stomach, one arm under his head, the other outflung, also unconscious.  Supporting his head and neck, the medic eased him onto his back.  There was a swelling lump on the side of his head, oozing blood, and there was a deep laceration on the outside of his leg, just above the knee.

          Working swiftly, Tex washed out the foreign debris, then applied a pressure pad, tying it tightly to slow the bleeding.  Leaning forward, he checked Saunders eyes, and wrapped a bandage around his head.  Glancing at his watch, he wrote the time on the back of Saunders' hand which was lying next to his bandaged leg.

          Crawling back to Caje, he studied the wood jammed in the man's leg.  There wasn't much bleeding, but he knew if he pulled it out, he could cause more damage, and the scout could bleed to death if an artery was involved.  Pulling the bayonet from Caje's belt, he cut the wood off an inch or so above the skin and bandaged it carefully to secure the wood in place after liberally coating the area with sulfa powder. 

          Wiping his brow, Tex returned to the more seriously injured sergeant and checked the pressure pad, pleased to find minimal bleed-through.  With a sigh of relief, Tex sat down and took a drink, studying the situation.  He was in enemy territory, with two wounded men, neither of whom could walk, and no means of defense.  Aside from the fact that he had no desire to use a weapon, and that he was forbidden to do so; Caje's M-1 was lying nearby in two pieces, and the Thompson was nowhere in sight.

          He helped himself to one of Saunders' cigarettes,  thinking.  He had two options; leave one man and take the other back or try to take them both back at the same time.  Knowing that the man he left would either die of shock and blood loss, or be found and killed by the Germans, Tex decided his only option was to try to bring them both back.  The question was, how?

          He was a big man, topping 6 foot, and in prime condition with strong shoulders and back, but he still couldn't carry two men, nor could he carry one and drag the other, even if he made a litter.  The dragging litter would make too much noise, anyway.  Accepting the only choice he had, Tex took one last drag and ground out the cigarette.

          Since being carried head down would not be too good for a head injury victim, Tex lifted the sergeant into his arms and headed back toward home.  He carried him about a hundred yards, then concealed him under a thick bush.

          Returning to Caje, he lifted him to his shoulders and carried him past Saunders another hundred yards.  He continued leap-frogging the injured soldiers until he had to stop to rest.  He laid the two men side by side, and sprawled beside them on his back, breathing hard.

          "Doc?"   Caje muttered a few minutes later.

          "Right here, Caje."  Tex rolled over onto his side, his hand on Caje's shoulder.

          "Sorry, Tex.  I forgot."

          "That's okay, Caje.  You lay still and take it easy."

          "What happened?"

          "I'm not sure.  I think something triggered a mine close to you.  You've got a piece of wood in your leg."

          "Sarge?"

          "He's right beside you.  He has a leg wound and a head injury."

          "Where are we?"

          "On the way home."

          "How?"

          "I'm carrying you."

          "You left the Sarge?"  Caje asked anxiously.

          "No.  I told you he's right beside you. I'm carrying both of you.  You want some morphine?"

          Caje hesitated, weighing his pain against the fact that dead weight was harder to carry, then shook his head.

          "Leave me here and take him home."

          "Nope."

          "But, you can't carry both of us."  Caje protested.

          "It isn't open for discussion, Caje."

          Sitting up, he helped Caje drink, then stood and stretched.

          "Here we go, Caje."

          Ignoring the Cajun's protests, Tex hauled him to his feet and over his shoulder again. 

^^^

          How long he carried and left, carried and left, Tex lost track.  His back, legs, arms, and shoulders ached and burned and trembled, but still he refused to leave the soldiers.  There was only one thought in his mind; to get them both back to safety alive.  The sergeant had come around once, then passed out again, while Caje drifted in and out of consciousness, always begging the medic to leave him and take the sergeant in.  Tex ignored him, continuing to plod onward in a haze of pain and exhaustion.

          He thought he heard someone calling his name, but he knew the sergeant in his arms was unconscious, so he put it down to hallucinations.  The sergeant's body started to slip from his grasp and he tightened his hold, but he no longer felt the weight of the injured soldier in his trembling arms.

          "Tex!  Medicowski!  Tex!"  He heard voices calling him from far away and realized he was sitting on the ground.  The exhausted man tried to get up, but hands kept pushing him back.

          "Let me go.  I've got to get back to Caje."  He pushed the hands away.

          "Medicowski!"  A voice ringing with authority shouted.

          Tex slowly raised his head, astonished to see the lieutenant crouched in front of him.

          "Yes, sir?"  He gathered his legs under him, but Hanley held him down.

          "Where is Caje?"

          "Back there."  He motioned over his shoulder. "Bout hundred yards.  Behind a log."

          "Alright.  You take it easy.  We'll go get him."  Hanley told him, standing up. "Littlejohn, Kirby, go find him.  Some of you get Saunders and Medicowski to the aid station."

^^^          

          Lieutenant Hanley strode into the aid station, followed by Kirby, Littlejohn, and Billy.   Saunders and Medicowski lay on cots, side by side, talking quietly.

          "How you feeling, Sergeant?"

          "I'm okay, Lieutenant."

          "Medicowski?"

          "Just fine, Sir."

          "I've put you in for the DSC, Private Medicowski."

          "That's not necessary, sir.  I was just doing my job."  Tex shook his head.

          "I would say you did a lot more than just 'your job', son."

          Noting Saunders' confused look, Hanley grinned.

          "I don't suppose Medicowski told you how you got back here?"

          "No, sir.  He wouldn't talk about it."

          Seating himself on the side of Saunders' cot, Hanley told him what the medic had done.

          "You carried both of us?  All the way back from the winery?"  Saunders demanded in astonishment.

          "Well, Sarge, you weren't exactly up to walking."  He drawled.

          "We'll let you two get some rest now."  Hanley herded the others away.

          "Tex..."

          "Just drop it, Sarge.  Please?"  Tex rolled over with his back to the sergeant.

          Saunders lay there watching him for several minutes, awed at what the man had done, then drifted off to sleep.

 

Dedicated to the medics, civilian and military, who give so much and seldom receive the thanks and recognition they so richly deserve!

 

Story Copyright Mary Wright. All Rights Reserved.

Read more Dogface Tales by Mary:
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The CombatFan web site thanks Mary (aka "EagleLady") for letting us share these fan fiction stories on this web site.


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