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Veterans Project #4

A story by Evelyn Marshak



US Navy and USAF Veteran Robert Burkman, interviewed by Evelyn Marshak I admit that it took me a long time to talk to my wife about my service years even though I served 25 years in both the Navy and the Air Force, Robert Burkman told me. He had enlisted in the Navy and served one tour. Then he joined the Air Force for one stint and after that he returned to the Navy until retiring in 1985. His service had begun when entered the Navy in 1959. I was a hospital corpsman. The Korean War had ended in 1953 and in the period after that, if you asked for say an assignment as a corpsman, you usually got the sought after assignment. I was attached to a ship moored off the coast of Vietnam, near DaNang. Sometime the injured were brought to the ship after a sniper attack by the Viet Cong and sometimes we went ashore and brought back the injured to the ship ourselves. Yes, I admit I loved being a hospital corpsman and a combat medic. From 1967 to 1969 my ship, an ammo carrier, was stationed in the South China Sea. I trained for my assignment at the Great Lakes Naval Station and between 1970-1973, I was stationed there as an instructor. As I learned doing other interviews, he rarely discusses his service years with his three children.

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