David Maloney, Corpsman, 3rd Marines

David ‘Doc’ Maloney is not shy about admitting that he’s surpressed some hostility over the years.  After all, he’s lost two children to the genetic  effects of the Agent Orange he encountered overseas.

Even so, the former corpsman, who served in country with the 3rd Marines, has come a long way in admitting the intensity of his experiences in Vietnam.  “My wife didn’t know for twenty years what happened to us over there.  I kept it to myself…”

To the benefit of Americans who have not shared his experiences,  Maloney has come to understand that not speaking about his war service actually has worked against him.  As such, he has become a prolific author.

Maloney, an intense and poignant writer, has written a number of poems about his experiences as a medic in Vietnam.  They can be difficult to hear, because he’s been able to combine his warrior spirit with a profound respect for human life. 

He’s also written a book.  Purple Hearts & Broken Hearts is a beautifully written account of Maloney’s story; the story of so many young men who ultimately perished in service to their country, but whose images still haunt him. 

“It was the cry that nobody wanted to hear,” Maloney says of the frequent calls for assistence during firefights.  In the years that have followed, he’s often speculated on the difference between his military experience, frequently crawling through the dark to find wounded soldiers, and modern emergency rooms. 

“We were obligated, sometimes, to leave the more severely wounded men and tend to those who could be saved.  I’ve carried some of those  thoughts—the faces of the men we simply could not save—with me for years.  The only thing that gets me through those moments is the understanding that we were doing the best we could, and that ultimately, God was in control.”

“Even so,” he continues, “I think that our efforts pioneered a lot of what goes on today in medicine.”

Such conceptions have fueled his creative spirit, though at the expense of some difficult memories.  “My son read by book and asked, ‘How can you remember all this stuff?”
Dave Maloney’s response?  “How could I not?”



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