By Lee Russell
The inspiration for all the First Season "hospital" shows was a powerful book
"365 Days" by Dr. Ronald J. Glasser MD. Glasser served as a combat surgeon in
Vietnam early in the "big war", '65-'66 I think. His medical details are
horribly precise, his combat interludes somewhat less so. US soldiers had
virtually no contact with any "round eye" women during their tour of duty,
except for saying "hi" to a Red Cross "Doughnut Dollie" or a nurse if they
were wounded. The Army PAO provided a woman Colonel, Vietnam veteran nurse as
medical advisor to the writers. Percell's accidental killing of a Vietnamese
child was a nightmare everyone dreaded. No one had raised their right arm and
gone to Vietnam to kill women and children. This incident will come back
later to haunt Percell in a later episode. On a costuming note, I provided a
purple and white medical "pocket patch" insignia, worn by a soldier who opens
a door in an early scene.
After the attack on the firebase, we get to see a sign put up by the helopad-
WELCOME TO FIREBASE LADYBIRD, Home of Bravo Company 3/44th Infantry
Please Wipe Your Feet.
3/44th Infantry was my invention.
The truck our guys are riding in has the name BIG ZEV painted on the door.
An inside joke for Producer Zev Braun.
We also get to see a morning ritual practiced throughout Vietnam, combat
engineer minesweep teams at work, checking the roads for overnight VC
"presents". The engineers wear the patch of my own unit, the 18th Engineer
Brigade, parent unit of Army engineers in the northern part of Vietnam during
this period. Naturally their minesweep gear won't work on a metal bridge, but
that part is drama. The disappearance of the ARVN militia who are supposed to
be guarding the bridge was the sort of thing US troops regularly encountered.
I wince when I hear anyone called "Corporal" in this show, as the rank was
little used in the Army during this period, certainly not in a medical unit.
(He's the guy with my purple and white "pocket patch") on his uniform.
One of my other contributions was Nikki's room. I happened to have some
photos, from another veteran, of a nurse's room. I made Xerox blowups of
these photos and sent them to the set people. This use of the interior beams
of the building for her personal items, for example, is right from these
Goldman mentions his background as an "Army brat" in this episode. As we know
from before, his father was a retired Army general and a Medal of Honor
winner, both of which could have put Goldman into West Point, had he chosen.
But Goldman is an ROTC officer, indicating a serious conflict with his
father's belief system, and a recent reconciliation with it.
About the Music....The midi's are songs from the original episodes