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Left for Dead

Left for Dead: A Second Life after Vietnam

Jon Hovde
Maureen Anderson
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Left for Dead
    Book Description:

    Jon Hovde's journey begins with despair and the struggle to stay alive and ends with hope and the inspiration to live. Left for Dead is a gripping memoir that not only recounts Hovde's recovery from injuries sustained in the Vietnam War, but recognizes the people who aided him—including the courageous medic who rescued him, a caring army nurse, and army chaplains.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9754-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Death Rolls In
    (pp. 1-20)

    “We are now entering Vietnam air space.”

    That’s what we were told after twenty hours in the air on the seventh of October, 1967. Twenty hours of feeling like someone was holding hot irons to my chest, twenty hours of feeling crushed under the weight of my dread. Before the pilot’s words had registered, and I’m talking seconds, there was a fighter jet off each wing of our TWA airplane. I think they were F-4s, but whatever they were, I swear they were close enough to touch.

    And I thought to myself, how bad is it where we’re going that...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Darkest Night
    (pp. 21-40)

    The Far Sidedidn’t appear in newspapers for another decade, but Gary Larson nailed Vietnam in one frame. One guy sits bolt upright in bed, and the guy in the next bunk tries to calm him down. The entire room is engulfed in flames. “Go back to sleep, Chuck,” the sane one says. “You’re just having a nightmare.” Pause. “Of course, we are still in hell.”

    We were in hell, but we got used to it, and the days started to go by. Time went fast, really, which surprised me. The only time it slowed to a stop was when...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Fifteen Minutes to Life
    (pp. 41-50)

    We never talked about the guys who died. Never. Once they were dead, that was it. There was no service, no minister, nothing. We just went on. We made a point of not talking about them. I think the feeling was that if you thought too much about death, it would consume you, and you would be next.

    I couldn’t stop thinking about Dick Godbout on the morning of January 8, 1968.

    His death haunted me because he knew it was coming. He knew he was going to die. We had talked for a long time earlier that evening, and...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Lucky Guy
    (pp. 51-72)

    Monday, March 15, 1999. Thirty-one years after returning from Vietnam, I logged onto the Internet and saw this e-mail:

    Jon, This is going to blow your mind. I was a medic at the 12th Evac hospital when you came in. I remember you very well as you were one of “my” patients. I was tall, 6’3”, and wore a long handlebar mustache and glasses. Your first few dressing changes were done under general anesthetic as they were very painful procedures, and I am not sure how much of the first few days you remember as we tried to keep you...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Moving On
    (pp. 73-106)

    I’ve never had nightmares about Vietnam.

    Hard to believe, isn’t it?

    I started to get some real sleep in Japan. I was no longer worried about dying, and while my first night on ambush patrol basically ruined my chance of a normal night’s sleepever,I was getting more of it here. I wrote lots of letters, and I looked forward to going home.

    Home was to be the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. They had a big amputee center there. My sister called Odin Langen’s office—he was the congressman from my home district—and got...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. CHAPTER 6 Mr. Businessman
    (pp. 107-124)

    Ready, fire, aim. You’d think a Vietnam vet would be the last person to screw up the sequence of such simple commands. But if I had to sum up the way I operate, it would be with those three words, in that order.

    I hadn’t approached anyone about a job either by telephone or letter, but I headed for Minneapolis and stayed with my sister and her husband. Thursday morning I went to Control Data, General Mills, and 3M. Somehow I talked my way into interviews at Control Data and 3M, and was heading out the door Friday to go...

  12. CHAPTER 7 After the Wall
    (pp. 125-152)

    I waited more than fifteen years to say goodbye to Dick Godbout. I was prepared to wait forever. Nothing against Dick, but I couldn’t think about him without thinking about the war, and I didn’t see the point. I’d been to Vietnam and had no interest in going back, literally or figuratively.

    Everything changed when I started reading about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. I thought it was a good idea. It would be a chance for people like me to say goodbye to our friends. I wanted to visit it someday, but I had no intention of...

  13. CHAPTER 8 Once a Fighter
    (pp. 153-182)

    It broke Dick Godbout’s heart to think he wouldn’t make it home to his wife. It broke my heart when it turned out he was right. And I mean that literally.

    I was in Washington, D.C., on school board business in January 1991.I was walking near the Senate building with the president of the Minnesota School Boards Association. It was a warm day for January, and after several blocks I felt a burning in my chest. I didn’t say anything to the woman I was with, but she knew something was wrong. When we stopped at a corner she finally...

  14. CHAPTER 9 Making a Difference
    (pp. 183-191)

    Much of what my kids were brought up to believe about the world collapsed on September 11, 2001. Much of what my kids were brought up to believe about me collapsed two days before that.

    It was just another normal Sunday in many ways. I’d cut down six trees and spent the afternoon stacking wood. I should have been feeling worse about the butt chewing I’d given my son that morning, but I felt too justified. My first grandchild, Preston Jon, was about two at the time and had been bitten by a two-year-old girl. My then-daughter-in-law had taken him...

  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 192-192)