Bartle, Richard Paul, SP 4

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Last Rank
Specialist 4
Last Service Branch
Medical Corps
Last Primary MOS
91A-Medical Corpsman
Last MOS Group
Medical Department (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1965-1966, 1st Infantry Division
Service Years
1965 - 1966

Specialist 4

One Overseas Service Bar

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by LTC Roger Gaines to remember Bartle, Richard Paul, SP 4.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Villa Ridge
Last Address
Villa Ridge

Casualty Date
Sep 22, 1966
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Vietnam, South (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Pleasant Hill Cemetery - Villa Ridge, Missouri
Wall/Plot Coordinates
10E 131

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Medical Shoulder Cord

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1966, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Medical 1st Award

 Unit Assignments
1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment1st Infantry Division
  1965-1966, 91A, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment/HHC
  1965-1966, 1st Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)
  1965-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Army Service Number: 55811597

My name is James  Austin, I served with him in VN: 

Accidental Self-Destruction is what Bartle's info page lists as his cause of death. A person reading that description might get the impression that Bartle had done something careless to cause his death or even went as far as to take his own life. He did die, along with 6 other men, as the result of an accident, but not the way Accidental Self-Destruction would suggest. The following is what happened to Bartle, to many of his fellow medics and to a few other men from our unit. Part of our battalion's minefield had been cleared in order to expand our base camp's perimeter. When it was believed that all of the mines had been removed, as a precaution, a tank retriever (it is like a tank without the gun turret) ran back and forth over the cleared area in the belief that its weight would set off any undetected mines. There were no explosions, so this area was deemed cleared and safe.

The following morning, three men were assigned to dig a foxhole in this cleared area for a future bunker site. Around 11:30 a.m., one of the men struck an undetected mine and it went off. All three were seriously wounded and would die without immediate medical attention. A guard on duty in one of our perimeter bunkers called the aid station. Roughly twelve medics, with their aid bags, came running out of the aid station and headed up the dirt road to the small trail that led back to the perimeter. Bartle was one of these medics. Along the way, eight men from our company joined them. When this group of about twenty men arrived on the scene, they immediately started to render aid to the injured. A few minutes later, there was another explosion. Another call went out to the aid station. There were only a handful of medics there. These men had just arrived at the aid station and were the only ones available to go to the accident scene. Like the medics before them, they picked up their aid bags and headed for the perimeter. This second group also picked up volunteers along the way. When this second group of rescuers arrived on the scene, they found themselves looking upon a horrible sight. Their closest friends were scattered about on the ground. Most, with hellacious wounds. The three men originally injured were now dead. Three medics were near death. Bartle had shrapnel in his head, above his left eye. Five medics had limbs missing. One of the volunteers, who had joined the medics, lost an eye. There were several other men with, what could be considered, minor injuries. It must have been very difficult emotionally for the rescuers to comprehend what they were seeing and what they were going to have to do to save their friends from death.

All of the rescuers in this second group were well aware that there was the possibility of other mines. Still they went in the minefield. One by one, following in the foot steps of the man in front of him. Once inside, they started working on the injured. A helicopter arrived on the scene, but would not land for fear of its weight setting off another mine. The medics and their helpers started loading the wounded on the sometimes swaying chopper. The helicopter then flew the loaded injured to our small surgical hospital located about a quarter of a mile away. The helicopter then returned to the accident scene for more wounded. This was repeated again and again until all of the injured were removed. Bartle was the only injured man not taken to the hospital by chopper. He was transported on a stretcher by jeep.

I and another man kept the stretcher in place as the jeep driver took a short cut across some slightly rough ground. As we were moving, I asked Bartle how he was doing. He had been quiet and not really looking at us. He said he was fine, but he would like to have his wallet. I unbuttoned his shirt pocket and remover the item. He pointed to a picture of a girl. I removed the photo and handed it to him. I put his wallet back into his shirt pocket. He spent the rest of the trip quietly gazing at the picture. When we arrived at the hospital, we placed Bartle on a gurney. A nurse came by within seconds. She quickly looked at his wound then left. I squeezed one of Bartle's hands and assured him that he would be alright, now that he was at the hospital. I fully believed he would recover from his wound. I and the other two men returned to our perimeter. It didn't seem long after our return that we received word Bartle had passed away. So, Bartle died from being wounded while trying to save three other men, not from inflicting a wound upon himself. Six other men died in this unfortunate event. Hugh C Clausen Joseph N Davi Larry Reynolds Walter L Wells George Wycinsky Jr. Samuel E Murph. The way Bartle and his fellow medics bravely and without regard for their own personal safety reacted to this accident is an example of their commitment to those of us who served with them. We never doubted them in a crisis. Dennis Lynn Dooley was a close friend and fellow medic to those who were killed or wounded in this accident. He was in the 2nd rescue group. 
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