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VIETNAM NEWS (2)

Wounded In Vietnam Jumping Branch Soldier
Enters Veterans Rehabilitation Training

JUMPING BRANCH - Sgt. 1C. Clifford B. Stricker, 30, of Jumping Branch, is a thankful young man. If fact, he's plain thankful to be alive.
   He's thankful he was within 100 feet of a surgeon when he was cut down by sniper fire Tay Nhin, Vietnam, May He's thankful he was in an army field hospital within five minutes for repair of his pierced jugular vein, arm, and foot. He's thankful his overseas operations and the two he has undergone so far at Walter Reed Army Hospital, have turned oat so successfully.
   Besides all this, Sgt Stricker is thankful he can take advantage of the Veterans Administration's stepped-up rehabilitation program for disabled Vietnam veterans. Under this program he has enrolled at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for the spring semester, beginning Feb. 1, and thus becomes the first veteran in the metropolitan area to begin training while still a member of the armed forces.
   Through the cooperation of the Department of Defense, Contact Representatives are permitted to seek out and disabled servicemen of the program while they still are in military hospitals.
   VA rehabilitation psychologists help the men to identify their aptitudes, capacities and strong interests, their education and work experiences and the impact of their disabilities, and help them to see clearly the what their goals and aspirations are. This information is examined in terms of desirable training and education and future occupation.
   With the help of VA psychologists, Sgt. Stricker has selected as his vocational goal the job of National Service Officer, whose primary duty is to assist veterans in seeking benefits, medical treatment and hospitalization. As a disabled veteran himself, Sgt. Stricker believes he will able to understand more clearly the problems of all veterans seeking benefits.
   Sgt. Stricker's training will given in two parts: Four months of university study at Catholic University and 12 months of on-the-job training.
   After he completes his first training phase at Catholic University, he will return to Walter Reed Army Hospital for four months where he will undergo another operation on his foot. When he completes his 16-month training period, he hopes to stationed in one of VA's 57 Regional Offices as -a National Service Officer.
   His studies at the university will include: Human development (psychology), anatomy, diseases and

disabilities and their affects on the individual, office management, administrative legislation and regulations, treatment and rehabilitation resources, effective writing and speaking and public relations.
    Under the VA rehabilitation program, Sgt. Stricker is provided tuition, books and other supplies while he still is in Service. After he is separated,, he will given a monthly educational allowance to apply on his rent and other expenses while in training.
   Sgt. Stricker, an avid participant in baseball, basketball and football during his high school and Army career, can foresee a complete new way of life after his final recovery.
   An extrovert, he likes to and talk to people. When he heard of the possibility of becoming a National Service Officer, he jumped at the chance.
   Sgt. Stricker served in Vietnam with the First Engineer Battalion, 1st.Infantry Division, from September 1965, until was severely wounded in May 1966.
   Sgt. Stricker was serving as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the First Engineer Battalion section of the line-of-defense for the night of May 1966, when at 11:30 p. m. enemy was spotted infiltrating United States defenses. He was ordered to try and expose the enemy movement.
   Sgt. Stricker leaped from concealment into a small clearing to fire flares.
   Then it happened. A .30 caliber sniper's bullet tore into his neck penetrating his jugular vein and ripping through his left shoulder. A second slug tore through his right knee, a third through right arm and a fourth through the top of his right foot.
  Bleeding profusely, Sgt. Stricker was picked up in a matter of seconds, and rushed to a field hospital within a couple of minutes. A surgeon, not more 100 feet away from him, ran the hospital. As the blood gushed from his ruptured jugular vein, surgeons cut into his leg arteries and prepared to feed blood into the wounded soldier. Meanwhile, surgeons operated on his neck to seal the jugular.
   Altogether, 21 units (pints) blood were fed into Sgt. Stricker as doctors, nurses and technicians worked feverishly to his life.
   They did their work well for in addition to repairing the jugular vein, surgeons had to remove the entire left shoulder socket which had been shattered by the first sniper bullet.

   They had to remove shattered bone from his right knee, which will remain stiff permanently, despite their efforts. They had to remove another sniper's bullet which had become embedded in the flesh of his right arm.
  And they had to remove bones from his right foot, shattered by a fourth bullet. It is repair the right foot wound that Sgt. Stricker will have to enter Walter Reed again next spring, for another 4-rnonth hospital stay.
   The sergeant was transferred from the field hospital via helicopter to Saigon, and was returned to the United States by air after short stays in Army hospitals in the Philippines and Hawaii. He has been at Walter Reed hospital since the latter part of May.
   Sgt. Stricker was born at Charleston, Nov. 19, 1936, later moved to Hinton, where entered high school. He left school at the end of his junior year and enlisted in the Army at Beckley in December 1953.
   He took the General Education Development Test (GED) in Panama in 1959, and received his high school equivalency certificate.
   From Beckley, Sgt. Stricker went to Ft. Jackson, S. C., was later transferred to Ft. Bragg, N. C., where he  served with the 82nd Airborne Division.
   In 1955, he was transferred Japan, where he was assigned to the 508th [Combat] Regimental Team. In July 1956, he returned with the unit to Ft. Campbell, Ky.
   In 1962, he transferred to 518th Engineer Company, attached to the 20th Infantry Division, at Ft. Riley, Kan. He moved over to the First Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, which was sent to Vietnam in 1965.
   Sgt. Stricker has received, or been recommended for, the following decorations: The Purple Heart, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the U.S. Strike Command Unit Citation, the Valorous Unit Award, the National Defense Medal, the Parachutist Badge (Senior) and the Good Conduct Medal.
   Sgt. Stricker married the former Miss Joyce L. Lilly of Jumping Branch. They have four children, Cheryl, 9; Taryon, 8; Clifford, 5, and Gary, 8 months.

[Beckley Post-Herald, Beckley, WV, , Page 6]

 

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