When his Marine Force Recon team leader was shot in the thigh, Hospital Corpsman Second Class Anzac Merrithew sliced open the wound large enough to fit his hand inside, then placed a clamp on the severed femoral artery up inside the Marine’s pelvis. He kept his hand in place squeezing the clamp to ensure it could not slip off. Still under heavy fire from an overwhelming force of NVA, Doc Merrithew crawled alongside the Marine as the rest of the 8-man team dragged him across the jungle floor to an extraction site. When a chopper dropped a jungle penetrator 80 feet down through the canopy, Merrithew straddled the contraption with the team leader. He maintained his grip on the severed artery as the hoist slowly pulled them upward and enemy fire tried to knock them out of the sky. The medevac bird delivered the Doc and wounded Marine back to Phu Bai. Only when his team leader was surrounded by surgeons and skilled professionals did Doc Merrithew release his grip and remove his hand from inside the team leader’s thigh. Thanks solely to Merrithew’s actions, the Marine survived.
“The doctors saved my leg,” the team leader would remember, “Merrithew saved my life.”
We honor you, Anzac Merrithew.