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Duty to serve, duty to conscience : the story of two conscientious objector combat medics during the Vietnam War  Cover Image Book Book

Duty to serve, duty to conscience : the story of two conscientious objector combat medics during the Vietnam War / James C. Kearney and William H. Clamurro.


"Despite all that has been written about Vietnam, the story of the 1-A-O conscientious objector, who agreed to put on a uniform and serve in the field without weapons rather than accept alternative service outside the military, has received scarce attention. This joint memoir by two 1-A-O combat medics, James C. Kearney and William H. Clamurro, represents a unique approach to the subject. It is a blend of their personal narratives-with select Vietnam poems by Clamurro-to illustrate noncombatant objection as a unique and relatively unknown form of Vietnam War protest. Both men initially met during training and then served as frontline medics in separate units "outside the wire" in Vietnam. Clamurro was assigned to a tank company in Tay Ninh province next to the Cambodian border, before reassignment to an aid station with the 1st Air Cavalry. Kearney served first as a medic with an artillery battery in the 1st Infantry Division, then as a convoy medic during the Cambodian invasion with the 25th Infantry Division, and finally as a Medevac medic with the 1st Air Cavalry. In this capacity Kearney was seriously wounded during a "hot hoist" in February 1971 and ended up being treated by his friend Clamurro back at base. Because of their status as "a new breed of conscientious objector"-i.e., more political than religious in their convictions-the authors' experience of the Vietnam War differed fundamentally from that of their fellow draftees and contrasted even with the great majority of their fellow 1-A-O medics, whose conscientious objector status was largely or entirely faith-based"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781574418965
  • ISBN: 1574418963
  • Physical Description: xviii, 237 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
  • Publisher: Denton, Texas : University of North Texas Press, [2023]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 223-228) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Poems / by William Clamurro -- Acknowledgments -- Prologue / Kearney -- Texas A&M: "Pray for War" or "dulce bellum inexpertis" / Kearney -- You're in the Army Now; Training at Fort Sam Houston / Kearney -- "I Don't Give a Damn, Next Stop is Vietnam" / Kearney -- Things We Saw on the Ground / Clamurro -- Cu Chi and Cambodia / Kearney -- Cu Chi: R & R, Intensive Care, Morgue, and MEDCAP / Kearney -- Reports from the Field, Vietnam '69-'71 / Clamurro -- Medevac Medic / Kearney -- Final Mission / Kearney -- Nostos-Homecoming / Kearney -- The Conscience that Was Lost: 1-A-O Medics in Vietnam / Clamurro -- A Final Word / Kearney and Clamurro.
Subject: Kearney, James C., 1946-
Clamurro, William H.
United States. Army > Medical personnel > Biography.
États-Unis. Army > Personnel médical > Biographies.
United States. Army.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 > Medical care.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 > Conscientious objectors > United States > Biography.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 > Personal narratives, American.
Guerre du Viêt-nam, 1961-1975 > Soins médicaux.
Guerre du Viêt-nam, 1961-1975 > Objecteurs de conscience > États-Unis > Biographies.
HISTORY / Wars & Conflicts / Vietnam War.
Armed Forces > Medical personnel.
Conscientious objectors.
Medical care.
United States.
Genre: autobiographies (literary works)
Personal narratives.
Personal narratives > American.
Personal narratives.
Récits personnels.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 959.704 KEA (Text) 000173347 New Books Available -

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