YORKVILLE – A Yorkville man who was badly wounded in the Vietnam War hugged the woman whose father saved his life during an emotional reunion of family and friends.
Navy Corpsman Larry Goss of Indiana was killed in a mortar attack just hours after he treated Marine Corps Private Camron Carter of Yorkville on Feb. 14, 1968.
Lori Goss-Reaves, daughter of Larry Goss, appeared at Yorkville American Legion Post 489 on Sept. 11 to sign copies of a new book about her father’s service, her mother’s devotion and her own search to learn the truth of what had happened to her father.
“I really just wanted my dad,” said Goss-Reaves, who was not even six months old when her father was killed.
Goss-Reaves’ book, “Kiss Lori For Me,” details her search, including two trips to Vietnam.
Carter, who first contacted Goss-Reaves in 2014, turned out to be an important part of Goss-Reaves’ efforts to find the truth.
“We we’re out on a patrol trying to find the North Vietnamese when they caught us in an ambush,” Carter said.
“I couldn’t move. I called for help. I thought I had lost my left arm. It was just hanging from two pieces of flesh,” Carter said. “My whole left side of my body was full of holes.”
A Navy corpsman is an enlisted medical specialist. Instead of serving on a ship. Goss found himself on the front lines with the Marines and a rendezvous with fate. He patched up Carter.
“I shouldn’t be here. I should have bled to death. God was with me,” Carter said.
Carter was hit at about 3 p.m. About three hours later, Goss was killed by a mortar round.
But in the fog of war, the bodies of Goss and nine marines also killed in the attack were not immediately recovered. Goss was listed as missing in action for 21 days. Eventually the corpsman’s body was recovered and returned to Indiana.
Meanwhile, it was not until nine hours after he was wounded that Carter was transported by helicopter to a hospital. The doctors said they would have to amputate his left arm.
“I said no you’re not,” Carter said. “I’m a musician. “You’re not going to take my arm.”
Finally, the doctors agreed that if he could squeeze a tennis ball they would save the arm, and Carter squeezed it will all his might.
“I’m a very firm believer,” Carter said. “God saved my arm.”
Today, Carter plays electric bass in the band at Restore Church in Yorkville, while his wife Michele Carter sings in the choir.
Michele Carter is grateful that her husband persevered and did not lose his arm.
“I think he would be a different man,” Michele Carter said. “He played in a rock band and now he plays for God.”
Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient Rick Gardner of Yorkville came to learn about Goss-Reaves’ story.
“I think everybody should tell their stories about Vietnam,” Gardner said. “Let their families learn what it was like,” he said.
“Kiss Lori For Me” is filled with photographs, including copies of telegrams from the government to Goss-Reaves’ mother first listing her husband as missing and later reporting his death.
Goss-Reaves is an associate professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. Her husband Eric Reaves is a syndicated cartoonist who produces the Hi and Lois comic strip.
The book is published by Patagonia Press and is available on Amazon.com.
Source: The Daily Chronicle
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