Bain Brothers

E-6 Darrell Bain, right; Sergeant Gary Bain, Left. Taken in Chu Lia, Vietnam

Today I am honored to salute two brothers who served in Vietnam. Former E-6 Medic Darrell Bain and Captain Gary Bain, (Distinguished Flying Cross & Purple Heart recipient to name a few), had the unique experience of serving some of that time together. Darrell had an opportunity to act as courier to where Gary’s F-4 unit was during his  first tour. Both brothers have impressive service records and both brothers today share their experiences through either books or media.


I first enlisted in the Air Force in 1956 and was trained as a Surgical technician but also worked in the delivery room, emergency room and ran a surgical clinic. I served two years in Bermuda and two years at Dyess AFB in Abilene, Texas. I was discharged from the Air Force in 1960 then enlisted in the Army. I first worked as a Pharmacy technician then re-enlisted for Medical laboratory training. I was the Honor Graduate of the basic laboratory school and later went to the advanced laboratory school for one year where I was again the Honor Graduate. I also attended the Army’s CBR warfare school (Chemical, Biological and Radiological) and was the Honor Graduate. Awards were the usual service medals and campaign medals. My final rank was E-6.
In addition to working in the fields listed above, I ran the 541st Medical Dispensary Team in Vietnam and volunteered to go to the isolated villages to treat Vietnamese civilians.
During my second tour of Vietnam I was in charge of the laboratory at the 17th Field Hospital for the first few months then asked for a change of station to Da Nang when my brother Gary arrived in Vietnam. We managed to get together three times before I rotated home and got out of the Army to go to college. I ran the parasitology department of the lab at the 95th EVAC Hospital until I was discharged.

What did you like most about serving?
I believe I liked the training in self-discipline most and helping injured and sick troops and civilians. I enjoyed my field trips out to the isolated villages the most where I saw many different kinds of diseases I would never have seen in America, particularly parasitic infections.

What prompted you to serve?
At the time of my first enlistment only days past my 17th birthday I had no idea what I wanted from life. I decided that enlisting would help me find some kind of work I enjoyed and it did.

What were some of the greatest challenges you faced?
Some of the biggest challenges was learning to react swiftly in emergency, life or death situations in surgery and the emergency room and later in Vietnam.

What was the most rewarding experience?
My time in the villages where I treated Civilians who had never seen a doctor in their lives. Many times I feel I saved lives and helped cure some children of bad diseases such as parasites, anemia, fungus’s and the like.

What was the training and prep for your MOS?
The Air Force and Army schools were some of the best training anywhere at the time I attended the schools. I was discharged from the Army in February 1969 and can only hope the present day training is as good.

How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding?
My parents were proud of me for being in the service so long and for volunteering twice for Vietnam duty. At one time all three of us brothers were in Vietnam.  My wife at the time didn’t think so much of it, though, and we were divorced soon after I returned from my first tour.

What opportunities or advantages or disadvantages did you have after reentering civilian life?
The utmost advantage was the G.I. Bill which enabled me to go to college and obtain a degree in Medical Technology. I was the first and only one in my family to graduate from college. The discipline taught in the service helped me immensely in school. Later on when I was without medical insurance I was able to go to VA clinics for treatment and drugs which I probably couldn’t have afforded at the time.

What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country?
Before enlisting, decide why you are doing so. Is it to serve your country in return for the benefits gained form living in America or is simply for the financial advantages later? Either case, decide if you are prepared to face death if it comes to that and know that your comrades will be depending on you, just as you will be on them.
In general I believe that a term of enlistment in any of the branches of the military will prepare you to face civilian life with much more confidence, knowledge and knowing the value of comradeship. If the military is not in need of that many young men and women I believe we should have some equivalent service they could sign up for to help our country. It would also help the youngsters in more ways than they could possibly imagine.

Darrell Bain
Fictionwise Author of the Year
Multiple Dream Realm and Eppie awards

See all my books at

Bain Book


When the Williard brothers get going, any resemblance to a real war is purely coincidental! Sgt. James Williard uses his position as the hauncho of a medical dispensary in Vietnam as a base, while he and his crazy medics turn the war zone into a party zone. Williard’s two brothers, Jerry, a naval ensign and Jason (Jumpin’ Jase) the Marine fighter pilot who regularly loses 15 million dollar planes join the fun and then it is like no war ever recorded. Wilder than M*A*S*H, a hilarious romp! A fictional novel but events based upon true episodes. I have also authored another book with Will Stafford, a helicopter pilot titled Complete Toppers.


I enlisted in the Marine Corps in Aug of 1959. Served as an electronics technician for six years attaining the rank of Sergeant. I started flight school in Pensacola FL in Oct ’65 as a Marine Aviation Cadet and received my wings and commission Apr 17 1967. From there I transitioned to the F4 Phantom at Cherry Point NC then went to Vietnam in Aug ‘68.
My first squadron in ‘Nam was VMFA-323 and in Apr ’69 was transferred to VMFA-115. On my 213th mission I was shot down and was medevac’d to the Pensacola Hospital in FL. I had sustained a broken arm and leg as a result of a high speed ejection in Laos. I was down about three hours in an extremely hostile and heavily defended area of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The A1 Sky Raiders and other supporting aircraft paved the way for the Jolly Green chopper to rescue me. One of the A1’s as well as the chopper that picked me up sustained battle damage from enemy gunners.
Out of Vietnam I received a Distinguished Flying Cross, 15 Air Medals, a Purple Heart, a Navy Achievement Award for my work in Rescue and Survival Training for air crews, a Combat Action Ribbon and two Good Conduct medals for my service while enlisted. In 1971 I was accepted as one of the first ten pilots to fly and pioneer the AV-8A Harrier, a vertical take-off and landing jet. I flew Harriers until 1977 and retired in Oct 1979 as a Captain.

What did you like most about serving?
I loved flying jet aircraft, especially the Harrier. I also received my Water Safety and Survival Instructor rating and served in that capacity training aircrew for land and water survival my last two years in the Corps. I felt I was well versed and qualified in that area as I had to eject from an F4 at night over the South China Sea while in ‘Nam as well as when I was shot down. I also ejected the third time from a Harrier that flamed out on me in Feb ’77.

What prompted you to serve?
I dreamed of being a Marine Corps Aviator from the time I was 10 years old. Seeing the movie “Gung-Ho” and watching the Blue Angels on TV intrigued me.

What were some of the greatest challenges you faced?
The greatest challenge I faced was attempting to shed the guilt of losing my backseater when I was shot down. Having lived a life of sobriety now for about 20 years I have found closure and am at peace with myself.

What was the most rewarding experience?
The most rewarding experience has been looking up my rescuers from when I was shot down in Laos and hosting a reunion for them on my 40 acres here in OK. There, 40 years later to the day, I gave them my personal thanks for saving my life. I am presently producing a documentary of that rescue.

What was the training and prep for your MOS?
Knowing I was accepted for flight school I attempted to get myself in shape physically for the rigors of what I knew was going to be a training syllabus that was extremely demanding. It paid off as at the end of 16 weeks of pre-flight I won the prestigious position of Regimental Commander.

How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding?
It is my belief that the wives of Marine Corps pilots as well as other family members are extremely proud of their service even with the inherent hardships of deployments and separation.

What opportunities or advantages or disadvantages did you have after reentering civilian life?
Personally I flailed around doing a bit of everything and was drunk most of the time. But when I woke up 20 or so years ago and put the bottle down my life turned around. I’ve led an adventuresome life. Sky-diving, riding horses, searching for gold, scuba-diving just to name a few have left me with many fond memories. And I continue to seek adventure.

What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country?
My advice to any young person thinking of going into the military is to take advantage of everything that is offered. Learn your assigned skills and the skills of those above you as well.  Stay happy, stay motivated and seek higher responsibilities. And seek wisely the counsel of your elders.

Gary Bain owner of
Adventure · Research · Production
“Dedicated to preserving culture, history, and tradition”


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