Wayne Simmons

Wayne Simmons
 

Specialist 5 Wayne Simmons was a giant of a man, and much to his delight he was called "Tiny." In seven months he proved himself to be one of the bravest members of the 57th Medical Detachment, setting a standard that would be hard to equal, let alone exceed. He demonstrated courage and leadership abilities and compassion as well. He wept unashamedly at the sight of an injured child. He declined recuperation leave in Japan, preferring to remain with the unit after being wounded. He did not want others to cover for him. On April 1, 1965, he became the first DUSTOFF crewmember to be killed in Vietnam. When a wounded soldier went down, he unplugged and went to assist him, neglecting to inform his pilots. Receiving accurate fire and being overloaded, they left not knowing he was still on the ground. They tried to return when they noticed him missing, but the enemy had overrun the LZ. The next day his body was found only a few feet from the captain he had tried to save. He was not "first-up" when the call came in, but took the mission because he and his ship were ready. Specialist 5 Wayne Simmons was inducted into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame on 24 February 2002.