Segments in this Video

Introduction: Saved in Vietnam (01:17)


A United States Army Officer that escaped death in Vietnam searches for his rescuing helicopter commander. A soldier that faced amputation endeavors to reconnect with his surgeon.

Vietnam Conflict: First Tour (03:28)

Dave Johnson and his wife Judy have been married over 50 years. On July 29th, 1965, Dave arrives in Vietnam; troop numbers increase to combat the communist North. In 1966, he finishes his first tour; he recalls lives lost during a helicopter mission. (Credits)

Vietnam Conflict: Second Tour (03:31)

Judy recalls Dave's homecoming. In 1968, he returns to Vietnam as a captain, and leads a company tasked with tracking and killing the enemy; he recalls losing soldiers to booby traps. Wounding his leg, he returns home after the bloodiest year of the war.

United States Draft (03:11)

Between 1964 and 1973, the government drafts 650,000 soldiers, Roger Wagner among them. Most of those stationed at Long Binh work in non-combat services. Assigned to the Finance Core, Wagner volunteers to go abroad.

Wounded in Vietnam (03:22)

Although a finance clerk, Wagner also pulls guard duty. Firearms training in December 1967 draws enemy fire. He recalls getting shot through the femoral artery and the surgeons' intent to remove his leg; Vietnam amputation rates are 300% higher than World War II.

Vietnam Conflict: Third Tour (03:27)

In 1971, Johnson's leg has healed and he receives notification of his return to war. During a mission in Cambodia in 1972, his helicopter is hit and the pilot lands under hostile circumstances. He receives a response from Hillclimber Three Two.

Hero of Hillclimber Three Two (04:05)

Bruce Grable is on a routine mission when he hears the mayday transmission and responds to the call. Johnson recalls the rescue and recommending Grable for the Distinguished Flying Cross; he has not see him since.

Hero of Army Hospital (02:43)

In December 1967, Wagner enters surgery; Dr. Katz saves his leg with a grafting operation. He returns to college where he excels; he describes his active lifestyle with a well-functioning limb. He wants to find and thank the doctor in person.

United States Army Aviation Museum (03:28)

Johnson searches for information about Grable, knowing only his Vietnam helicopter pilot status; he hopes his rescuer survived. Ken Tilley locates discharge papers, revealing military service until 1990 and the awarding of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Uniformed Services University (04:39)

Wagner searches for Dr. Katz's full name. Dr. Norman Rich describes constant operations under stressful conditions. He obtains data, showing Mayer Katz as Wagner's surgeon and suggests visiting a local museum to view the hero's photograph.

Searching for Leads (02:22)

Johnson checks with veteran organizations to locate Grable, meeting with Bob Fousek at the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. They search the database, confirming that he is alive and current state of residence. They send a blanket email to association members, requesting more leads.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (04:41)

In Vietnam, 4,877 helicopter pilots and crew die; photographs taken during the Tet Offensive are on display at Newseum. The media televises the Battle of Hue, swaying public opinion. Wagner locates a photograph of Dr. Katz and further information.

Final Leads (02:18)

Johnson receives updated information about Grable. Wagner meets the executive director of cardiovascular services at a hospital in Delaware, finding that Dr. Katz has recently retired, but is still in the area.

Wagner and Katz Reunion (04:15)

Katz recalls Wagner's surgery; he had only been a surgeon six months when performing the arterial graft. Wagner saves the lives of 367 soldiers in 13 months of service. The men are happy to reunite, expressing gratitude and pride.

Johnson and Grable Reunion (06:32)

Johnson thanks Grable for his life, children, and grandchildren. Grable describes the rescue as the highlight of his career, crediting his crew's bravery. The men share stories, pictures and military decorations.

Credits: Saved in Vietnam (00:34)

Credits: Saved in Vietnam

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Saved in Vietnam

Part of the Series : We'll Meet Again, Season 2
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Join Ann Curry as two Vietnam veterans search for the heroes who saved them. An Army officer searches for the helicopter pilot who rescued him, while another soldier wants to reconnect with the surgeon who saved his leg from amputation.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: FMK169092

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.