Ron Trowbridge might not have met his bride if he hadn’t contracted rubella while in school at Camp Lejeune to become a corpsman for the U.S. Marines.
Trowbridge was out of corpsman school so much with the disease that he was held back to attend the next session. A buddy in the school invited him to attend a wedding in Raleigh. Trowbridge accepted and at the wedding he was immediately attracted to Garner’s Janet Bass. He was grateful to discover she was his blind date.
He returned to Garner the next weekend to visit with her before shipping out to Vietnam. On his first night in country, while the base was being attacked, he wrote her and asked her if she would marry him if he survived Vietnam. She wrote back that she would.
“We had only been together a couple of days, but we both knew,” he said.
Trowbridge learned quickly to not respond immediately if someone called out for a corpsman during a firefight.
“We were taught to pause for a few seconds,” he said. “We were high priority targets along with machine gunners, leaders and radio men. Some of the North Vietnamese could speak English as well as we could. They would cry out corpsman, hoping someone would pop right up.”