MILINET: A Sea Story
The following is re-posted by special request.
MILINET: A Sea Story
By: Maj. Anthony F. Milavic, USMC (Ret.)
The Marine Corps Pantheon echoes with names such as LtGen "Chesty" Puller, GySgt Dan Daly, and Gen. Ray Davis. I suggest that one more name be added: LCpl. David V. Nuno. No he didn't earn five Navy Crosses or two Medals of Honor or at least one of every medal available to a Marine. I'm not even sure he was ever awarded as much as a Good Conduct Medal. But, as those other Marines did when danger appeared and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, he attacked. LCpl.Nuno chose to act even though he was not armed and those around him did nothing and wanted him to do nothing. Within seconds of engagement, he sustained a life-threatening wound; yet, LCpl Nuno continued to struggle "tooth and nail" until he stood alone on the field of conflict. His singularly bold and tenacious action left his fellow Marines in awe and captured the admiration of senior leadership thousands of miles away in the Pentagon.
As he lay convalescing from his wounds in the hospital, members of the Office of the Secretary of the Navy embraced this lance corporal from Hq. Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines by wearing T-shirts emblazoned with, "FREE LCPL NUNO." It appeared that he was facing disciplinary action for an act that should have been applauded and not punished. So, they brought the instrument of peaceful demonstration from the streets of Washington, D.C. to the halls of the Pentagon. Unfortunately, that extraordinary action failed to bring him the recognition he deserved for few remember this Marine warrior today. Learn more of his saga in the official Marine Corps Casualty Report quoted, in part, below and join in reinvigorating the effort started by the Office of the Secretary of the Navy to now "FREE LCPL NUNO" from obscurity:
260810Z SEP 86
FM CG FIRST MARDIV
TO CMC WASHINGTON DC
SUBJ: PERSONNEL CASUALTY REPORT (REPORT SYMBOL MC-3040-02)
1. NUNO, DAVID V.
14. 1800, 260925 ACORN MOUNTAIN MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, 29 PALMS, CA
15. A GROUP OF MARINES SPIED A MOJAVE RATTLE SNAKE UNDER A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE WHEREUPON THEY WERE TOLD TO STAY AWAY FROM IT. SPECIFICALLY, LCPL NUNO WAS GIVEN A DIRECT ORDER BY HIS BTRY CMDR NOT TO PLAY WITH THE SNAKE WHEREUPON HE PROCEEDED TO GRAB THE MOJAVE RATTLE SNAKE AND WAS BITTEN ON THE RIGHT HAND. SNM [Subject Named Marine] THEN BIT THE SNAKE'S HEAD OFF--
You "Snake Eaters" from Marine Reconnaissance and Army Special Forces stand at attention and recognize the "Live-Snake Eater!"
Semper LCpl David V. Nuno,
Anthony F. Milavic
Major USMC (Ret.)
MILINET: Resps (3) "A Sea Story"
Ya gotta love him, but do you want to make him famous?
Great story. But, how about posting the rest of the CAS Report?
Casualty Report Continued . . .
. . . AS RESULT A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF VENUM WAS INJECTED
INTO SNM'S RIGHT HAND AND A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF VENUM WAS
DEPOSITED INTO SNM'S MOUTH. SNM IMMEDIATELY FELT NUMBNESS
THROUGHOUT HIS BODY. SNM WAS TREATED ON THE SCENE BY CORPSMAN AT
APPROXIMATELY 1830, 860925 AND TRANSPORTED TO THE REGIMENTAL AID
STATION WHERE HE WAS TREATED AND TRANSPORTED TO 29 PALMS NAVAL
SNM ARRIVED AT 1903, 860925 AT 29 PALMS NAVAL HOSPITAL WHERE HE
RECEIVED FURTHER TREATMENT AND WAS TRANSPORTED AT 1955 to PALM
SPRINGS DESERT HOSPITAL. SNM ARRIVED AT 2020, 860925 AT PALM
SPRINGS DESERT HOSPITAL.
29. SNM SUFFERING FROM SNAKE BITE TO RIGHT HAND WITH MINIMAL VENUM
INJECTED AND WHAT APPEARS TO BE SNAKE BITE TO TONGUE WITH
SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF VENUM ON TONGUE AND IN MOUTH CAVITY. SNM
HAS A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF SWELLING TO FACE AND THROAT AREA. OF
PARAMOUNT CONCERN AT THIS TIME IS TO CONTROL SWELLING TO THROAT
31. PALM SPRINGS DESERT HOSPITAL (619) 325-4735
32. IT IS ANTICIPATED SNM WILL SURVIVE THIS ORDEAL WITH AN
APPROXIMATE STAY OF TWO WEEKS IN THE PALM SPRINGS DESERT HOSPITAL.
SNM WAS TREATED IN THE PALM SPRINGS DESERT HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM
BY DR. WEGIS. HE WILL BE TREATED WHILE IN THE ICU-2 BY DR. GATO AT
MILINET: Resps (2) "A Sea Story
We handle these things better in the Army.
A few miles away at Ft Irwin, we had a bit dicier situation.
While out in the field, one of my tank commanders woke up in his sleeping bag with a large rattler on his chest. A soldier called the company commander who promptly walked over with his NM .45 and shot the head off the rattler.
The rattler was served for breakfast. It did NOT taste like chicken.
Continued maintenance of good order and discipline, higher unit morale, continued low rate of injury and illness for command, contained medical expenses, protein supplement to field diet at no extra expense.
Thomas H. Lipscomb
Ah yes. LCpl Nuno (pronounced NEWnYo). Alas, not only was I a witness to this incident, but also the Marine who saved his ass from dying, by rapidly ordering for a medivac after I recognized the defenseless snake was in fact a Mojave Green vice a diamond back which is what he thought he was picking up. Never did read the official report on this but here is how it really went down.
We were cold on the range and knocking out some training. Nuno was a good LCpl but was destined never to be above the rank of LCpl. Therefore instead of his FDC duties, he was relegated to the joys of battery gunny errand boy. I have to caveat the story first. About five days earlier, Nuno won ten bucks on a bet that he would eat a whole blue belly lizard. I have the pictures in storage of this fine event.
On this evening, a certain young PFC had been discussing the various ways to cook up rattlesnake and the joys of its meat. Nuno said, if I get one, will you cook it up. All in the crowd thought nothing of it until later that afternoon as chance would have it, the report came through the battery pos that a Western Diamond back had been found and the PFC should get his cooking utensils ready for action. The bugger had crawled under a five ton to escape the evening heat and cool a little. The snake being forcibly removed, and the rumor of a grill starting was enough to warrant the command from the FDC that this would be a day no snakes would die. Let alone be consumed by hungry Devil Dogs. So the bugger was let go. Persistent little bastard he was, (maybe a death wish), as he crawled right back under the five ton. This time, Nuno had enough. This snake would be eaten. He had a safe hold on him as I approached. At about 20 feet, I told him to be carefull and he was not holding a Western D-Back as previously thought. With this, Nuno decided to get a closer look at the beast and as he loosened his grip, the snake had a change of heart about being eaten. With the speed of most rattlers, he reached his head right onto Nuno's finger. Throwing the snake to the ground stunned it. While he sucked the poison out of his finger his anger and confusion got the best of him. He picked that thing up with two hands, slid his left hand over the head and bit the neck with ferocity and speed that would have impressed Ozzy Osbourne. The snake was no more.
The Medivac was FAST!! Literally seconds after the bit (snake v Nuno), the call went out. A Ch-53 landed what seemed only moments later.
Talking to Nuno back in the rear, he was a bit humbled but still just as crazy. The guy would do anything for you. But as I mentioned, trouble was his middle name. Seems while on medical leave, he went north to his home in Los ANgeles and toked up a reefer or two with his homies. The piss test was coming and he knew it. What else was there for him to do but get rip snortin drunk off his ass. The OOD found him and took him to the hospital at Lake Oneill to get treated. Knowing the THC would show on the blood test, he jumped out the window, stole a jeep and drove back to his barracks room. Two weeks later, LCpl Nuno was no longer an active duty Marine. Funny thing is, it all happened on Halloween.
On a final note, when the SIR was read by the Commandant (General Kelly), the report back to the FDC on the following morning was said to have gone something like this.....
"Well the army might have Rambo, but the Marine Corps has got Nuno"
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
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