Wayne’s wat

Jeff Kisseloff

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Like a lot of Vietnam vets who saw combat, Wayne Dale Matthysse’s life took an abrupt turn on a single day in 1968. A medic, Matthysse was hit in the face by shrapnel from a mortar shell. Worse, his rescue drew fire to his location, and while he was saved, the rest of the soldiers in his unit were killed. He also witnessed the killing of two children and had done nothing to save them. “From that day on,” Gail Gutradt writes In A Rocket Made of Ice, her often moving and occasionally stupefying memoir of her time spent with Matthysee at Wat Opot, a community for children who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS, Wayne would ask himself “for what was I saved?”

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