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November 24, 2011

A GI's comment on Nocton Hall Hospital

American GI, Albert G. Netto, commented on our MACLA website in June, 2011 regarding the condition of Nocton Hall Hospital. Here is what he had to say: "It was sad to see how badly deteriorated the hospital had gotten after it was abandoned to the elements. I, at one time, like many that came before me, walked those long, long halls. I was saddened by my search for information on Nocton Hall when I found videos of bands playing heavy metal in the wards and people walking around those same halls with the movie cameras documenting tales about ghosts walking the halls.

Only God knows what they and many others did over time. It seem like nature was not the cause of all that damage. They most likely are being exposed to lead, asbestos and all kinds of fungi during those activities and might be in need of medical care someday. Have some respect for your community. It wasn't a fancy hospital but it served our countries well during many wars. That hospital had a beautiful building just outside its gates. I never saw the inside of this once stately manor.

The British took good care of us and treated us American GI's like family. They gave us a lot of things to do when we were off and invited us Yanks to their homes for dinner with their families. Being stationed at Nocton Hall during Desert Storm and living at RAF Digby was different but at least we weren't living in the sand, getting lead poisoning (shot at) and ducking scud missiles like my friend Ryan Piper who was stationed at Lakenheath and found himself in Saudi Arabia doing just that.

The weather and the IRA was the greatest threat we were warned about. While we were stationed at Nocton, 10 Downing Street was bombed by the IRA in a mortar attack from an open top VW bus and there was a huge snow storm that kept me stuck in Mumford near Lakenheath for days.

We traveled by double decked red buses to and from work at the Hospital and the only injury to hospital staff during the war was from a bus accident on the ice. Out of the 1,000 plus Air Force medical personnel there, there were about 650 that came from David Grant Medical Center at Travis AFB in Fairfield, California.

I was one of Bioenvironmental Engineering Techs that were there with Tony Llanes, Marie Blake, Major Headrick and from Environmental Health was Capt Copley, Lisa Halloway and Leslie Arana.

We were given a Quonset hut to work in and were not assigned to the nice sanitary clean and neat hospital building. We walked into the hut in the middle of the night to hear crunch, crunch with every step and it wasn't until we found the light switch did we realize the noise were the bones of birds being crushed under our feet.

The hut had all the war time mission equipment ready in place but we didn't expect all the dead birds, dirt and outright nasty smell. If anyone dropped dead from cleaning the mess then we had all the body bags. Thank God we never had to use any on the wounded being sent to us from theater of operations (8 hours away by Medical Evacuation transport). We ate American chow at Nocton and British meals at RAF Digby, RAF Cranwell and RAF Waddington where most GI's were billeted.

I remember visiting one marine on the ward who was treated for a severe shrapnel wound to the shoulder and found out he was born in Fairfield California. I think we had 750 beds and only 35 were ever filled. The war ended quickly and we went home. I think we should have gone all the way to Baghdad and taken out the butcher of Baghdad and we might not have had to go back almost 10 years later.

After 9/11 we should have sent all those brave men and women to kill Bin laden in his cave and not Iraq to find Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't exist. After all it's been almost 10 years since 3,000 innocent civilians died when the World Trade Centre came down. Pentagon and Shanksville's first civilian soldiers (passengers) did battle in the sky to save untold number on the ground."Let's Roll" was the battle cry in stopping a cowardly enemy over the skies of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Now the coward that everyone thought was living in a cave and putting his wealth into fighting infidels was living well, all along, in a Pakistani mansion, surrounded by our military allies. Oh well our Navy Seals got him and he's dead.

If God is Willing, as they say, his whole chain of command and control will be given the same chance to get 70 plus virgins in hell.

Al Netto can be reached at albertnetto@hotmail.com