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Historical

World War Two Vet Describes Pulling A Bullet Out Of His Wrist With His Teeth

An Interview with World War Two vet 88 year old George Chrisman, whom describes getting shot on opening day of Battle Okinawa of April 1945. A battle that would last 82 days, with 7000 soldiers killed and approximately 40,000 wounded.

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"Would you like to have the purple heart? No...no...that not a big prize."

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Photo Credits : (GettyImages)
Keystone Hulton Archive
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

You actually get hit in the hand, yeah, we didn't worry about that, just a small. Well, what did it feel like? How did you realize what had happened?  It just burned like someone hit you with hot coals, and you looked down at your hand and what do you see? It was right here on the wrist, your left wrist, and just reached in there and just, nothing else to grab and so you bit on it and spit it out, burn your lips, just you do what you have to. I'm sorry I'm laughing I'm just picturing this and again your talking about this so mundanely like this is something that just happens, but you have a bullet that lodges in your wrist a hot piece of metal and you took your teeth and bit in and got it out of there....Ya...You never done that before? Nope, we been trained though for first line medics because there's no doctors on there, so if someone gets shot, or shrapnel or whatever, you can do a minor incision, and take it out. If they break a bone than you fiddle with it and than find out whats a matter and tape it up. Most those guys, "I don't care, I'm gonna go on, get me well I'm goin, my job is to fight give me my rifle". So you been trained to render first aid if people were injured around you, but is that how you were trained to do it? To bite a bullet out of somebody? No, you just do what you have to, so when it hits you, you go ahead and you clamp down on the bullet and pull it out of there and spit it out, naturally. Didn't think about saving it for your kids? Nope. You weren't thinking about ever being married and having kids. Saving your life, your life is more important, get it out of there. So what did it look like after you took the bullet out of there? I imagine there's some blood, right? ya some blood, and sore, push it back together as much as you can and put a bandage over it. You had to do that all by yourself? Ya. Put a little formaldehyde on it and bandage it up. Did they give you the purple heart? No, because there was nobody there and no medics. So i got into my paperwork, it was signed by the officer that I had a purple heart, but I can't get one because its not in the medical records. Really? Does that matter to you? Would you like to have the purple heart? No..no...that not a big prize.