ABC 30 News
March 29, 2016
Grantham told Action News, "When we got back to triage they actually put me in a body bag."
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A retired US Marine from the Valley has been on one final mission - to find a comrade who he thought died by his side.
In an iconic Vietnam War photo taken in February of 1968 Lance Corporal Rick Hill of Coalinga could found at the top right. Laying on his side was a fellow US Marine named Alvin Grantham. Up until a few weeks ago Rick thought Alvin died shortly after the picture was taken but that was not the case.
Hill recalled the most intense firefight of his two tours. He was shot in one leg and took shrapnel in the other. "I was wounded in the battle of Hue during Tet February 68. We were pinned down. We were in trouble."
Rick noticed a tank rolling by.
"They asked me, got room for one more and they always got room for one more and they threw me up on the tank."
The famous picture of wounded US Marines being medevaced on a tank appeared in Life and Time magazine. Rick's mom told him, "That's the only way I knew you were still alive."
Rick tearfully told us, "For 48 years I look at this picture and look at these guys looking back at me and I always figured it's an honor."
Since 1991 Rick and his wife Hayley have lived the quiet life in Coalinga but that all changed a few weeks ago when someone answered a facebook post about the photo.
"He says, hey I'm the guy laying on the tank without a shirt. I look at my wife and go no way. That guy died."
That's what Rick was told but Alvin Grantham of Mobile, Alabama messaged him and wrote, "Lots of people think I didn't make it."
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