For this week’s post, I wanted to look up any information I could find about the men in the photo. I also looked to see if any of them are alive today, and it seems that there are at least two men in the photograph that are alive today. One is Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah “Gunny” Purdie, and the other is Navy corpsman Ron “Doc” Cook who served as a medic for Kilo Company, 3rd battalion, 4th regiment of the Marine Corps. Sgt. Purdie is the African American man in the center of the “reaching out” Photo and Ron Cook is the man on the far left of the photo.
Most of the information I found came from an article titled One Instant of Chaos in Vietnam from the Cincinnati Enquirer, in which Ron Cook was interviewed about the events that took place surrounding the capture of the “reaching out” photo. Today Cook is the father of two adult children, and is a funeral director and county coroner. When asked if he could recognize any of the men in the photo, Cook was only able to recognize himself and Sgt. Purdie. As for Sgt. Purdie, he has written an autobiography titled The Journey That Brought Me to Glory: The Black Boy, the Marine, and the Christian. In this autobiography Purdie shares his experiences as a young child and as a Marine, as well as his faith. Purdie believes, as worded in the article, “God moved in every aspect of his life as he faced tough choices and challenges of pursuing and fulfilling a life well lived.” Today Sgt. Purdie lives in North Carolina aith his wife Virginia.
As for other men in the photo, the only source I could find that would identify one of them was an article on Wikipedia. The Man escorting Sgt. Purdie was identified as Darrell Hinde, but I did several searches for him and couldn’t find anything. I haven’t been able to find any sources that could identify the Marine covered in mud that’s leaning against the log.