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Fallen Angels | Study Guide

Walter Dean Myers

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Fallen Angels | Chapter 16 | Summary



The squad is on the helicopter, with Perry and Brew on the floor receiving medical attention. Perry is aware of them doing mouth to mouth on Brew and then covering Brew. Perry wakes up in the hospital, where he is told that he is lucky because he "ain't hurt that bad" and unlucky because he "ain't hurt bad enough to go back to the world." Perry spends time healing in the hospital, where he chats with other injured men and sees Judy Duncan, the nurse who was on the plane to Vietnam with him. After a while, the chaplain and a colonel come to the hospital to pass out Purple Hearts, and shortly thereafter, Perry receives orders to rejoin his squad.


When Perry is on the helicopter, he sees the soldier trying to save Brew and watches him die. He hears screaming and breathing that sounds labored and difficult, but he does not know where it is coming from. Perry's experience on the helicopter draws a picture of his shifting in and out of consciousness and his resulting inability to completely understand what is happening around him.

When Perry awakes at the hospital, the medic attending him tells him that his concussion is the best chance he has of going home. The medic implies that if Perry wants to get out of Vietnam, he should pretend that his head injury is worse than it is, because his other injuries are not bad enough to get him sent home. His situation reflects the very real desire of many soldiers in the historical Vietnam War to escape military service, even if meant falsifying the severity of injuries or other medical conditions.

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