Mayer Katz (left) and Alvin Bert “A.B.” Grantham

Credit: Ron MacArthur/Cape Gazette

A Battlefield Reunion Decades in the Making

After graduating from Hopkins, Mayer Katz, A&S '58, enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and then took his surgical skills to Vietnam in July 1967. He performed over 400 surgeries in mobile army surgical hospitals; one of the most grueling was the several hours he and his surgical team spent putting 18-year-old U.S. Marine Pfc. Alvin Bert "A.B." Grantham back together after he was shot during the bloodiest battle of the war.

In 2017, Katz read journalist Mark Bowden's book Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam, which included a photo of Grantham. A phone call was arranged, and the two vets made plans to meet. Then COVID hit. In September 2022, Grantham finally visited Katz.

Asked how he felt seeing Grantham in person, Katz struggles to find the words, then says, "You had to be there. It was just an emotional thing." Katz was named a 2023 Johns Hopkins Distinguished Alumnus in recognition of his lifesaving work.

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