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Sgt. Grit, I served in our beloved Corps from 1987 - 1991. I have been a letter carrier for the Postal Service for the past 16 years. I have a walking route that crosses many busy streets and businesses. I have a Senior Citizen Center on my route. Every day I see a van dropping off senior citizens.
One day, after dropping the mail off, I noticed a man wearing an Iwo Jima survivor hat. I nodded as I walked by but I didn't speak to him as he was involved in a conversation with a few other gentlemen.
About a week later, I saw the van again. When the man got off the van, he looked at me and nodded as we passed. I stopped, turned around and shouted "Hey Marine!" He could have been an 18 year old boot all over again. He stopped, turned, stood at attention and responded, "I haven't been called Marine in 60 years". He saluted smartly and I returned the salute.
The next time I saw him, he had his daughter with him. She told me that when he came home the week before, he was walking taller and seemed in much better spirits. He told her what had happened. She said that she felt obligated to come and meet me. I told her that all Marines are brothers no matter when they served. This Marine survived one of the bloodiest battles of WWII and everyone is in his debt.
I still see him weekly and always say "hello" and make sure he is not in need of anything.
Former, X, whatever... A Marine is a Marine - plain and simple!
I have a story that I am certain every Marine can understand how exactly it was we felt. I am currently deployed with the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines with a group of 23 Marines from 12th Marines Regiment in Okinawa, Japan. We are a small unit and don't see any action, just supporting the command and the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. Thanksgiving day rolling around for us means a good meal at the chow hall (one that's not either microwaved or fried) and an extra 6 hours spent out on the road escorting some "Distinguished Visitors" from the US Congress. (I know most people probably have never heard of OEF-Philippines. But its real, Google it.)
As one of the few NCOs down here, I am proud to say that me and my Marines executed flawlessly, as we always do. It's no Iraq or Afghan here, but spending long amounts of time in up-armored vehicles in 90 degrees with 90% humidity, along with full body armor and combat loads seems to make me think of another war in the Marine Corps' history. We get the DVs to our compound and disembark to get some chow, hopefully a good meal. None of us rush in to get food, though, we make sure our weapons are clear and functioning and that nothing has happened to our trucks while we were out.
By the time our weapons are put up (no weapons in chow hall here) and gear and trucks secured, the party of "D.V.s" is seated and eating their Thanksgiving dinner. We walk up to the door and are turned away by an Army E-8 saying we are not allowed to eat right now. Nearly appalled (and pretty p!ssed because who in the h&ll is this hooah to deny my Marines a Thanksgiving meal!?), I ask the MSgt why; "Regular people aren't allowed in while the DVs are in there. You guys can come back when they are finished."
I calmly explained that we were there security escort, and as soon as they finished we had to take them back out, could we get food to go? Nope, guess not. I tell my guys to hold on, and I go find Gunny with a major WTF? Look on my face. (Note: Last Christmas in Okinawa, I recall Marine Colonels and Generals serving their Marines food, not taking over the chow hall for themselves.) Gunny gets it arranged so we can get a quick bite to go before we head back out, but on thanksgiving a turkey sandwich and a can of cranberries just doesn't cut us. But not once, NOT F'IN ONCE, do I hear any of my Marine gripe or complain, they simply step off, suit up, go Condition 1, and head back out to our trucks
We prep the vehicles and wait for our DVs to come out, tummies with just enough in them to make a man mighty angry. Everyone's out, missions go, we move out, one hand on my M9, one on the wheel. After a few stops at designated "Visit Locations," the DVs are out and back on the plane. We head back to the compound, but games not over yet. We still got 15 mikes outside the wire. Our shoulders relax a little with the DVs out of the target area. We get back and all non-USMC personnel rush out of the convoy to eat for the second time.
Not my Marines. We clear our vehicles, secure hatches, check and double check our weapons. Brush off our armor, and then head to the chow hall. Almost closing time, but we make it in. Not a soul in sight in there except for our buddies the Filipino cooks. What a pleasant surprise. After hours in the heat totally tac'ed up in gear, being denied chow because we are just "regular people," and some crazy driving through the streets in the Philippines, we Marines can sit down and eat a real Thanksgiving dinner with just each other. We go through the line sticky, sweaty and worn the h&ll out; get some cold turkey, some mashed potatoes that aren't quite as squishy as they probably were when the hooahs got to eat, some dressing crumbs, and, well, we all know what happens to gravy when it gets cold. The cake is droopy by now, all the pies are gone, there isn't even any d*mn ice cream left.
We sit down with each other, and I realize that as sh*tty as the end of the stick is that we got today, this makes it worth it. We don't care about feeling important and eating with important people, it's that every single one of us got back and are able to sit down and eat thanksgiving dinner with each other. Some days I regret enlisting, like everybody does, and I am certain that I am only doing 4 and out, but this camaraderie, this family I have developed with my Marines cannot be found anywhere else. This is what makes it worthwhile. As we finish our meals, one of the workers, who is grinning from ear to ear, comes out and sets a fresh baked pumpkin pie down right in front of us. Not sure why they saved it for us, but my advice to every Marine out there, make friends with your chow hall workers.
Today my Marines did their jobs, and they did them d*mn well. We didn't expect much, but we didn't expect to be denied Thanksgiving dinner because we are just regular people, but I guess that's how the army does it. We knew we weren't going to get a thank you or a job well done from anybody but Gunny and maybe the TF Commander (Army O-6, but he's a h&lluva guy, for a hooah). But we did get a fresh pumpkin pie and we got to eat it together. And brothers, we are what it is all about. I couldn't care less what a US Congressman thinks of me or my guys, because the only thing that matters were the guys eating Thanksgiving dinner with me.
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
SOCPAC/ 3rd Bn 12th Marines 3d MarDiv
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Two Of Them Join Me
As a young man I successfully made an attempt to get away from my father by joining the Corps. I managed to get one of my "connected" friends get me a forged birth certificate, because I was only 16 years old, and as soon as I got it I went down to the Marine Corps recruiting office at the main post office in Chicago, Illinois and enlisted. I was subsequently sent out to MCRD San Diego where I completed my boot camp early in 1952 and went to Camp Pendleton with the 1st Marines for advanced infantry training. Immediately after that I shipped out to Korea in late 1952. I served in Korea until the spring of 1953 when I was wounded and sent home.
Arriving back at Camp Pendleton after my recovery from the wounds I had received I was selected to go to DI training for almost three months and then assigned to MCRD San Diego as a junior DI under World War II S/Sgt H. D. Herrington of Bangor, ME. S/Sgt Herrington was an excellent example of what Marines should be, and he taught me how to become a better Marine and train Marines which the Corps could be proud of.
After a couple of years of this I was enlisted for guard company and eventually ended up at Great Lakes Naval Training Center on the North shore of Chicago, my home town. My father was totally unaware of how close I was to home and during one of my leaves to the city I ran in to him and he was totally shocked at how much I had grown up and matured since I had last seen him. He tried to fall in to his old pattern of physically abusing me, but when he swung on me I grabbed his wrist in a vice like grip and drove him to his knees, as I was taught, and told him that his days of abusing me were over.
I thank the Marine Corps for the values I have today and for the experiences which they afforded me. Now that I am retired I willingly volunteer at the local VA hospital in an effort to give back to our men and women in uniform and who served bravely in all of the conflicts we have been involved in. It will be my pleasure to have two of them join me for Thanksgiving dinner and to share what I have with them for their service and their sacrifice.
I have met a young Marine with the 3rd Marines who has just returned from Afghanistan, and thanks to you I was able to get him an Iraqi Freedom ka-bar for Christmas, when he will be coming home to Southern California to be with his whole family.
When I lost all of my medals and ribbons while going through my divorce, I am now able to replace them little by little each month. I will soon have all of them organized once again so that I can mount them in one of your display case.
S/Sgt I. J. Oshana, (Ret)
2Bn. 1st Marine Div.
1952 - 1962
Eight Gallons Of
There was a note in your letter of Nov 19 stating that a lot of men had R after their USMC. During WWII most of the Marines were in that category and the reason was that many patriotic men enlisted for "Duration of the war plus six months" and wanted to return to their civilian jobs after the war was over. This also allowed the USMC to return to its prewar strength without having to wait for four-year enlistments to expire. The Corps did not accept draftees until the latter months of 1942 or early 1943. I believe that all men who became Marines after being drafted were classified USMCR and went through boot camp.
One thing I have never seen in the Sgt. Grit Newsletter is that some civilian specialists were sent to boot camp for some training. I don't think they received the whole training but it was for conditioning and familiarization with military procedures. Most of these men were too old for the Corps but their specialties were needed and they could train others. I remember some of them talking about some military wiremen splicing phone wires and making errors where a man could make a phone call and wind up talking to himself on the long loop that was created around the whole island. These specialists had to troubleshoot to correct the errors.
A lot of Marines came from states where driver licenses were not issued until age 21 which caused a shortage of drivers. Personally, though I was attached to a HQ Bn, When it came time to drive vehicles onto the beach from an LST a call was made for any man aboard who had a civilian driver license to report to the tank deck. When I reported and asked the ensign in charge where my jeep was he told me that all jeeps were taken and pointed to a truck with several buckets from steam shovels aboard. Murphy's law took over and the throttle was stuck and I had to keep slipping the clutch to keep from running over the vehicle ahead of me. Two of my buddies wanted to go with me just so they could ride instead of wade. We had some time before we were to start so they borrowed two cases of food from the ship's supply.
Several days after eating K-rations we decided to open our purloined food supply. We did not appreciate the eight gallons of prunes.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have been reading your newsletter for a while now and have ordered several items through your wonderful catalog. It is inspiring to see the amount of loyalty and time honored tradition that you display. I served from 1980 to 1985 as a corpsman, 14 months of which was on the island of Okinawa at 1st Marine Air Wing MCAS Futenma. I was assigned to the dispensary as well as to MATCS 18 when they deployed to the field.
In October 1983 when the Marine barracks were in Beirut were bombed we all felt the loss of someone who we knew. The base had a candlelight service that evening to honor our fallen comrades and it did not matter whether you were Navy or Marine, we all came together as one at this time of sorrow.
I recently decided to add another tattoo to my collection, and since I had none from my service days, my wife and I thought a memorial tattoo to my fallen brothers would be appropriate.
Below is my latest tat, and the phrase I think I coined, "Semper Fi corpsman". I have been called devil doc and doc by many, but this term seems to fit like a glove. The upside down hearts represent teardrops, one for our fallen Marine brothers and the other for all of the corpsman that have died doing what they do.
Thank you for your newsletter, keep up the excellent work you do and Semper Fi to all who served before, who now serve and who will in our future protect this great country..
Robert L. Seago, HM3
Redding , Ca
Corpsman In Every Hatch
SF Sgt Grit,
Before leaving the Nam in June 1971, one requirement was to have our shot records updated. We went to a dispensary in DaNang where the Navy checked our "International Certificates Of Vaccination". Those of us needing new immunization injections had numbers marked on our shoulders corresponding to a particular shot. I believe I had two numbers on one shoulder and one on the other. As I walked down a hallway with corpsmen in every hatch, I received about eight inoculations, most with those air injection guns. (remember those?)
Thanks guys for not letting me bring anything detrimental back to the world!
LCpl Daniel Buchanan
Chesty Puller's Grave site. His is to the left, his wife's is to the right.
Pictures of our wedding. Dec.26 1953
Chuck & Barbara Batherson
Just recently I received a few photos from my former platoon Sgt. Billy Johnson of Conn.
In the photo was a group of Marines from the 11th Engineer Bn - Charlie Co. out on route # 1 and involved in road sweeps for the day - the year was 1968 and the area was the DMZ.
Listed on Marine L/Cpl. Danny L. Jones' helmet was the message of "Painesville Ohio". So with our big reunion coming up next Oct 2010 in DC, I called for information. Nothing. Then on the 2nd day - we found him!
Marine L/Cpl. Danny L. Jones of Charlie co 11th Engr Bn completed his tour and went home to his family after being separated at Treasure Island, Ca. Danny went to work, raised his kids and lives today still in Painsville, Ohio. He's also now planning to attend his first reunion and visit DC plus the Vietnam Wall for the very first time.
The Marines that served with the 11th Engineer Bn 3rd Marine Division from 1966 to 1969 [on pullout] can be proud of their hard work that was achieved under combat conditions and it times of uncertainty.
Approx 200 purple hearts were earned during those times to also include a few silver and bronze stars too.
Keeping the major roads open that included routes one and nine - helped keep the fire support bases up and resupplied as well when the choppers could get in or were on other major operations.
Welcome home Danny and to all who served in that area once called the "DMZ" .
Gene T. Spanos
Sgt. USMC 66-71
11th Engr Bn 2/68-2/69 [ Sqd Ldr Cpl ]
Vietnam - DMZ
Saved My Life
It was a Friday afternoon in November 2008 just after Thanksgiving. I stopped in the Worcester, (MA) Detachment Marine Corps League for a beer or two in the Leatherneck Lounge. The only one there was the bar manager Marine Joe Ricci. Within five minutes one of our few remaining WW II vets, Marine Carlo Mastrototaro came in and sat beside me at the bar. Within two minutes the door opens and the second WW II vet Marine Walter Maloney enters and sits next to me on the other side.
We immediately started talking about how Carlo and Walter Had met in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1941. The four of us (including Joe) had served at Guantanamo Bay at one time or another, so we called it a Gitmo Bay reunion. After a few minutes I realized that I was sitting between History. Both Carlo and Walter Joined the Marine Corps in 1939, both are 88 years old , soon to be 89 in 2009, both served at Gitmo in 1941 and 1942, both were from Worcester, MA, both served in the Pacific against the Japanese on three different islands each.
So I took the opportunity to ask the two of them about their exploits in the Pacific. At first they both didn't want to talk about it but after some prodding on my part and specific questions to Carlo ;"tell us how you earned the silver star?" and "tell us where you were and how you were wounded?". Carlo looked at me for a moment, then said "you really want to hear about it?" I said there are over 260 Marines in our Detachment and I'll bet not one of them know how you were awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart, we all want to hear about it, it's time Carlo. "I have never talked about this before" he said "so I may not get all the facts right".
He started by telling us about being stationed in Iceland, Cuba, then Camp Pendleton (stories for another day) and finally Saipan, Marianas Islands. "It was about mid June 1944" he said "I was the BAR man for my squad of "B" Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division. We were on the third wave on a Higgins Boat just about to hit the beach on Saipan when the landing craft next to us hit a mine and blew about twenty feet out of the water and split in half, Marine bodies were flying everywhere. The next thing I remember is being on the beach about forty or fifty yards from the water's edge, laying on the ground behind a small ridge with the rest of my outfit.
The next two weeks the fighting was fierce and heavy and we had many casualties but I made it without a scratch. It was a couple of days after my birthday July 3rd, I had the watch at night while most of the platoon slept in their fox holes. I heard a noise behind me and when I turned to look I saw a couple of shadows hit the deck. I challenged the shadows real loud to alert my platoon, and after the second challenge with no reply or pass word, I jumped out of my fox hole and moved toward them to get a better angle to fire from because they were still lying down. I emptied my BAR and got all of them, about 8 or 9 of the enemy without being hit by their fire. My Battalion Commander put me up for a silver star for saving my platoon from an enemy sneak attack from the rear."
"A few weeks later we landed on Tinian. The first night I gave my spot in a four man fox hole to a wounded Marine Ralph Hamit. A couple of hours later a mortar round hit next to the fox hole and all five of us were badly wounded. The next day we were evacuated to a hospital ship. After about 6 months in hospitals, I was given a medical discharge. A few weeks later the 4th Division made the landing at Iwo Jima and most of my outfit was wiped out on the island. That mortar round probably saved my life."
Carlo died October 5th 2009 at the age of 89 surrounded by his family.
Chris Manos 1845911 USMC 1958-1962
Sgt Grit Marketing Director Kristy Fomin meets General Conway at Birthday luncheon hosted by the US Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Oklahoma.
Tom Bogan said the 03 didn't have a clip, that's not correct it had a 5 round stripper clip that was inserted into the receiver and the rounds were pushed down into the magazine. When you closed the bolt the clip was flipped out. The Mauser rifle also used this clip.
Plt. 280, VMGR-352, Cpl '59-66
Hey Cheri Y,
I had the same dream only Chesty was smoking a pipe! I fear that if I don't come up with this black and silver "detailed EGA" license plate for Chesty's jeep that I may be on his $hit list. From one Marine to another - that is one LZ I do not want to tread. ?
Welcome home, Marines! You make us so very proud! We all know that "uncommon valor is a common virtue"; and that will never change.
Sgt USMC 1975-78
In 1957 we had the SIP (Special Instruction Platoon) where "misfits" and those, set back because of medical programs, delayed their training!
Platoon 317 in 1957
Ooohrah to all of you Marines. When I was retired in 1991 after 28 years in the Corps, I missed it. Although I am at the age "who gives a d*mn" I would gladly go back in as a mercenary or as a regular Marine. I guess I am one of those who just doesn't give z d*mn.
My longest year. June 1967-July 1968. 5th Marines, Sgt. Robert (Bob) Filice.
Isn't It Strange
The day I went into the Marine Corps my mother told me "do not get a tattoo. It is the sign of being a pervert and they will not let you into the Missouri Highway Patrol." Well I never got a tattoo not because of what she said but because I don't think I ever got inebriated enough. Besides I never wanted to be in the Highway Patrol anyway. But isn't it strange that in the old days only Sailors and Marines had tattoos and now everybody seems to have one. Yet the one place they really don't want you to get a tattoo is the Marines Corps?
Marine Corps Raiders
Dear Sgt Grit,
On October 8th 2009, my friend Ken O'Donnell passed away. Mr. O'Donnell was a Marine Corps Raider and was the president of the Marine Corps Raiders Association. Mr. O'Donnell was a wonderful man and it was my privilege to have known him.
I've enclosed a couple of links that tell Mr, O'Donnells story:
Marine Raiders: Kenneth M. O'Donnell
A Warrior and a Gentleman
At the bottom of the second website, there are links to two YouTube videos that go into detail about the Raiders and Mr. O'Donnells mission.
I am Now 50
I have been following the stories about Marine Reservists with interest. One of my goals in life was to be a Sgt. of Marines. My parents goal was for me to go to college. In 1978 a Marine recruiter showed me that I could do both and I signed on the bottom line. I spent a marvelous summer in San Diego an all expense paid learning experience at MCRD. I don't know about other Reserve programs, but I stood on the yellow footprints and earned the EGA. Oh, by the way I entered Boot Camp weighing 105 lbs, standing a tall 5 foot 2 inches. After Boot Camp I returned home and went to college and went to weekend Drills. The following summer I went to my MOS training. I was trained as a 4631. I served six years 1978-84 and received an Honorable Discharge.
Six months before my enlistment was up a drunk driver wrecked me on my motorcycle. I sustained very serious injuries and did not fully recover before my enlistment was up. I felt I could not reup because I could not keep up although the option was presented to me. It was at least two years before I "felt" 100% again.
Now, I am 50 years old, I have a Master of Divinity, pastor a church, have an outstanding family, and the one thing I am most proud of is the fact that I served in the United States Marine Corps. I never deny the fact that I served in the 4th LAAMBn 4th MAW, a reserve unit. I stood on the footprints, marched on the grinder, got gassed, spent time in the pit, qualified expert with the M16 A1, earned the EGA, in a 12 week Boot Camp, and was ready, willing, and able to go where ever, when ever, I was called.
A few months ago I was talking to a young man who noticed my Sgt. Grit t-shirt, he was servicing our copier at our church. He told me that he had a lot of respect for the Marines. He tried to become a Marine but washed out of Boot Camp. When he said that it hit me how significant it was for a 5 ft. 2 in. 105 lb. scrawny little runt to earn the EGA.
I am very proud to say that I am not only a part of the organization that God has trusted to guard the streets of Heaven, I am also a part of the organization that guides people to Heaven.
By the way, as a preacher I am not able to wear the "One weekend my A--" t-shirt. Got any others in the works?
Once a Marine always a Marine (ask my kids!)
Rev. M. Duke
Sgt. of Marines 1978-84
4th LAAMBn 4th MAW
S.0.S. Recipe - U.S.M.C. Style
What you've all been waiting for!
Everyone recalls the famous pre-invasion Marine Corps breakfast of steak and eggs. However, that was not the normal morning meal served aboard transports as they slowly plodded across seas to deliver Old Breed Marines to their next combat venture.
Once in a while a great document of historical importance concerning the Marine Corps comes to light. This is not one of them, but worth printing for those of you who miss the famous, everyday meal commonly called S.O.S. One note of interest, did you know Marines had their own 'special' recipe, which differs from any other branch of service?
S.0.S. Recipe - U.S.M.C. Style 1-1/2 pounds extra lean hamburger or ground chuck
2 table spoons Oleo or Butter
1 cup freshly cut chopped onion
2 table spoons flour
2 tea spoons granulated garlic
4 table spoons Soy Sauce
1 table spoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown meat, add oleo and stir. Add onions and cook until they are translucent. Add flour, stir and cook two to three minutes. Add garlic, soy sauce and Worcestershire. Mix thoroughly. Add milk and stir till it thickens. Serve on a shingle (toast}.
It's now time to rush to the grocery store to get any ingredients you don't already have. One must keep this in mind before leaving the house. You either: (1) miss the Corps terribly and should volunteer for fleet duty, (2) have a great desire to do bodily injury to yourself, (3) suffer from dain- bramage or, (4) have neighbors you can't stand and want to invite them to a special dinner. Before doing option #4, suggest you dig a slit trench in the back yard in case of emergency gastric distress imposed upon your guests.
Written (with tongue-in-cheek) by:
Some good eating.
CPL JIM HOPKINS
S.O.S. Recipes and other Humorous Tidbits
Elliott's Beach ??
I really enjoy the letters you get from Marines and their families.
I've got plenty of USMC hats and T-shirts from you. Anyway, in reference to SSGT Greg Rasmussen's story about The "Crucible", I'm not sure what they called it in 1978 but when
I went thru boot at PI October of 1965, it was called "ELLIOTT'S BEACH" Was it called that in 1978? I really appreciate all you do Sgt Grit. The letters bring back Some good memories of my time in the Corps.
SGT Robert S. Malloy USMC
1ST MAW MAG 36 VMO-6
1ST MAW MAG 26 VMO-1
Know How To Party
I read the story that Sgt Vincent Meyers wrote about being aboard the USS Princeton in 1954. I also was aboard the Princeton at the same time. As I recall, we boarded the ship in Japan, and I was in the helicopter squadron that he mentioned. The squadron was HMR 162, and the helicopters were HRS 16, manufactured by Sikorsky.
But the date was 1955, and the operation was called, "OPERATION FIRM LINK". I remember the Marine with the bag pipes. I was on the flight deck when that helicopter went into the drink, and yes the bagpipes went down with the helicopter.
We were alongside the taxi way with our shelter half's at Don Maung Airport. There were a lot of NATO Forces there with us. They had Missals and other Ordinance on display. We hung out with some of the Australian Marines. And let me tell you, they sure know how to party.
SSgt James Witter
Plt 458 July 1952 - 1963
Our Ministry with Motorcycles is called Peacemakers. Our title comes from Matthew 5:9 - Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God. Our church is New Wine Church in Fullerton.
Enclosed is a pic of our patch. When I saw the bumper sticker on your on line catalog, I had to have a few.
Also enclosed are a couple of cake pics one from the 233rd birthday and the 234th birthday. I have the honor and privilege of putting the display together, and ordering the cake. We have 4 Marines, a couple Sailors, one or two Soldiers, and one or two Wing Nuts at work among the 50 or so employees.
We are still waiting for them to step up to the plate for their respective birthdays. Many have never seen a place set for those that won't return because of their POW/MIA status. I was honored to do that for them, and to explain what that was all about.
Carson J. Gibson
Former Active Sgt
My brother who served with the 3rd Marines as a Corpsman during Vietnam fired off the attached letter in response to an article in the Navy Times. I think that it's an excellent article and should be shared, and would be especially appreciated by any Marine whose life ever depended on a Corpsman.
Commentary / Editorial
After reading the August 24th, 2009 Navy Times, the section called, For The Record, this section deals with, Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan. It lists the deaths in Afghanistan for the period of August, 7th - 13th, 2009, confirmed by the Defense Department. There were nine Marines killed, three Army personnel and one Navy Corpsman.
This letter is about Navy Corpsmen. There are so many people that I run into that have no idea of what a Navy Corpsman is or better yet, what the roll of the Corpsman is in the Navy.
In 1898 Congress officially designated the Hospital Corps as part of the Navy's Medical Department. A Corpsman is a cross between an R.N., LPN, Physician Assistant, and a Paramedic. He or she is a Navy enlisted sailor who after boot camp picks a profession that they would like to pursue in the Navy. After leaving boot camp, the sailor will head for an A School as the Navy calls it. An A School can be any number of different jobs in the Navy. If you decide to become a Corpsman, that "A" School will focus on your medical education. It will provide you with the skills needed to become a Navy Corpsman.
After the A school is complete, a Corpsman will be sent to any number of duty stations around the world. This duty station may be a hospital, a ship or even another school. There are many different assignments to be had as a Navy Corpsman. Many ships are classified as independent duty stations, this means, there is no Doctor on board and the responsibilities for the health of the crew is in the hands of the Corpsman on that ship. Some Corpsmen will be sent to, Field Medical Service School after they finish their "A" School. They will spend a number of weeks with the Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C. or Camp Pendleton in California. There the Corpsman is transformed into a Combat Medic with the Marines. As any Corpsman can tell you; you are now an HM -8404. This is the Enlisted Classification for a Navy Combat Medic. No matter how long you stay in the Navy or what training you may receive later on, a Corpsman will always be, first and foremost, an 8404.
Remember, the Marine Corps is a branch of the Navy and depends on Navy Corpsmen for their medical care in the field. The Navy provides all Medical and Dental care needed to keep our Marines healthy. In Field Medical Service School, the Corpsman will learn how to treat combat injuries and learn many skills needed to survive and treat the wounded on the battlefield.
When any young man or woman joins any branch of the service, they write a blank check and it is made payable to the United States of America. What this means, is that the individual is willing to give his or her life for this great country that we live in. A Corpsman also makes this commitment, but as a Combat Medic, the Corpsman writes a bigger check. This check not only covers the Corpsman's willingness to give his life for his country, it also covers his commitment to his Marines. When a Marine is wounded, the call for ( Corpsman Up or Get The Doc) goes out. At that time, the Corpsman will leave his place of safety and under fire, head for the wounded Marine. That means, caring for, treating and protecting that wounded Marine at all cost. Corpsmen will covered their wounded Marine with their own body to protect that wounded Marine from incoming fire. In the end, the Corpsman may pay the ultimate price.
This unselfish act has cost many Corpsman their lives. There have been over 36 deaths in the war on terror of Navy Corpsmen. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty in all of America's wars. Between WWI and Vietnam, there have been 18 Corpsmen who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I was a Navy Corpsman with the Marines during the Vietnam War. The title, " Doc", is what the Marines call their Corpsmen. As a Navy Corpsman, it is an honor to be called "Doc" and carry the title of, 8404. It is a title that I am very proud of. To this day, if I am out somewhere and I run into a Marine, there is an instant bond that only a Corpsman and a Marine can have. So now when you sit home at night and hear that there were Marines killed in Afghanistan along with a sailor, (that is usually how the news media reports it) you can figure that another Navy Corpsman has given his life for his country in an attempt to save the life of a follow Marine.
J. Andrews "Doc" Livingston
By Michael Tank
As a nineteen-year-old college dropout, forty years ago on this past August 18th, I was being pushed and shoved off a bus at MCRD, San Diego, California, as we 'boots' were trying desperately to move as fast as we could for what we were all sure was a bunch of rabid DI's. They were after all, foaming at the mouth. With my voluntary three year enlistment, when I placed my feet upon those famous yellow footprints I had willingly entered a world of controlled chaos for the next thirteen weeks. But it was thirteen weeks of an organized, skillfully planned, detailed and time tested mayhem that were necessary to prepare me for the thirteen months of the h&ll on earth called Vietnam.
In the days and weeks prior to my arrival at Marine Corps boot camp in that August of 1969, an American had walked on the moon for the first time, the Manson Family had committed their evil senseless murders and five hundred thousand drugged upped Americans had partied at Woodstock. In the fifteen years prior to my arrival almost fifty thousand Americans had died in Vietnam.
At nineteen, I was a bit older than most of my fellow recruits as I had stumbled through a year of indecision before I finally did what I knew I had always intended to do. Even as a young boy I had wanted to someday be a Marine. I fully understand that most people, even when they are young, do not actively place themselves in life threatening situations. Still, as foolish as this may seem to many of you, I vividly remember sitting in my high school library during my senior year looking at the graphic pictures in Time magazine of the embattled Marines of Hue and Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet offensive, and thinking that these were the men I wanted to join.
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