Corpsmen Never Forget

Every time I hear news on the television that one of our servicemen was killed overseas it brings to mind my time when I served as a corpsman with 2nd Bn 5th Marines in 66 and 67 in Vietnam. Our Battalion had lots of Marines killed and wounded and I personally was involved with providing medical care to many of them either in Hotel Company or while at the Bn Aid Station. The Marines depended on their corpsmen to perform their duty when the time came. Far too often, many of the wounded had horrific wounds from mines or other high intensity explosions and our best was not good enough to save their lives.

Heroic acts during these times left the corpsman to ponder their own mortality when nothing worked. We all knew things would happen that we could not control and all we tried to do was save a good buddy’s life. We knew most of the Marines we took care of as we lived among them for months and considered them our brothers and at times cared more for them than our own family members. Combat does that to people.

Most of the corpsmen serving with grunt units were young, usually 19-22 years of age and some older. Our medical training was adequate at the time but not enough when things got really sour. We were expected to provide emergency medical care that a trauma trained surgeon would be hard pressed to perform under the circumstances. When our best failed and we lost a Marine, we were the first to know it, many hours before their family would receive word. I remember thinking I let my Marines down when I was unable to save a friend. It haunted me then, it haunts me now and even more on the day when they died. It never fades for memories last forever and I remember every wounded and dead Marine I took care of. I am sure many others out there feel the same way. Marine corpsmen never forget and I just wanted to express my thoughts because Memorial Day is almost here.

Roger Ware
2/5, 66-67, Vietnam

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41 comments


  • Johnny English

    I sit and read these comments after reading yours,Doc, SIR, with a tear in my eye. I was raised by a Marine…. Thanks God !…..But was too stupid to join…..My head wasn’t screwed on right….Got an 83 on the ASVAB then ran off with the hell’s angels instead…..Told ya I was stupid, right !? I called up a Marine recruiter right after Sept. 11th and told him I was a commercially rated helicopter pilot…… Thanks to Vietnam vets that influenced me….. Think.. Chicken hawk…Robert Mason and would go anywhere and would go immediately, but was 48 by then and too old…57 now. I did eventually go to Vietnam in a civilian capacity after the war, but having suffered multiple trauma myself more than once…..And I DO mean TRAUMA…..And having lain in the road with two broken legs at the same time….On TWO separate occasions… Thinking..At least I’m not bleeding in a rice paddy and no one’s to kill me.. I’m minutes away from clean hospital bed sheets… I can say with absolute surety that you and your service to others are appreciated by more people than you might think. God bless you and yours , SIR !


  • Jim Kanavy, Cpl, 0311

    thanks, i participated in operation union 1 and 2 with the 5th marines in 1967. lost a few friends and i hope you tried to help them.Jim, USMC, 0311/0231, 1st marines


  • Tony Woconish

    Roger, know this …”The LORD restores the soul.” Psl 23:3 Thank you for your service. God Bless you and ALL our Corpsman. Chaplain Tony, USMC, MCL


  • Tony Woconish

    Roger, know this …”The LORD restores the soul.” Psl 23:3 Thank you for your service. God Bless you and ALL our Corpsman. Chaplain Tony, USMC, MCL


  • Richard E Jenkins

    Semper Fi Doc Welcome Home Brother


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