He Was an Old Salt

Since the Corpsmen used to give us short arm inspections, we use to call them pecker checkers. Of course if you needed one he was Sir. I smashed my right index finger under a 20 MM box of ammo and it was swelled up and black and blue and killing me.  I went to see the Corpsman as I needed some relief. He had a big paper clip which he unwound so as to have a single round piece sticking out. He held it over a Zippo until it was red hot and put it to my finger nail. When it burnt it’s way through it went straight to the bone and the blood flew all over and I let out a yell that could be heard all the way to Po Hang Dong, down by the sea. After the blood let up the pressure was off and so was the pain. I had to hold it above my heart for a few days as every time my heart beat it would throb. I also had a few stitches put in by the same Doc and he should have been a surgeon. He was an old salt with tattoos from one end to the other but he knew his business. I was told he was a hold over from the Island campaigns.

Sgt. Dan Powell 52-55

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Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

11 comments


  • Ed Noll

    I have met a few of the Doc’s while wearing my Marine cover, some of which were Korean vets that served several years with the Marines and wore Marine covers themselves and while in the presents of their wives and sometimes family, told me they loved being with the Marines so much they felt they were part of the Corps, now how can you find fault with that. Semper-Fi


  • James Mitchell {HM2}

    I was a volunteer FMF corpsman with 3/1/1 and I enjoyed “most” of my time with the “Jarheads” and wouldn”t trade that time for anything.They were a great group of guys and I would go through hell and back for a wounded Marine.


  • Richard Jenkins

    I remember back in 1961 we where aboard ship headed toward California from K Bay Hawaii to play War Games. Well that evening I was down in the mess area playing cards with a bunch of friends and there was an empty can of salted nuts on the table and we needed an ashtray, so I started to bend the edge over to make a lip and the edge moved cutting my thumb pretty deep also getting salt in the wound which hurt like Hell. I left looking for the Corpsman , when I got there he cleaned the wound and started to sew it up when I asked if he was going to give me a shot he said you are a big old tough Marine you don’t need it and commenced to finish his sewing. I still can see the scar to this day. You have got to love the Doc’s


  • Herbert L Shaw, MSgt. Ret.

    Those “Salty Docs” are the greatest guys around. They keep us patched up as good as any Md. could. In my opinion they are Marines with medical training.


  • Ron Gross

    Mr. Whimp sounds very familiar. Although I had been in a “few” fights during school, I always looked the worse for wear. A trip to SAN Diego and Vietnam, “69” taught me a lot. Now, with almost 50 years of dealing with PTSD, which I control now. I still don’t care for someone “getting into my face”. Semper Fi, my brothers. Happy Holidays. Sgt Ron Gross


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