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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  • David E. Tyre

    Parris Island, S.C……….1954. We marched from main side to Elliot’s Beach one cold November day, got our shelter halves set up and started training. During the march, I developed a large blister on my left heel. D.I. Conklin told me to go to the Corpsman and get it fixed. Corpsman told me to get up on the table. He took a scapel and lanced the blister, then got a small swab and soaked it in Methiolate and proceeded to clean the wound up! I hollered like a stuck pig. He said “I thought you Marines were tough!” He put a band aid on it and said come back later and I’ll redress it if it gives you any trouble. I never had any problems after that. The blister healed perfectly. Same thing when I was at Camp Lejeune; I was in an 81 mm mortar platoon, 2nd. Bn., 2nd. Marines, “The War Lords.” Got my left ear infected, I guess from concussions and crawling around in the mud. Our Corpsman took a look and said “you have enough crud in there to grow potatoes!” Took a syringe, filled it with peroxide and alcohol and filled me full of the solution. Then, he suctioned it out. Pulled a plug of crud out of my ear and it felt like my brains were coming out! But, I could hear again and never had any problems with the ear. Our Corpsmen know their stuff! That’s why we hold them in such high esteem. I had an “M-1 thumb” at Parris Island, when we qualified, but just lived with it, but it did pose a problem when we had to shoot rapid fire at 300 yards. I qualified! Speaking of “pecker checkers”. Remember the short arms inspections at Camp Geiger while at ITR there.


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