Visiting the Wall
Sorry I missed ya’ll in the D of C. I had intended to make the soiree on Fri PM 8NOV but I didn’t finally get to town until about 0100hrs 9NOV. Ah well, what da hell – there’s always next year or many after that, for that matter, as Our Marine Corps will go on forever.
When I got back home, the latest issue of your newsletter was in the emailbox and had several letters alluding to some previous hogwash concerning yet another bloviatin’ outburst from some Marine ’bout how Corpsmen might not deserve the high level of Honor and Brotherhood accorded them by the vast majority of Marines.
This year, I run the Colors by motorcycle from Maine to Key West and back to DC for the Birthday along with a tribute to our Corpsmen that was placed at the Iwo on Sat and at the Wall on Sunday. The stuff in the most recent newsletter only made the trip and placement of the Corpsmen tribute timely and relevant. The included recap of my trip and the attached pics will give all a clear view of this activity.
I just got back from DC, it was an interesting trip. The deal was, I ran the Colors – National, USMC and POW/MIA from Maine to Key West and back up the coast for the USMC Birthday/Vet’s Day observance at the Iwo Jima and The Wall. I brung 677 Dogtags with the Names of the Corpsmen Brothers who gave it up in VN (number based on the CACC database-accuracy not guaranteed) and made one of my wreath deals to place at those locations. I set it out at the Iwo Jima on Saturday AM, right after the official Ceremonies. I hung around for couple-3 hours to answer any questions and whatnot. I met some folks from Texas doing a documentary and told ’em about Corpsmen and the Marine Corps, maybe that’ll pop up someday. I met quite a few Corpsmen who were amazed – some to the point of gettin dust in the eyes – that someone would go to that effort to recognize Corpsmen on the USMC B-day. I can never figure that. What’s amazing is how Corpsmen, and they Army Medic Bro’s can overcome every instinct for survival and self-preservation and do what they do in combat. I got to talk to some fine men, even a former Corpsman who became an AF Medical Officer! After that, I broke the Memorial down and took at back to the hotel. I stayed at the Key Bridge Best Western which is right across the street from the Iwo. Next AM (Sunday) I packed the bike up with my usual 1/2 ton of trash and then rigged up the Memorial on top of it – 3 foot tall 3×3 wooden post with base, steel pot , combat boots, wreath and 677 dogtags, together with the 3 flags flying off the back. I wish you were there, you would have laughed your ass off! A Marine in black leathers covered with the usual Vet/Biker gewgaws ridin a Honda Shadow with all that stuff piled a foot higher than the rider through the streets of DC. Come to think of it, only a Jarhead would attempt something like that,eh? Or come to think of it, a papasan. I must of looked like one a Uncle Ho’s troopers transporting shit down the trail.
Anyway, I got to the Wall, parked on that open space in front of the Federal Reserve Building that they have graciously provided for Vet Bikers over the last several years
( I b’leeve the civilians call it a sidewalk) and unloaded and humped the stuff over to The Wall. I set it up right by the V and my mission was done. Again, at the Wall, I was touched and kinda embarassed about the reaction of the Corpsmen who saw the Memorial. I’m just grateful I have the opportunity to do something in however a small way to say thanks to all those Docs, alive or gone, for all they did and tried to do. Semper Fi, Docs.
One final thing, kinda nails the Corpsman/Marine brotherhood deal real well. On the way home Sunday, I was makin good time when the electrics on the Shadow went south. I figgered I could still make it home, gettin a jump start from service plaza to service plaza up the interstate to Massachusetts but the sombitch died for good at the Secaucus, New Jersey toll booth. My cell phone battery was almost dead, so I called home and told my ol’ lady to try and contact the New Jersey Turnpike Road Service and/or the NJ Smokies to see if I could get some help. She got nowhere’s with that, but she also called Doc Blue ’cause I figured maybe he could have better luck finding someone to come out and give me a boost. Well, what Doc did was run out to his pick-up, took the cap off and headed south at midnite to come and get me. Ol’ Doc drove 5 hours down and 5 hours back and no questions asked, ’cause he’s my Bro and he’s a Corpsman.
I set out 2 ditched pilot strobes, pulled a poncho over me and slept on top of the Honda till Doc got there. Now I don’t know what, if anything, it says about civilian pukes in general. That toll plaza is at the end of the Jersey turnpike heading into NY. I estimate conservatively there musta been 7,000 vehicles that passed by my bike (which still had the US,USMC and POW/MIA Colors flying) while I slept there on Veterans Day on that bike and not one asswipe even slowed down. Not even 8 or 9 tow trucks coming back from the drag races in New Jersey covered from top to bottom with all kindsa flags and patriotic graphics. Good thing us Bros know how to stick together, ’cause sure ain’t no one else out there to trust, I tell you what. Well, anyway here’s the pics. If you can’t make out what’s what, I’ll describe it.
The helmet says “DOC” on the front over a black metal caduceus device. The wreath has the Corpsman VSR with the EGA. The top 1/2 of the wreath is Purple Heart colors and the bottom 1/2 has the CAR colors. I got to explain this to quite a few folks, especially kids, at the Iwo vis-a-vis why the FMF Corpsman is authorized these awards. On the bottom of the post, it says “677 Corpsmen Brothers Semper Fidelis”. One pic is at the Iwo on the USMC Birthday, the other is at The Wall on Veterans Day Sunday. Permission willingly granted for any and all non-commercial use. Spread ’em around. I brought it to the Wall the day after the Iwo ceremony, because many folks told me that they save all the stuff and some of it is put on display. I gave a 3X5 card to one of the Park Personnel to increase chances of that happening. Maybe we can get some folks to write a few letters or something to see if we can get them to do that. It would be good for Corpsmen and Grunts to be able to go see something like that when we go to Rolling Thunder. And for readers of Sgt Grit’s newsletter, I will send ’em a replica of the Corpsman Dogtag that was part of the tribute. They are in the following format: Name of Corpsman KIA
Hometown and State
Location on the Wall.
No offense to anyone, but I ain’t got the time to be sendin’ ’em to souvenir hunters. On the honor system, if you are a Marine or Corpsmen that served with one of these Vietnam Corpsmen KIA’s or an immediate family member, feel free to request one – you pay the postage, just e-mail me with the name. I’ll do this until I run outta blanks. Be patient, I make ’em one at a time on a 30 year old addressograph.