Navy Corpsman

From LtCol North (Ret)
GYRENE DOC

Let us not forget that there was in fact a Corpsman with the Marines as they raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Hospital Corpsman John Bradley was there and was one of the three survivors from the raising to leave Iwo Jima. John Bradley died January 11, 1994 at the age of 70.

I feel compelled to pay respect to those who serve with and treat those Marines in their time of suffering. For those of you that don't understand the love hate relationship with the Navy, I can only say that at no time and in no place will you need to worry about the medical care received by Marines. There are only three kinds of doctors -- corpsmen, Corpsman, and CORPSMAN.

One might ask for a definition of a Corpsman and while I was setting this page up I ran across a mighty fine site called what else "Navy Corpsmen", where I found what can only be described as the best definition of a Corpsman anywhere. It reads as follows:

CORPSMAN - Usually a young, long haired, bearded, Marine-hatin' Sailor with certain medical skills, who will go through the very gates of Hell to get to a wounded Marine.

It may surprise some but the Navy Corpsman has a long proud tradition of serving with the United States Marine Corps. They have fought with us, fought along side of us, and sadly have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Their Medal of Honor citations read like they were Marines... and by God I will honor them like the Marines they so proudly served!

Corpsman

In August of 1942, the first major USMC assault landings against the Japanese Empire occurred in the Solomon Islands, Pacific. The island chosen for the invasion was Guadalcanal.

As they moved inland, four Marines were walking point into the jungle. Advancing into an open area without cover, they came under heavy fire from the entrenched Japanese. All four Marines were wounded but managed to crawl into a shell crater, about fifty yards from where they had emerged from the jungle.

A Hospital Corpsman ran from cover into the crater with the wounded Marines, and ran back to cover, under fire. Having dressed the wounds of the Marine, he sprinted back for another, only this time he was hit. Not stopping to dress his own wounds, he carried the second Marine to cover receiving a second wound. After giving aid to the Marine, the Corpsman was hit for a third time going into the crater. Staggering toward the treeline with the third Marine, he was again struck by enemy fire.

When the third Marine's wounds were dressed, the Corpsman started after the last Marine in the crater. The Corpsman still had not stopped to care for his own wounds. In a final valiant effort, he stumbled toward the crater, where he was brought down by concentrated enemy machine gun fire. He lunged forward into the crater falling across the fourth Marine, finally giving up his life.

Reaching up to his own bleeding wounds, the Marine wrote on the back of the Corpsman's bullet riddled shirt,

"WHERE ANGELS AND MARINES FEAR TO TREAD, THERE YOU'LL FIND A CORPSMAN DEAD."


This was that dying Marine's final tribute to his shipmate's supreme sacrifice in fulfilling his oath, "TO AID THE WOUNDED, IN THEIR MOMENT OF NEED."

A Corpsman's Prayer

Grant me, oh Lord, for the coming events;
Enough knowledge to cope and some plain common sense.
Be at our side on those nightly patrols;
And be merciful judging our vulnerable souls.
Make my hands steady and as sure as a rock;
when the others go down with a wound or in shock.
Let me be close, when they bleed in the mud;
With a tourniquet handy to save precious blood.
Here in the jungle, the enemy near;
Even the corpsman can't offer much lightness and cheer.
Just help me, oh Lord, to save lives when I can;
Because even out there is merit in man.
If It's Your will, make casualties light;
And don't let any die in the murderous night.
These are my friends I'm trying to save;
They are frightened at times, but You know they are brave.
Let me not fail when they need so much;
But to help me serve with a compassionate touch.
Lord, I'm no hero -- my job is to heal;
And I want You to know Just how helpless I feel.
Bring us back safely to camp with dawn;
For too many of us are already gone.
Lord bless my friends If that's part of your plan;
And go with us tonight, when we go out again.

Author Unknown



The Corpsman's Oath

I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE MYSELF BEFORE GOD
AND THESE WITNESSES
TO PRACTICE FAITHFULLY
ALL OF MY DUTIES AS A MEMBER OF
THE HOSPITAL CORPS.
I HOLD THE CARE OF THE SICK AND INJURED TO BE A
SACRED TRUST
AND WILL ASSIST THE MEDICAL OFFICER
WITH LOYALTY AND HONESTY.
I WILL NOT KNOWINGLY PERMIT HARM TO COME TO
ANY PATIENT.
I WILL NOT PARTAKE OF NOR ADMINISTER
ANY UNAUTHORIZED MEDICATION.
I WILL HOLD
ALL PERSONAL MATTERS
PERTAINING TO THE PRIVATE LIVES OF
PATIENTS IN STRICT CONFIDENCE.
I DEDICATE MY
HEART, MIND, AND STRENGTH
TO THE WORK BEFORE ME.
I SHALL DO ALL WITHIN MY POWER
TO SHOW IN MYSELF AN
EXAMPLE OF ALL THAT IS
HONORABLE AND GOOD
THROUGHOUT
MY NAVAL CAREER.



The Real Heroes

The mortar shell lobs its way in;
It lands with its usual thud.
The crack of a sniperís rifle,
Makes you wish you were buried in mud.

The exploding shell does it damage;
The Marine in the sniperís sights lies shot.
Suddenly, frantically, the call goes out,
"Corpsman! Corpsman! DOC!"

He knows he must enter the target area,
Where his chances of survival are thin;
But he never hesitates to answer the call,
Knowing a Marineís life depends on him.

An FMF Corpsman is a Navy man,
Trained to help the wounded and sick;
He may be called to treat a private or colonel,
For am amputation or just a nick.

Many times he is completely unarmed,
With only medicine and bandages in his kit;
His "secret weapon" is his courage,
Which brings him to wherever a Marine is hit.

Fourteen corpsmen have received the Medal of Honor,
Seven of them, their lives they did give;
They lingered where no one else would go,
So that other Marines might live.

But for the capture of Iwo Jima,
Airman fatalities would have continued to mount;
Thus, the number of lives saved by corpsmenís dedication,
Perhaps, are too numerous to count.

I know a corpsman, who after the heat of the Pacific,
The bitter cold Chosin Reservoir became his "beat";
He continued to attend the wounded and suffering,
Until, he too, was hospitalized with frozen hands and feet.

Hollywood has portrayed as heroes,
Pilots, submariners and commanders of tanks;
But to combat Marines, the real heroes are the corpsmen,
And itís about time we all said thanks!

We thank you for patching us up;
Some of us might not be here today without you.
We thank you also for our buddies you tried to save;
We know, with each one who died, so did a part of you...

PFC John Murphy
3rd MarDiv, WWII


Marine Corps Green

From the halls of Montezuma Ė-
First words of a famous song.
When Marines go into battle,
A Navy corpsman goes along.

From its very beginning
The Corps has steadily grown,
And the attitude of Marines is,
"We take care of our own."

Marines may give up their water
Or even their last bean,
But never their Navy corpsman
Wearing Marine Corps green.

When Marines and their corpsman
Are standing side by side,
The first thing you notice
Is the sharing of their pride.

If you are looking for trouble
Of a kind youíve never seen,
Attack their Navy corpsman,
The one in Marine Corps green.

Why we are called to sand along-side "My Marines"



Standing full pack at the line with that brother dressed in diga-green. Providing care, treatment; and being that friend or brother they so direly need.

In times of disparity look left and look right, As they shout "Doc, can you fix me?" or "Doc, man down!" and with God as my witness I will always reply with quickest of my ability. I will fix, care and provide with the utmost extreme patient treatment.

For that Marine allows that no one cross enemy lines, US soil without a doubt, whimper or pout. They kill or be killed. As a USN corpsman it is expected to save a life but in turn regardless of walk of life; be it 8404, quad-0, or IDC you as a doc may have to take a life.

Cravates, o2 therapy, and tape are priority but the life of my Marines comes first. He ensures that when he shoots, he shoots to kill. My Marines reassure my children, and my loved ones can lay their head on a pillow at night.

Fight and fight to WIN, bring them home one family, one love, OEF, OIF, and all our current ops. should one day finally come to an end....

HM3 (FMF) R.R. Porro USN (8-28-06)

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