A poem for Memorial Day-
I’m the one called “Doc”
I shall not walk in your footsteps,
but I will walk by your side.
I shall not walk in your image,
I’ve earned my own title of pride.
We’ve answered the call together,
on sea and foreign land.
When the cry for help was given,
I’ve been there right at hand.
Whether I am on the ocean
or in the jungle wearing greens,
Giving aid to my fellow man,
be it Sailors or Marines.
So the next time you see a corpsman
and you think of calling him “squid”,
think of the job he’s doing
as those before him did.
And if you ever have to go out there
and your life is on the block,
Look at the one right next to you…
I’m the one called “Doc”.
Harry D. Penny, Jr. HMC(AC)USN
Many brave Marines wouldn’t be alive today without the aid of the hospital corpsman who labored hard and often bravely to keep their fellow men alive. Did you know 22 of us have won the Medal of Honor? I used to be able to roll off the names by memory, but I’m getting old and my memory isn’t as good. Did a spot check this morning and remembered 17 of them. The US Marines doesn’t have its own medical personnel, so its up to specially trained HM aka battlefield corpsmen to go into harm’s way in order to treat and save men who fall in battle.
Why did I say us earlier? I was a Hospital Corpsman from 1980 to 1989. That was for the most part a peaceful time for US military, still one of those I went to Hospital Corps School with, died along with over 200 Marines in the infamous Beirut Barracks bombing of 1983. The worst thing I ever suffered as a HM was paper cuts, a stubbed toe or two, and off color jokes from Marines after I told them to ‘take a deep breath and hold it’. Whether corpsman serve at the front, ships at sea or at hospitals both abroad or back here in the states, they provide a vital function. Keeping our Marines and Sailors alive to live another day.
As you remember the men and women who gave their lives for this country, please remember those veterans still alive today and especially those still serving. God bless them all.