Every combat Marine has heard the cry, “Corpsman Up !!!!” The phrase, “Corpsman Up!” speaks volumes. The name “Corpsman” separates our combat corpsmen from the rest of the Navy; especially if you were an 8404 Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Corpsman. The circumstances varied widely, but the result was a constant. A U.S. Navy Corpsman, wearing the same dirty, torn, and smelly green utilities worn by his Marine brothers and “armed” with his B-1 medical kit, went to the aid of wounded Marines. Usually under enemy fire, these “angels in green” performed lifesaving miracles with complete disregard for their own safety.
These FMF (Fleet Marine Force) Corpsmen were something special to us Marines. Although they took their fair share of kidding and good-natured harassment, they were in every sense of the word a fellow combat Marine. They took the same chances, lived in the same mud-filled hole, and ate the same cold C-rations as us Marine grunts.
The Marine Corps, the amphibious arm of the U.S. Navy, relies on U.S. Navy corpsmen, nurses, and doctors for medical services. Corpsmen assigned to the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) attend Field Medical Service School before joining combat units. Their training includes familiarization with small arms, basic combat skills, and treatment of combat wounds. When not engaging in a firefight, patching us up or getting blasted with incoming mortars, our corpsmen also provided basic necessities and medical care to civilians around us.
Like us combat Marines, our corpsmen also fought heatstroke, malaria, fatigue, rain, leeches, insects, rust, and fungus. They too lived in the dirt, slept in holes they too had to dig that provided some protection from enemy mortars, or slept on the ground, fearfully.
They too marched without apparent purpose in chilling northeast monsoon rains, suffered heatstroke with the arrival of the southwest monsoon, pulled leeches from their legs, ate little but field rations, slept little, fungus on their bodies, and fought rust on their weapons. Corpsmen ran more than any other human in the Vietnam War, to get to us when we were hit.
A special thank you to all of our corpsmen! You treated most of us and medivaced more of us than you could count. You challenged us to take our salt and malaria pills and constantly nagged us to get our feet and socks dried out. At a young age, you’ve had to witness and experience horrific atrocities that no one should ever have to witness at any age. Without your sacrifice, we may never have returned home but bled-out there in the jungles and rice patties of Vietnam. Thank you for always running to patch us up, giving us a cigarette and a word of encouragement. To all combat corpsmen, “Semper Fi” (Always Faithful) and “Semper Frater” (Always Brothers), we love you!
OUR HOTEL 2/5 DOCS
|William Mc Nulty||1970||Doc|
|Rudy Wirgau||1969||Doc Rudy|
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