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"I'm the one called "Doc"

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.


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Comments (6)

Thanks, Bill.I ser... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Bill.

I served during the same period as you...1980 - 1990, and am proud member of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Weapons Co., 81mm Mortar Platoon.

Semper Fi, 'Doc'

Nice job Doc. I served as ... (Below threshold)

Nice job Doc. I served as a Corpsman myself and thankfully avoided working the STD clinic on the Marine base I was assigned. Pecker Checker was a title that I avoided. And not a lot of Marines called you a squid when you were treating their baby daughter with antibiotics because the doctor on duty at night was too busy and said he would sign the chart in the morning.

My only regret--only a Marine gets to wear their dress blues, no matter how honorably we serve by their side. Most beautiful uniform in the history of mankind. Crackerjacks are nice and all and Alphas and Charlies look good with navy insignia, but I envied my Marines whenever we wore our dress uniforms.

Each service has its own tr... (Below threshold)

Each service has its own training and designations, (even SOF still battling to try to unify training) for all those brave men and women who earn the title Doc and respect of their comrades in arms on the job, not from USHUS or some other MD or DO institution. I'm pleased to have served with and learned from USCG HSC's, USN HC's, USA, USAF medics and independent techs, PJ's and SOF operators of all sorts on 4 continents. I'd offer a salute to you all, but you'd probably all remind me you work for a living. So here's a toast to you all.

I remember.

Hi Bill,I have the u... (Below threshold)

Hi Bill,
I have the utmost respect for Combat Docs. The three on my ship (USS Virginia, CGN-38) did hit the beach in Beirut and for several hours were the only medical support until the gator freighters and the Ike got close enough for medevacs. On the other hand, there were several who never served with the Fleet Marines that I ran across on shore duty that I wouldn't give a bucket of warm spit for. A combat doc will charge hell for you; the others, not so much.

Amen, and a big Semper Fi f... (Below threshold)

Amen, and a big Semper Fi from a former marine grunt and force recon. You have our undying love and respect.

Bill Jempty... I have a son... (Below threshold)
Billie S. Jempty:

Bill Jempty... I have a son and a husband both with the given name of William Jempty... it would seem you may be my father-in-laws oldest brother Bill's son. Could it be? BillieJ






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