Post Memorial Day…

Received this from a good friend, another Nam vet…

I received this yesterday from my Bother-in-Law, who served in Viet Nam (66-69) as  an Army Corpsman- “earning” a Purple Heart.  

For years he could not/would not talk about his time in VN. Over the last 4-5 years he finally has become involved with the American Legion , the Legion Riders and the Department of Florida Military Order of the Purple Heart of the United States of America (MOPH USA).  

The last  line  of the Poem is the most telling and something I doubt any combat Corpsman can ever do.


Medic’s Poem

Teach me, Instructor,

I need to know more!

Is being a Doc different since I’m now in the Army?

Boot camp is over,

Next comes your class.

Vietnam will come quickly.

Please teach me fast!

Triage and cut-downs, chest wounds and such!

Teach me, Instructor; I must learn so much!

You say battle dressings will be my “best friend”.

Tourniquets, hemostats…and it all starts again.

Traches, amputations, and of course CPR,

White phosphorous, AK wounds…

I’m with you so far.

Give me your wisdom!

Help me prepare!

For when the wounded start falling

YOU won’t be there.

My tour is long over.

Do you mind if I share

Some thoughts, so the next Doc is better prepared?

Teach me the soldier bleeding as I fight for his life

Will whisper, “If I die, Doc, please write my wife.”

Teach me, Instructor, when the firefight is done,

To ignore that the Corporal had a daughter and son.

Or when the booby trap smoke clears

And the chopper’s called in,

That the soldier in the poncho

Is my very best friend!

You taught me to save lives,

But it’s not over yet…..

Teach me, Instructor……



Teach me how to forget…..

I think this also applies to those in the EMS field, maybe not to the extent of military combat, but there are cases one would rather not remember/have nightmares about…


Post Memorial Day… — 12 Comments

  1. Well said. Was getting ready to send this on to my grandson, the Navy corpsman with boots on the ground, but he already knows this, all too well.

  2. Tim- Yep

    Brighid- He already knows…

    Rev/WSF- Exactly

    RHT- That it does, not in so many words, but it’s about battle buddies too. You’re always closer to them than anyone else, including family…

  3. I got chills reading this. And I think it applies to almost any in the medical field…there are so many that I can’t forget some days.

  4. So true…..military EMS sees some horrific sights but anyone who has worked an ER in a big city has seen much of the same. Been in the field for
    35+ years a and I’d pay real money to forget some of the things that I have seen and dealt with.