From The New England Journal of Medicine
By Pamela Grimm, M.D.
Naval Hospital, Beaufort, Parris Island, South Carolina.

A while ago, before more recent geopolitical disasters, I saw on the news that a “rapid response team” of Marines had landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and I wondered whether any of “mine” were there — the recruits I see at the Parris Island Marine training facility in South Carolina.

I realized my first morning here that the culture of the “Island” and the “grunts” is worlds away from my own. My first recruit-patient — an 18-year-old with pilonoidal abscess — shouted “Yes, Ma'am!” or “No, Ma'am!” whenever I asked him a question. When I was his age, I was out in the streets protesting against a war. Somehow, almost unnoticed, that war has become a long time ago. What did I know about war? About as much as these kids do, I guess.

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