A letter from an Air Force doctor to his father. Passed along by my friend JayPMarine
If I ever hear airmen griping and complaining, I jump into them pretty quickly now. Most people over here have nothing to gripe about compared to Marines. Marines are different. They have a different outlook on life.
One Marine Private was here for several days because he was a lower priority evacuation patient. He insisted on coming to attention and displaying proper military courtesy every morning when I came through on rounds. He was in a great deal of pain, and it was a stressful to watch him work his way off the bed and onto his crutches. I told him he was excused and did not have to come to attention while he was a patient. But, he informed me that he was a good Marine and would address “Air Force Colonels standing on my feet, Sir.” I had to turn away so he would not see the tear in my eye. He did not have “feet” because we amputated his right leg below the knee on the first night he came in.
I asked a Marine Lance Corporal if there was anything I could get him as I was making rounds one morning. He was an above the knee amputation after an IED blast, and he surprised me when he asked for a trigonometry book.
“You enjoy math do you?” I responded.
“Not particularly, Sir. I was never good at it, but I need to get good at it, now.”
“Are you planning on going back to school?”
“No sir, I am planning on shooting artillery. I will slow an infantry platoon down with just one good leg, but I am going to get good at math and learn how to shoot artillery”. I hope he does.
I had the sad duty of standing over a young Marine Sgt. when he recovered from anesthesia - despite our best efforts there was just no way to save his left arm, and it had to come off just below the elbow.
“Can I have my arm back, sir?” he asked.
“No, we had to cut it off, we cannot re-attach it.” I told him.
“But can I have my arm?” he asked again.
“You see, we had to cut it off… and…”
He interrupted, “I know you had to cut it off, but I want it back. It must be in a bag or something, Sir.”
“Why do you want it?”
“I am going to have it stuffed and use it as a club when I get back to my unit.”
I must have looked shocked because he tried to comfort me with, “Don’t you worry now, Colonel. You did a fine job, and I hardly hurt at all; besides I scratch and shoot with my other hand anyway.”
God Bless the Marines!