Forwarded by: the marine that sent this (Vietnam Veteran) to me:

Thirty-nine years ago I was shot in an ambush while a Marine on a night patrol
in Vietnam. I had potentially fatal wounds to my chest and a serious wound to my
right leg. To put matters bluntly, I had never been more terrified in my life.
Would I die? And if I died, would I go to heaven? I also thought about the
buddies I was leaving behind. Somehow,I wanted to believe that they would be
better off without me to slow them down.

The next morning I woke up at a hospital in Da Nang . The doctors told me that
my days as a fighting Marine were over. Somehow, I felt that I had more to give
but wouldn't get the chance.

My history is relevant only because there are huge differences between then and
now when it comes to our Wounded Warriors. For the past couple of years I have
had the privilege of knowing Col. Jack Cox (USA , ret.) who is a stalwart in the
Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Bragg. He has been a great friend and mentor,
and has taken the time to introduce me to some of this generation's wounded.

There are at least two important differences between my generation and the
young men I have seen at Fort Bragg's Womack Hospital which is near where I
live.
For openers, the Army acts as if the wounded person is going to remain forever
a soldier. That is their basic operating assumption moving forward. Second, the
attitude of these kids is amazing. These brave warriors, no matter how badly
wounded they are, believe that they will soon be back with their units fighting
in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Today, there are 17 Marines who are amputees fighting in Iraq. I am certain
that there are as many soldiers doing the same for the Army. Recently, I
received a widely distributed email from Col (Dr.) Brett Wyrick. He was a trauma
surgeon at Balad Air Base in Iraq. He wrote:
 "If I ever hear (anyone)
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, and he informed me 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?' He replied, '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?' I asked. '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 sergeant 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 said. 'But can I have
 my arm?' he asked again.
'You see, we had to cut it off.' 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 asked. '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, 'Don't you worry now, colonel. You did
a fine job, and I hardly hurt at all; besides I write with my other hand
anyway.'

Now, please tell me that these young guys aren't the Greatest Generation
that has ever lived.

Comments

  1. Fabulous post. You know, every talk I attend at the Museum with World War 2, Korean and Vietnam era Marines, they all look at the current active duty Marines and say “You guys are so much better than we were.”
    Its amazing.
    But you know, in my humble opinion, the attitude the current Marines have – – even society has toward wounded, amputees has a lot to do with many returning veterans from Vietnam. They had a lot more to give and they had to fight to prove it. Of course its still difficult, even with technological advances, but the young Marines and soldiers know they can because they have seen others survive and thrive.

  2. Hey Maj! been awhile since I’ve visited the blogosphere. Nothing changed here! just the same inspiring, jaw-clenching, fist-pounding, heart-wrenching writing as always! Thanks! keep it up!
    Semper Fi and God bless!

  3. From an old Air Force vet, Well done marines!!! We need these men and women in the white house and congress. Send the politicians to Iraq and Afganistan so they can see what real life is like.

  4. yeah, they have the courage, but still they are kids and idiots dragged into a unnecessary wars by old, greedy politicians who need this kind of idiots who would be proud to serve, even as a cripple, and you honor this stupidity, because they’re so brave and so on
    it’s just sick, I feel sorry for them.

  5. Old Shakey you call them idiots. without these “idiots” you wouldn’t have the freedoms and liberties that you have today. It’s because of these types of “idiots” that this country was started in the first place. You call them Idiots, I call them heroes. Our politicians are the problem not the men and women that are Always “Faithful”. I shall never understand how someone can criticize the people who put their lives on the line to defend your right to be able to say such things. You should be ashamed of yourself. Semper Fi marines, I am honored to live in this country that you fight so diligently to protect. I appreciate your sacrifice every day.

  6. if anyone ever says that this generation of kids aren’t something to be proud of ?Then these young menare proof to the world that they are some of the bravest and finest marines ever.

  7. I have no adequate words.
    I only pray this does not haunt me.
    And that God will be merciful to me on that great day.
    Thanks for the writing, and
    with your permission, I am going to put a link to this Blog Post on my own Blog.
    Just let me know – and will
    explain further if I hear from you.
    thanks.
    fgbowen

  8. You know what, I agree that these guys are to be respected. They’ve sacrificed everything to guarantee the safety of each and every American. BUT they’re not gods among men nor are they any better or any tougher than any other American doing and excelling at his job. I think military guys and probably worst of all marines receive a little too much soldier worship. And once they come back here, it’s gone to their head and I have to kick one’s ass for mouthing off.
    I think the marines ought to add some focus on instilling a sense of humility and calm. I’ve witnessed a lot of marines’ walking around like swinging dicks and being straight-up punks. Maybe they’re the minority, probably are. But to the bad batch of marines who think a little too highly of themselves, you’re no better than anybody else just because you hiked up and down the desert with a gun in your hand for a few months. I respect you for putting your life on the line but don’t push my respect.

  9. One thought I’d also like to add. The successful completion of marine corps training and becoming a marine is not the hardest thing to do on earth. Let’s all just be honest. Most of these kids couldn’t get into college or weren’t “cut-out for it.” They’re not the brightest bunch. However calling them idiots like one of the others posters did is a little overkill.
    I think what really makes me respect the people serving in the armed forces is that they willingly put their lives in danger for me (as an American). That’s why I would always want to support them, because they support us.

  10. Reed-75% of My Marines have their College degree….I would say they are cut out for whatever they want. Until you walk in their shoes, careful what you think they should or shouldn’t do. If you think boot camp is so easy pls feel free to join us.

  11. I wonder if innocent civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan who lost limbs due to American drone strikes get the same kind of medical care… somehow I doubt it.

  12. De style classique et sobre qui s’appuient sur des couleurs neutres et des dessins aux styles yeux popping vraiment innovant et qui présentent les dernières tendances pour l’horlogerie, vous êtes sûr de trouver ce qu’il vous faut pour tous vos événements importants.

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