I was very proud when they issued me a Marine Corps uniform and sea bag. While trying on the “covers” (hats) I thought mine was a little small. The Sergeant looked at me and said, “That fits, Doc. You’re going to get a haircut anyway.” I’ve heard it said that once you wear the green you can’t go back. That’s how most of us felt and I still do. The Marines are a proud brotherhood. “Once a Marine, always a Marine”. It has been over 50 years and when I go to the 1st Marine Division Reunions my brothers still call me “Doc”. Thank you, brothers.
It seemed like Field Medical Service School was over pretty quickly. I had gotten through some pretty challenging training. I thought I was a pretty efficient corpsman when I entered the School but now I felt more confident. It must have been the Eagle, Globe and Anchor I was now wearing on the collar of my Marine Corps Greens with my Navy rank on my sleeve!
I didn’t get any leave after graduating. I had 20 days after my year in the Philippines and now I was headed for another year of duty before I’d be able to take any more providing I survived! I tried to maintain a positive attitude and I relied on my faith in a personal God who was bigger than me. Some of our medical training was that we learned how to control our emotions when treating an injured person. Now I had to psych myself out and keep placing one foot in front of the other and continue down the path life had laid out in front of me. I had to place my trust in God.
Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (KJV)
As I recall my group flew out of Travis Air Force Base to Okinawa. This was a stopover for all Fleet Marine Force personnel before going on to Vietnam. We had our sea bags checked and they made sure our shots were up to date and our records were all in order. We were told we would be getting bush uniforms when we got to ‘Nam. I had one pair of starched utilities in my sea bag. I was intent on saving them for the day my tour of duty was over and I would wear them on my departure flight home from Vietnam.