Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Air Force Colonel's View of Marines

Some things are just too good to keep to yourself....this is one of them.

The email below is from USAF Colonel Brett Wyrick who is the commander of the 154th Medical Group, Hawaii Air National Guard, and is serving as a surgeon in Balad with the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group. Col. Wyrick had been sending his father, a Vietnam-era fighter pilot, emails about his experiences in Iraq:

Dear Dad, 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,and 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?" 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 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 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 scratch and shoot with my other hand anyway." God Bless the Marines!
Col. Brett Wyrick


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12 comments:

Lady Hawk said...

Yes indeed, God continue to bless and to protect Marines and all our people in uniform! Our military continues to inspire us and to give us hope in the higher nature humanity is capable of.

Samantha West said...

Mike,
Thanks for sharing that with us. I have linked back to it because it is so important.

Sam
.
.

Rob W said...

Wow. Incredible stories. That kind of bravery is what still makes us great.

Janet said...

On this July 4th long week-end I am more aware than ever of how much we owe our brave marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors for their service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation. I never forget the words, "Land of the Free" and make the correct attribution for the fact, "Home of the Brave". Thank-you for the letter - special people!

Beth* A. said...

There is a Marine Sgt. training in a similar MOS to what I currently do now and the other day I got to show this letter to him on your site. He completely epitomizes what you have been talking about all along Mike, about what inspiring young men(and by young, I mean still in the Service, btw ;-) ) we have, putting aside their lives for all of us here at home.

I wish I'd had a tape recorder; some people never would believe their fellow man thinks this way! Anyway, to my best recollection, he said: 'my reason for being is my wife and baby girl (7 mos). I don't 'want' to go back to Iraq, it's not a place most people want to be at, but I will if that's where the Corps needs me. I'm a Marine. And what makes MY life worth more than another person's, either here or in Iraq?'

..... I'd say that last sentence alone should give him elevated status as a stellar human being.

Beth* A. said...

Footnote: btw, he deploys back to Iraq in the fall, once his wife returns from her current deployment.

John Paul Howe said...

Some other things I read taht makes me wished I joined the military when i was younger...

http://teamtruth.com/testimony/test_inmemoryof.htm
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,199005,00.html

THough I'm now over twice some of these guy's age

Speedmaster said...

God bless the US Marines! We're very lucky to have them!

Chris
http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Yeah...I kinda regret joining the Army and not the Marines after High School...perhaps I'd have stayed in if it had been that type of family.

Cro said...

Wasn't it Reagan that said that Marines stand Guard on the streets in Heaven.... they don't have to wonder if they are going there...

Anonymous said...

Marines are not like regular people. They are something more akin to Spartan hoplites.

Bill R said...

Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.
President Ronald Reagan 1985