Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What Is A Hospital Corpsman?*

(Author's Note: Today marks the 116th anniversary of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps. It was established on June 17, 1898 to provide health and medical care to all U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel everywhere---in the battlefield, in naval ships, hospitals and clinics and other military installations--- and to those eligible military healthcare beneficiaries. Below is my poem which I humbly dedicate to all of us, Hospital Corpsman, active, retired and/or deceased. Thank you for your service.)

What is a Hospital Corpsman?

He's more than a doctor's helper
Or a nurse's aide...
He does quality patient care
With utmost service
That's rare---
Only in the military
He's full of responsibilities,
A call to duty...
And other collateral duties.

On the frontline, he is there
On the battlefield, he is there
Everywhere with his comrades
The Marines and the armies...
Rendering emergency medical services
And caring for them when they're sick,
Giving all the support they need:
Moral, emotional, and physical,
Mental, social, and spiritual as well.

Of his nursing-medical experiences
In the field or battlefield,
He's called "Doc" by the Marines
Because he cares for them
Until the end...

In a ship or in a hospital 
He's everywhere, here and there
In the wards or in the Lab,
In the Pharmacy or Radiology,
In the Emergency or in the Galley,
Sometimes, in the Quarterdeck or in PSD;
He's in Sick Call or in Supply,
But, despite his job, he can still smile,
Can all have fun, even for a while.

He's a healthcare provider,
Also a health record keeper;
He is a giver and a listener,
A fighter and a peacekeeper;
He's a writer and a lecturer,
So talented, can you not tell?

Well, he's a Hospital Corpsman
Proud to serve his fellowmen
In sickness or in health,
In wartime or in peacetime,
He's always ready to serve,
To care, to save, and to protect.

-Copyright 2014 by Chris A. Quilpa

*Originally appeared on July 1995 print edition of The Courier (An authorized, monthly publication of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA, where the author/poet has served and retired in the U.S. Navy, after 20 years of honorable military service.)
*The poem was certified/registered in the U.S. Copyright Office, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, on December 23, 1997.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Just Chillin' Out

Hi, everyone! Good Monday to y'all! (Just trying to sound Southern, huh?)

 I have been here outside my house for the past hour or two this afternoon when the sun has set in the west, although it's not sunset yet. I have been specifically in our backyard where we have a spacious red-painted wooden deck and where I am sitting quietly on a wooden park bench that we bought at the NEX (Navy Exchange) store years ago. With me is my year-old laptop that I also purchased at NEX. With the summer-like weather, but with a cool breeze, I am simply glad and thankful that I am alive and well, able to appreciate the beauty and noise around me. I took photos of our fruit trees, such as apple, pear, and nectarine, as they continue to grow and bear fruits. Then I shared them to Facebook for our folks, friends to see. I did my "selfie," too, while trying to chill out, relax and enjoy life in the present moment. And, of course, I did share them to Facebook, too.

A while ago, I was engrossed in watching videos on YouTube, videos about politicians in the Philippines. As you may know, I left my nativeland in the early '80s when it was time for me and my younger siblings to emigrate to the U.S. And almost all of the time, I still think of my birthplace and the people I left behind, like my two older sisters, in-laws, my relatives, neighbors and friends, and former classmates and some co-workers when I started teaching in the late '70s, wondering if they're still alive as I am. (Fortunately, a number of them became my Facebook friends, though.)

One particular politician that I always admire and appreciate being a public servant, in the truest sense of the word, is Philippine senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. I have seen her deliver her speeches on YouTube and I can't help myself but be impressed at her with and intelligence and her passion to serve the country. Branded as the Iron Lady of Asia, she is, to me, the epitome of an honest and outstanding public servant. She knows what she's talking about, having been a student, professor and interpreter of the law, and a lawmaker herself. She's a feisty woman who doesn't give a damn to "corrupt" government officials. I am so glad and thankful that she's in Philippine Congress to educate and inspire people, her fellow government officials, and to always expose rampant corruption practices of politicians plaguing the country.

While in my backyard, listening to the pulse of life in the afternoon, and observing the flow of life as it smoothly goes, I feel a sense of peace and satisfaction having lived my life with freedom and fulfillment. Thank God, I am fortunate to have served and lived here in the United States for decades. Thank you to the people who have helped me realize my dreams. I'm also grateful to the people I've encountered and who have helped me, in one way or the other, whether at work, in the church or somewhere else,as I continue working my way to realize my goals and dreams.

As I continue writing this post outside, my wife Freny kept on interrupting me to get inside "because of mosquitoes that will bite you."  Bwt, she's done with school teaching since Friday, their last school day. That was also the day of their high school graduating students' Graduation Day in the evening.

Now that I'm inside, in our living room, I continue writing this post. Originally, I planned to compose a poem while still outside in our backyard. But, look at what happened, I ended up with this narrative. Well, that's okay. I'm okay with it. Now, here comes Freny with a plate of food. "Time to eat dinner," she announced. What can I say? Though I don't feel hungry yet, I have to please my wife...But, I was stubborn, at first. I continued with my blogging til she reminded me that my food will no longer be hot. She has a point. But, of course, I don't want to have my food cold, too.

So, my dear folks and friends, I'm signing off for now. Thank you for reading/visiting my blog. As always, may God bless US! And, wishing you all to have a wonderful day, afternoon, evening/night, wherever you guys are! Take care.

Until next time around...Bye, folks and friends! Let's pray now and eat!-chirs a. quilpa, 06.16.14

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Flag Day and Father's Day*

June 14 and June 15, we observe Flag Day and Father's Day, respectively. As such, we pay tribute to our flag and our fathers---both symbolize many things to many, i.e., pride, power, strength, ideals and virtues.

Here's a quick flashback on our U.S. history: It was June 14, 1777, that the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag of the fledgling United States, replacing the British Grand Union flag. This date becomes Flag Day on modern American calendars.

According to legend, Betsy Griscom Ross (1752-18360, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, reputedly designed and made the first U.S. flag, in 1776, at the request of our first U.s. president, George Washington.

The official national flag consisted of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white, and in the upper corner near the staff, a rectangular blue field containing 50 five-pointed white stars. The stripes symbolize the 13 colonies/states that originally constituted the United States of America. (The 13 originally colonies are New Hampshire Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.) The stars represent the 50 states of the Union. As to the colors red, white and blues in the flag: White signifies purity and innocence; red hardiness and valor; and blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Weeks ago, my wife Freny and I  found ourselves filling up our shopping basket with goodies and other food items at a store. Boxes of (distinct) Stars and Stripes cakes by Little Debbie Snacks caught my eyes. I tell you, these sweet dessert cakes are irresistible! What surprised me was that at the back of each box was information or rules on how to display the flag, such as, "Hoist the flag briskly; lower it ceremoniously. Do not allow the flag to touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor or water."

Such a patriotic gesture, huh? Anyway, thanks Little Debbie! You're quite informative and educational, notwithstanding your commercialistic appeal and intent to "feed' us.

On the other hand, here's to all of us dads (or fathers, grandfathers, and father-figures in the life of a child or children. Thank you to all of us who continue to be responsible Dad or Papa).

I have two children---son Andrew and a daughter Christine. But every Father's Day, I miss my dad, the late Martin David who, I believe, is now in heaven looking after my siblings and me. (My Mom passed away earlier.)

Dad was a humble man, a carpenter-fisherman and laborer. I still remember moments I spent with him catching fish in the early mornings along the seashore back in the Philippines. Young as I was, about 9-10 years old, he taught me to be patient when catching fish with his net. He also demonstrated to me how to persevere to succeed in life. How I wish I had more time with dad!

Happy Father's Day!

-Chris A. Quilpa, is a Suffolk resident who has retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of honorable service.

*Published in Suffolk News-Herald on Thursday, June 12, 2008.

The Stars and Stripes*

(Author’s Note: June 14th is Flag Day in the United States. It is a special day to commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress, and also to celebrate the establishment of the United States Army. But it was in 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. Although it is not a federal holiday, each state has the discretion to celebrate Flag Day every June 14, each year. Pennsylvania was the first state in the U.S. to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday on June 14, 1937. Legend has it that Betsy Ross of Philadelphia was the first to sew or make the first American flag in spring of 1776. Old Glory, Red White and Blue, The Stars and Stripes, The Star-Spangled Banner are among the names given to the American flag.)

The Stars and Stripes*

You’re everywhere---
At home, in schools,
City halls and embassies
On foreign shores;
In the White House,
In the United States Capitol,
Federal buildings and hospitals,
Tall structures and historical landmarks,
National parks and museums;
At the United Nations headquarters,
In churches and cemeteries,
In counties, cities, and states;
Up in the air,
All over the seas,
On the Moon up above…
You’re everywhere!

Here and there---
Flying so freely,
Feeling so proudly,
Standing up so firmly;
The insignia of our country,
The emblem of democracy---
The Stars and Stripes
In red, blue, and white,
A symbol of our pride,
A symbol of our hope,
A symbol of our freedom,
A symbol of our unity,
Power and beauty!

Because of you---
Thousands of lives lost,
Hundreds of battles fought…
But, in the end
Our dream came true
Our Independence and Liberty
Regained and enjoyed by all!

Today, we salute you,
We come together
To honor you,
To renew our pledge of allegiance
To only you---
The Stars and Stripes!

-Copyright 2014 by Chris A. Quilpa

*Poem originally published in Sandpointer, newsletter of then Naval Station Puget Sound, Seattle, WA, on Friday, June 14, 1991, when the above author was stationed at Naval Medical Clinic Seattle, one of the tenant commands at NSPS.

*Poem was registered in the United States Copyright Office, Library of Congress, on December 23, 1997.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Father's Day*

(Author's Note: As we celebrate or observe Father's Day on Sunday, June 15, 2014, I would like to dedicate the poem below to all fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, foster Dads, and uncles and older or big brothers (who assume the responsibilities of being a dad or father-figure to others) out there. Here's a sincere Thank You to all of us, Dad or Papa. For those of us whose Dads and/or grandpas have passed away, I solemnly pray, " May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen." Yes, fathers still matter in the lives of their children. To my two children, Andrew and Christine, thank you for having given me the opportunity to be your Dad. And, to my doting wife, Freny, thank you for having given me the opportunity to be a Dad, a good Dad, that is! God bless our fathers and grandfathers!)

Today is a special day
To honor and pay tribute to you
Father---our role model,
Who sets a good example
For us to follow and emulate.

When we're down and troubled,
You're there to lend a hand
You cheer us up and brighten our day
You comfort us and give us company
And inspire us with your life story.

You guide us and strengthen us,
Protect us from worries and anxieties,
Teach us life's wonders and mysteries,
Life's complexities and uncertainties,
Changes and challenges...

Father, we thank you
For the life and love, joy and patience
You share us each and every day
And the support you provide us
Into our home, our family.

Happy Father's Day!

-Chris A. Quilpa, a resident of Suffolk, is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. Visit his blog at onebuddingpoet/ Email him at

*Published in the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald (online edition, Thursday, June 12, 2014, and print edition, Friday, June 13, 2014). For more information, visit

abitadeacon: We join in prayer with the FSSP, the Catholic community of Phoenix and people of good will everywhere.

abitadeacon: We join in prayer with the FSSP, the Catholic community of Phoenix and people of good will everywhere.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Congratulations, Class of 2014!

To the Class of 2014, congratulations and Happy Graduation Day!

At long last, the time has finally come to don that cap and gown and receive your diploma with congratulatory handshakes from school officials and commencement speaker while the solemn, classical music to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” is being played.

Yes, you finally made it, graduates! You made it to the Class of 2014! It’s worth all the efforts, struggles and the sacrifices. You deserve all the recognition because you have overcome the rigors of school life. You have succeeded in overcoming challenges and pressures and stresses in all aspects of school life---academics, athletics and other extracurricular activities.

Dear graduates, you have all the reasons to relax now, take it easy, and rejoice with and celebrate your achievements and accomplishments with your family, friends, teachers, and those who inspired and helped you through the years while in school. Seize the moment, for it will become a memory, a nostalgic, happy memory to cherish. Take souvenir pictures. Capture those moments spent with your classmates, dear teachers, guests/visitors. Cherish their hugs and kisses, and their mere presence. Enjoy the rest of the day partying responsibly and lawfully! Indeed, you deserve to celebrate your scholarly achievement.

To all the parents and teachers of graduating Class of 2014, I do appreciate and thank you for being there with your students---loving and caring for them, teaching and guiding them no matter what circumstances they have had. Likewise, my sincere thanks to our school administrators, staff-personnel, and volunteers who shared their time, talents and treasures to our students.

Yes, it’s graduation season in our school systems across the country. In fact, other school divisions or colleges, in our area and elsewhere, have already had their graduation ceremonies/exercises---a school tradition that can never be obsolete for as long as schools exist as fountain and powerhouses of knowledge and education, catalysts of changes and reforms for a society, such as ours, that is evolving and transforming as technology and our life-world. (FYI: I learned from my wife (who teaches high school Chemistry) that graduating seniors in their school will have their graduation day Friday, June 13. The event will take place in the evening in a coliseum, she said.)

To most of us, if not many, graduation day is a special day of celebration for our graduates who have successfully completed the requirements of a certain level, or degree, of education and, thus, ready to embark on another chapter in their life. It is a time to rejoice with and be grateful for all the factors involved in the success of our students..  

Truly so, graduation day, or commencement exercises, is a milestone in a student’s life. It is just a start, a beginning of a  more complex, challenging life for our new graduates, whether they graduated from elementary, secondary, collegiate or post-graduate education. To both our students and regular classroom teachers, it may mean the culmination of their school activities for the school year and the start of a month or two of their summer vacation.

Now, the question that needs an answer for the graduates is this: What now, graduates? What’s next for you? Gainful employment? A military service commitment? Looking forward to the next ladder of continuing education or higher education? A sabbatical from schoolwork? A paid apprenticeship or internship in a private or public establishment?

Well, whatever goals or plans you have for your future, continue to work for it. Keep it up and let the momentum going to realize your dream/s. Just remember, no one can stop you from pursuing and/or realizing your dreams. Your confidence and strong determination to succeed supersede all odds coming your way. Be optimistic. That is, look at the brighter side of life. Cheers and smile! You can always make your life and others better. Your future is in your hands, graduates, because life is what you make it.

Once again, congratulations and best wishes to all of you, Class of 2014!

-Chris A. Quilpa, a U.S. Navy retired veteran, is a resident of North Suffolk. He maintains a blog at onebuddingpoet/ Email him at