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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.

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