A Corpsman's Heart

by Tom Fournier HM1, USN
(Milton, FL, USA)

For some it started when we were “Boots”
For me it is what I planned for.
I trained and trained for six months long
Just to be a member of this elite corps.
I was young and very naive and sometimes brash.
I thought I could save the world.
After all, that is what we were trained for.
I am very possessive of those placed in my care.
My job to keep you well and bring you home.
I was looked up to and counted on to know,
the answers to the difficult questions and situations.
I did my best to try and be prepared
I studied hard and watched you close
But then the day came when my bubble burst.
The noise, the dust, the constant flashes,
The blood, the screams, the utter chaos,
The call “Corpsman Up” was heard above all.
Before the call I was already in motion
Going from one to another giving my aid.
It seemed as if it went on forever,
everything appearing to be in slow motion.
The noise went on and all seemed a panic.
But I had to remain calm while surrounded by chaos.
My uniform and hands covered in blood,
fighting a stomach that felt like wrenching.
I worked with what I carried and did all that I knew to do.
No matter what I did it didn’t work.
The noise dissipated and all I heard were your words
“Doc please save me”
I gave my all to no avail, my brother died.
No time to cry.
I had to be strong for all the others,
I buried it deep with all the others.
I had to be strong for all the others.
This was my first, but not my last
For many more battles laid wait for me
Those who died became part of me
They live in the recesses of my inner being
It has been many a year and my heart is full
Brothers I LOVE you still
I tried real hard and did my best
Forgive me now if I lay you to rest
The pain of your passing haunts me still
The loneliness felt has created a great emptiness.
You are in my dreams and I can feel your presence
Every night I dread the lands of endless screams.
I awake with a start, my body glistening and damp
I tremble and fear to go back to sleep
I feel the heat, the stench of burnt flesh, and the agonizing screams.
The contortion of pain on your faces
The despairing feeling that there was little I could do.
I couldn’t break down. I couldn’t cry.
I could only bury you in my heart
For some of you I didn’t even know your names
But I cannot forget your pleading faces
People say I should put you behind me
But how can you ignore or discard something that is part of you
They say I shouldn’t feel the guilt, that it wasn’t my fault
But they didn’t see the faces
I pray every day that I can face the world
I LOVE you my brothers and I know I did what I could
The process has started as I find those of you that I can on the WALL
One by one to say goodbye
Each time I see your name, I see your faces
I know that you are at peace and no longer in pain
I feel your love and you seem to say thanks brother, you did your best.
I want you to know that you will not be forgotten
You will always be part of this Corpsman’s Heart.

Revised December 20, 2011

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Sister's Review
by: Anonymous

Tom, I just read your poem. Great Job!!! I could feel your pain as I read your words. I am very proud that you were able to write about such a painful thing. Love you. Kathy

by: Anonymous

I am very proud to call you classmate and friend, Tom. Thank you for your service.

the corpsman heart
by: Anonymous

it touches my heart and my deepest feeling to make me happy in a good way

My nephew
by: Uncle Charlie

Serving in the Marine Corp right after the Korean war October of 1953 ,and seeing a lot of my fellow marines who were in combat,and the wounds they substaned,and owing there lives to the Navy corp men such as yourself. It makes me proud to have one in my family,the self sacrifice that all the corp men have indoored while under fire from the enemy and the courage it takes to try to save one of our men is enormous,
Tom I know that you did your best to try to save every G.I you met on the battle field and you did save a lot of them,and the ones that god wanted you gave comfort and hope.
God bless you and all the people out there that think of others before them self and give there all.

Rock steady Doc
by: J.Lamphear (USMC)

As A prior MARINE Corpsman are the one that we look up to all the time with the utmost respect. Remember doc as a marine we knew wht our fait was the day we signed our lives over to selfless service in defence of our country.
As was said think about all you have saved and dont dwell on those lost as you did your best and in our line of work you have the only excuse to say you did everything you could, we just pull a rigger, all of you corpsmen are the unsung heros on the battlefield and I thank you as many MARINES do. Semper Fi, and fair winds and following seas.

by: Anonymous

Tom, I have known you all of my life and I know that you did everything that you could possibley do to help all of these men during the last moments of thier lives. I know that you were a peace and comfort to them. I know that you prayed for them while you were working to save thier lives. I also know that not all of the men that you worked on died. Think of them...think of the second chance that they got to live because you were there. Think of the joy that thier families have because of you. No one can ever say that you did not do your best. You were put into thier lives for a reason.....to be a blessing to them in thier final moments. How many did you lead to Christ? How many souls are rejoicing with our Savior because you shared Christ with them in thier dying moments? You will never know, but God does. God Bless you and I thank God for you daily. Love you Tom!

Rest Gently Please
by: southpawokpoet

You are beautiful, as are your words and feeling Know you are forgiven, they know you did all you could and knew to do. Please keep writing, there is more coming from you. Rest gently please. Dusty

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