Well, the old axiom “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t always true.Â The reason is that my superb webmaster has porivided me with information, as he has done over the past 11 years as my webmaster, and has enabled me to blog.Â Â So here goes.
First off, 2008 was a fantastic year.Â There were three major highlights for this old Chief. I am going to blog the first one now.Â I will blog the other two separately.Â My idea is to try and blog at least once a week.
The first major event occurred when I was invited to and did participate as the guest speaker at the 110th Hospital Corps Birthday Ball at NMC Portsmouth in June 08.Â What a terrific honor it was for me.Â It was also very humbling.Â Â We took our daughter, Shalyn, SH2/USN and our son-in-law, Jeff Parker, DC1/USN with us to the event.Â Prior to the ball, Jeff took me over to the Medical Center and I met with HMC Dorothy Walker, the main coordinator.Â We all went over to NSHS Portsmouth and I met the CMC,Â the C.O., and X.O., and then went to the birthday ceremony for the staff and students.Â The ceremony was great and the guest speaker was aÂ young HM2 (I misplaced his name in my files and I sincerely apoligize.Â I will put it in when I find it.) who received the Navy Cross for his actions in the Gulf recently.Â A tremendous young man. Seeing the staff and students gave me a great feeling of pride.
Next we went the NMC Portsmouth, where I met the CMC Master Chief and went to the cake cutting at the hospital.Â Again, being among and seeing these fine young folks who wear the emblem of the Hospital Corpsman, filled me with even more pride.Â Later on , Jeff and I snooped around the hospital on our own.Â I just wanted to see today’s corpsmen in the hospital working environment.Â I was greatly impressed.Â I didn’t have to identify myself to anyone so nobody was doing it for show.Â Just doing their jobs with pride.
On Saturday, 21 June, we all went to the ball in Norfolk.Â Now, I have been to many, I repeat, many,Â Hospital Corps Birthday Balls during my career and since my retirement and this one was “off the charts!”Â Chief Walker and her crew did an amazing job.Â Between 300-400 folks attended.Â Seeing these young people, all of them wearing their uniforms with such pride,Â was again, most gratifying.Â (They had some surprises in store for this old goat! )
During the ceremony several corpsmen, one at a time, stood fromwithin the audience and each read a name ofÂ our fallen comrades from Iraq and Afghanistan.Â You could hear a pin drop thoughout this entire facility.Â Very well done.
One of the guests who also spoke was a very distinguished gentleman named Phillip Brasher, CWO, USArmy.Â He has his own distinguished record as a helo pilot and then to add to it, his father was BMCM(DV) Carl Brashear, US Navy (Retired) the subject of the movie “Men of Honor” with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert DeNiro.Â When Phillip spoke and told the story about bringing one of our fallen corpsmen home, the reverence in his voice spoke volumes.Â He then spoke of the relationship between the Brashear family and NMC Portsmouth.Â Again, such heartfelt admiration for the staff and the command and Navy Medicine.Â After his talk, a young HM2 took the center of the flloor and recited my poem with such feeling and emotion I was taken quite aback as tears came into my eyes.Â (Again, I have the names and they are in my notes but not right at hand. I will credit these folks when I get to my notes.)
Then I was introduced.Â Got me right with a handkerchief wiping my eyes. Ah, yes…brought a tear, maybe more than one,to the old Chief’s eyes.Â I had a tough act to follow.Â I had a talk prepared but as I approached the podium and laid it out I thought to myself “These folks don’t need to hear a speech.Â They need to hear me straight from the heart” and so that’s what I did.Â I was so honored and as I said, so humbled, to be a part of the entire celelbration and to be amongst such fine young men and women.Â I was able to meet and talk with many of them.
Inmy career I served as an instructor in various commands and positions from”A” School toÂ my assignments with the FMF, and at AviationPhysiology, NAS Miramar.Â I had also served as a Command Chief back inthe early ’70s and also as a recruiter–I must say I was partial to enlisting HM’s.Â As I look back on it I have seen several of my student who went on to also be instructors.Â The Tradition Continues.Â Well, I can say with great admiration and pride, that the Hosptial Corpsman of today is “Continuing the Tradition” and I respect each and every one and say “Thank You.
I felt such pride to know that you young folks who are currently serving are “Continuing the Tradition”.
In closing this I would like to ask that anyone who was at the Ball when I spoke, if you have any photos I would appreciate hearing from you.Â My camera decided that night to “malfunction”. You can email me here at the website.
Well, that’s about it for now.Â I look forward to hearing from you.
Da’ ol’ Chief.