Talking Proud Archives --- Military

Medevacs & Medics, Angels of Mercy

By Ed Marek, editor

March 17, 2012

“Corpsman up!” Faulhaber and Wheeler

When a Navy corpsman hears, “Corpsman Up!,” he-she jumps into action, no matter was the situation, a comrade is down. Here are two representatives stories.

One Marine Vietnam vet has said this:

“Almost every Marine who spent time in Vietnam has heard the cry, "Corpsman Up !" The circumstances varied widely, but the result was a constant. A US Navy Corpsman, wearing the same dirty, torn, and smelly green utilities worn by his Marine brothers and ‘armed’ with his B-1 medical kit, went to the aid of wounded Marines. Usually under enemy fire, these ‘angels in green’ performed lifesaving miracles with complete disregard for their own safety.”

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Back in late 2008, a lot was being written and shown to us on TV about the Iraqi journalist who threw both his shoes at President Bush at a press conference in Baghdad on December 14, 2008. Clerics in Iraq and many Iraqi citizens were applauding the event, and many in the media took great delight in it as well.

I want to convey a message to this shoe tosser that I believe many, many Americans would endorse.

The United States Navy awarded a battlefield combat meritorious promotion to Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Ryan P. Faulhaber, USN, of Faribault, Minnesota, 30, assigned to the 2nd Medical Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. The Navy promoted him to Petty Officer First Class (PO1) for actions he undertook during the period March 29 - April 28, 2008. Such battlefield promotions are very rare. He also received the Bronze Star for Valor.

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Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan P. Faulhaber stands among Iraqi children on April 8, 2008 in the city of Basra, Iraq

One of those actions was during the Basra Campaign of April 4, 2008. An Iraqi journalist from
Al Jazeera with Faulhaber's team was struck by small arms fire during a combat engagement. The reporter was seriously injured, was lying in full view of the enemy and had been knocked unconscious. Iraqi Army medics hesitated responding. PO2 Faulhaber did not hesitate --- "Corpsman Up!" And up he went. He ignored the danger and quickly provided the reporter with life saving treatment. As Faulhaber was tending to the reporter and dragging him out of harms way, the enemy pressed ahead firing at them both, but missed their targets. Faulhaber saved that journalist's life. No Iraqis would help.

That's our message. When the word goes out, "Corpsman Up," our Navy medics go to where they're needed, no matter what, even for an Iraqi journalist. His mother, Helen, has said it this way:

“He showed great courage and great determination and great love for his fellow man and that impresses me the most.”

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When a Navy corpsman hears "Corpsman Up!," he jumps into action, no matter what the situation, a comrade is down.

Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) Casey A. Wheeler did just that and much more while on a combined operation with his Marines in Military Transition Team 0142 and 2nd Bn, 4th Bde, 1st Iraqi Army (IA) Division on September 30, 2007 in the Baghdad area.

He was with a six-man team joined to 14 IA soldiers supporting another IA platoon chasing down a high value target. They were ambushed. Wheeler immediately joined the fight, enabling the Marines and IA to maneuver around to counter. One IA shot in the leg, Wheeler controlled the bleeding, and then returned to the fight. Gunny Muerkerson was shot in the head, fatally. Wheeler ran to him, and pulled him away to a protected position. Then he had to keep his cool ---- Gunny was gone.

Ten IA panicked when Gunny went down. Wheeler fired them up to fight, and fight they did. He then set up a casualty collection point to enable a quick reaction force (QRF) to medevac people out.

An Army lieutenant took one to the leg. Wheeler treated him, and the L-T returned to the fight. A six-hour battle ensued, and Wheeler ran his casualty center.

For his courage, Wheeler received the Navy and Marine commendation medal with "V" device for valor. To some, this medal might sound like not enough recognition. The "V" device is huge.

But men like Wheeler don't worry about all that; he feels honored. When he thinks about the medal and what happened that day, he thinks of is his Gunny. Marines know well that when they yell "Corpsman Up," men like Wheeler will be there, right away. To a man in combat, that is cosmic! Bravo!

Addendum July 3, 2013: Wheeler’s God-father, Colonel (Ret.) Marc Wheeler, has told us Wheeler has been promoted to chief petty officer (CPO).
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Gunny Sergeant Tom Bartlett wrote this poem, “Corpsman Up”

Up at the front and filled with fear, he pleads with God, don't leave me here.
Wounded and bleeding and hunched with pain, thrown on his back in the mud and the rain
Others went down, some hit, all scared; no one moved, no one dared.
We'd moved swiftly through the paddy mire, and then it happened; enemy fire
It's Corpsman Up," when things get hot, the nearest thing to God, we've got
"Corpsman Up," to save a breath. "Corpsman Up," in the face of death.
Stop the bleeding, treat for shock; no time for hesitation "Doc"
Patch him up and get him back; back to the rear; call a medevac
Operating room well lit and clean; Doctors waiting, dressed in green.
Operate with speed and skill, experts with a determined will.
Save lives or limbs to save dreams, no matter how impossible it seems.
Work on in a sweat in mud and grime; to save a life . . . there's not much time.
You joined the navy to learn your trade, went to school, and made the grade.
It's "Corpsman Up," when the rounds are flying; "Corpsman Up," when men are dying.
You're one of us, a grunt of grit; like it or not you just can't quit.
"Corpsman Up," step from the ranks. "Corpsman Up," and accept our thanks.
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“Doc, let’s go!” And she went