JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – After 15 years, a memorial designed to honor a branch of our military was finally unveiled in one Eastern Carolina county.
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, and Navy Corpsmen Memorial Organization held the dedication ceremony of the Corpsmen Memorial, the first in the state, according to a navy spokeswoman.
Sailors and corpsmen stood at attention as sounds of pride and honor were heard.
“This group of people gave me the chance to be the person that I am today,” Illinois Veteran’s Affairs Director Terry Prince said.
The memorial at Lejeune Memorial Gardens pays tribute to the brave service of the naval doctors that answered the call to provide medical relief to Marines and service members hurt on duty.
Commander of Camp Lejeune, Brigadier General Andrew Niebel shared his stories of when corpsmen saved his Marines in Afghanistan.
“So the doc arrived, applied some lifesaving aid. When he was in bed recovering I said, ‘Sergeant Dicks, why did you get out of your vehicle knowing that there was a sniper threat in the area?’ He said, ‘Sir we didn’t have the time to do that.’ And besides, I knew if something bad happened, doc had my back,” Niebel said.
A 15-year wait for the memorial unveiling had both soon-to-be corpsmen and retired corpsmen soaking up the moment.
“They train hard and they are assigned to the Marine unit. Those hospital corpsmen earned the respect of the Marines. This is the only memorial of this type. So this is history in the making,” retired Navy Corpsman Raymond Applewhite said.
Officials with the Navy say the rating of hospital corpsman is the most decorated in the U.S. Navy and the most decorated job in the military with 23 medals of honor, 179 Navy crosses since World War One, 31 Navy distinguished service medals, 959 silver star, and more than 1,600 bronze star medals.
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