MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Wherever there is a Marine engaged in combat, a Navy corpsman is not far. Since the American flag was raised on Iwo Jima flag by five Marines and one corpsman, the threads of the United States Navy Hospital Corpsman have been sewn into the battle flag of the United States Marine Corps.
It is this group of gallant warriors that are being recognized as plans for the construction and placement of the Corpsman Memorial in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens are underway.
“The concept behind this whole drive is the Marines’ tribute to Navy corpsmen,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Matthew DesChamps, command senior chief of 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
In February 2008, the Corpsmen Memorial Foundation was established with the goal of creating a monument in honor of Navy corpsmen who fought alongside their Marine brethren. Funds have been accumulated over the past two and a half years, totaling nearly $30,000.
The Corpsmen Memorial will be a life-sized replica of the clay sculpture currently housed in Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, which portrays a Vietnam-era corpsman lying on top of a wounded Marine, whose right leg is in a makeshift splint, shielding him from impending danger.
“Some of the gear has changed since then, but what the corpsmen have done, and continue to do, hasn’t,” said DesChamps.
The memorial is scheduled to be completed and placed in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens near Camp Johnson within the next two years, if the necessary funds are met.
Abbe Godwin, the artist who designed the bronze Marine at the Beirut Memorial, will be constructing the Corpsmen Memorial, also out of bronze.
“This is all for the recognition of the corpsmen who have served with the Marine Corps in the past, present and future,” said DesChamps. “They have all done phenomenal things and will continue to do so as long as there is a corpsman alongside a Marine.”
For more information about the Corpsmen Memorial, visit nccorpsmenmemorial.net.