The Dillmans of Notasulga, Alabama

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come on, email Frank

Military Career Promised Health Care?

A capsule of history: The US Supreme Court has turned its back and responsibility to Colonel Bud Day, USAF retired, POW, Medal of Honor recipient and war hero and thousands of other Col Bud Daymilitary retirees also promised life time military medical care for themselves and their spouse upon completing a military career. It is truly a sad state of affairs when the US government can break their promises to military personnel fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy. May it come to a day when once again the military draft demand service from our men (and women?) and a draftee take his contact to an attorney and subsequently refuse induction as the young person refuses the conditions of the contract? Why not, the US government has pretty much forced us into that posture. Unfortunately, the retired military committee having fulfilled their obligation, is fighting our own government for what has been earned while many are dying poor, as a result of not covered medical expenses, and not realizing their promise.

This article is reprinted with The Retired Enlisted Association's permission. This article appeared in their publication "The Voice" in July 2003. If you want to contact The Retired Enlisted Association, I am sure they would be pleased to hear from you.

fmf-corpsmanAnd the Department of Defense continues to stick it to those of us who fulfilled our end of our contracts by serving at least 20 years. I, among many thousands of others, where promised military health care for my wife and I upon serving a career, which is defined as serving 20 years or more. DOD has again hand selected a committee of military retirees and those who did not serve in the military, for one reason or another. While I was in Vi et Nam, on the USS Forrest al, or elsewhere serving with the Navy and Marine Corps I missed many of my children's activities that others take for granted. I and my wife understood I was defending our county and we knew of the earned benefits. Some who did not serve (was it by their choice?) feel that our earned benefits are "excessive." Age limits are currently being raised so this is YOUR opportunity to serve your country and earn what current retirees have earned.

The following comments composed by an unknown author were sent me from a Marine and former high school classmate, who only be accident we encountered each other in Salisbury Park, Long Island years after the both of us left the service. Picture this encounter if you will: Tim Glavin dressed in police uniform, complete with helmet and sun glasses sitting atop of his horse. I walked over to Tim by the tennis courts and asked for the location of the start of the measured walking path. I told this officer "I had run many miles in this park while in high school" to which he called me by name "Frank Dillman." I still get chill bumps recalling this chance event of me visiting the ole turf some 20+ years after our 1966 graduation. What is the odds in that I asked Tim for directions instead of one of many in the park that sunny afternoon. Not only did we not know of each other in the service he served the Corps and me serving the Corps as their Hospital Corpsman. Comparing notes days later we were actually serving our county in a couple of the same battles.

I am not sure of the author however he is one of the many reasons Hospital Corpsman often requested service with their brethren, the United State Marines. I served 10 of my 20 years of service with the Marine Corps and asked my Commanding Officer, Colonel Andrew Finlayson, to retire me.

The email had this embedded YouTube video.

Subject: FMF CORPSMAN For those of us who heard and used the term "Corpsman Up," it is a term that remains everlasting in both our hearts and our minds. The truth is that we ask and expect far too much from these young men and women who are called Corpsmen, and who like most young Marines were first exposed to the horrors of war in ways most will never forget. Those assigned to the Fleet Marine Forces Marines (FMF) lived the way we did and that of the units to which assigned, and they endured and participated in every hardship and disappointment, as well as the praise and glory awarded their units.

The truth is many in Vietnam were 18 years old and upwards, and were just as fearful of being hurt or killed as the rest were and like the rest failed to receive mail for extended periods of time. Like every other Marine in the ground combat units, Corpsmen dug their foxholes with other Marines, ate the same C-rations as the rest, felt the stings of ants, leeches, bees, and scorpions, and they also dug their own toilets like the rest of us and they also buried their cans, papers, etc., after cooking and eating their meals. They were Just as tired as the rest and at times just as afraid of the unknown as was anyone else. However, Corpsmen still had to check on the sanitation of our locations, as well as tending to the minor and major injuries and ailments suffered sooner or later by all. And those aliments and injuries ran the gamut from diarrhea to coughs and colds, and from Elephant grass cuts which usually festered into very large and ugly sores, to the usual heat related issues such as heatstroke, and on to more serious mental and physical issues to include VD and other issues of that nature.

Our Navy Corpsmen did all that while still carrying the gear needed to care for a platoon or company sized unit as well as carrying their own gear and weapons. And often times they were told to help out the locals with their illnesses, injuries, or wounds, and that in turn meant using up precious bandages and medications, which the Corpsman had carried in his pack and medical bags for his fellow Marines. That then caused the Corpsman to pray or ask help from somewhere that he would not run short of needed medications and supplies, and just in case and when the next firefight, or mine explosion, or enemy mortars or artillery might happen upon his unit.

To ask the above of a young 18-22 year old FMF Corpsman, is asking much more than many in the field ever realized until much later and after the fact. After all, that Corpsman is thought by many to be an "expert" on wounds, or how to handle other major injuries, in addition to which medication might be needed and requested to be used for everything from fleas or hair lice to trench foot or crotch rot or pink eye. While every Corpsman that our units had in Vietnam might not have been quite as astute, courageous, gifted, and the logically- minded individuals we make them all out to be, I would love to have just one more time to shake their hands and hug them all, and to thank them all for that which they did for so many over the years, and especially for those units I was honored to be a part of.

The Navy Corpsman who served the Marine Corps had and continue to do so with pride and passion. Many provided the ultimate sacrifice while providing emergency medical care to a fallen Marine.

Thank you Tim for your service along with all who have served reading this.