33 Years Under the Green Blanket: Stories My Father Told Me

There is a reason Marines have discarded the label Disabled Vet in favor of Wounded Warrior.

For a portion of the Vietnam War my dad was the Marine Liaison to Balboa Hospital. Basically he made sure wounded Marines returning from Vietnam were taken care of properly, handling their administrative issues, getting paid, etc.

There was one Marine who had stepped on a toe popper (anti-personnel mine). He had two lurid surgical scars than ran up both legs and met at his lower back and began traveling north from there. He had a glass eye and had been told he would likely not walk again.

Marines have a tendency to dismiss “medical science” as some kind of heathen shamanism to be mocked with derision. This Leatherneck was no exception. Not only was he able to walk again, he completed and passed a Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test. As one might imagine, both of these feats were accomplished with some difficulty. The PFT in particular was completed under the kind of immense physical pain that would fold average men like so much wet cardboard. Naval witch doctors begrudgingly issued him a cane.

Despite this, his wounds were such he would have to be medically discharged. My mother, who was a Navy Nurse at Balboa during this episode, said it was the darnedest thing how this Marine’s records kept getting misfiled. I am uncertain if these fortuitous administrative errors were able to get him past a certain ‘years of service’ threshold or merely put a few extra paychecks in his pocket.

In those days there was no direct deposit and everyone was issued hard checks. One day our wounded jarhead came ambling out of the bank after cashing his paycheck and was jumped by three dirtbags. Having mistaken him for an easy mark, imagine their surprise as he savagely laid his cane across their skulls beating them down in the street.

As police arrived on the scene he removed his glass eye and leaned heavily on his cane. Outraged these thugs would treat a “disabled” veteran in such a manner, the cops roughly shoved them into the squad car and took their leave.

So be careful next time you intend to cross a Wounded Veteran. You may end up catching a stump to the rectum.

Semper Fidelis!
America’s 1stSgt

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  1. Happy Turkey day to you and I hope you stuff yourself and then get your PT on. I was thinking this was the next duty station posting but I will keep the faith.

  2. Sorry, it was not the great duty station announcement. I think you might be disappointed with my orders.

    Leslie, thanks! I will strive to enjoy a uniquely American holiday here on this 60 kilometer sand dune. 🙂

  3. I try to imagine how the Afghans must see it. “Okay, they have a holiday for blowing things up, a holiday to dress up like monsters, a holiday to be thankful… They’re just crazy.”

    Now, time to eat an unwise amount of turkey with my company and then get back to work!

  4. Saker, blowing things up? They probably think that holiday is brilliant.

    Magoo, I spent the day catching up on The Walking Dead and Fringe. I even got a free turkey meal at the chow hall. Then wrapped it all up with some UFC fights. Pretty much a perfect holiday for me!

  5. Excellent story. Cheered me up no end after having read today’s headlines. As long as we have our maritime services (please note that gracious nod to the Navy), we’ll be okay as a nation.

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