Corpsman John Bradley


            Here was a man.  The epitome of the Combat Corpsman.  A quiet, private man who eschewed the

fame and glory that his service rendered unto him.  He was, first and foremost, a patriotic American, husband

and father.  He was genuine in his personal feeling that he was not a hero.  He believed that the real heroes

were the men who gave their all and did not come home.   He was always reluctant to talk of his wartime service.


            In fact, it was only after his death in January of 1994 that his family uncovered a box of memorabilia hidden deep in his closet.  It was then that the full scope of his heroics became known even to his family.  They discovered that John had been awarded the Navy Cross for heroism at Iwo Jima.  His citation reads:


            “ For extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy at Iwo Jima, on 21 February 1945 as a hospital corpsman attached to a Marine rifle platoon.  During a furious assault by his company on a strongly defended enemy zone at the base of Mt. Suribachi, Bradley observed a Marine infantryman fall wounded in an open area under a pounding barrage by mortars, interlaced with a murderous crossfire from machine guns.


            With complete disregard for his own safety, he ran through intense fire to the side of the fallen Marine, examined his wounds and ascertained that an immediate administration of plasma was necessary to save the man’s life.  Unwillingly to subject any of his comrades to the danger to which he had so valiantly exposed himself, he signaled would-be assistants to remain where they were.  Placing himself in a position to shield the wounded man, he tied a plasma unit to a rifle planted upright in the sand and continued his life saving mission.


            The Marine’s wounds bandaged and the condition of shock relieved by the plasma, Bradley pulled the man thirty yards through intense enemy fire to a position of safety.  His indomitable spirit, dauntless initiative, and heroic devotion to duty were an inspiration to those with whom he served and were in keeping with the highest tradition U.S. Naval Service.”


            Several days later in that month, Bradley can be seen in the famous photograph of the flag raising on top of

Mt. Suribachi.  He is the third in the front row from the left.  He is easily identified because his canteen pouch is empty.  Why was it empty? Because, true to the spirit found in all Corpsman, he had given it to a thirsty Marine

who was out of water.  Selflessly, he allowed his Marine to slake his thirst at the expense of his own needs.


This indeed was a man! We see these qualities in all our Corpsman.