A Corpsman's Prayer

  Grant me, oh Lord, for      the coming events;
  Enough knowledge to       cope and some plain         common sense.
  Be at our side on those     nightly patrols;
  And be merciful judging   our vulnerable souls.
  Make my hands steady      and as sure as a rock;
  when the others go    
  down with a wound or  
  in shock.
  Let me be close, when      they bleed in the mud;
  With a tourniquet handy   to save precious blood.
  Here in the jungle, the       enemy near;
  Even the corpsman can't   offer much lightness and   cheer.
  Just help me, oh Lord, 
  to save lives when I can;
  Because even out there 
  is merit in man.
  If It's Your will, make    
  casualties light;
  And don't let any die in     the murderous night.
  These are my friends I'm   trying to save;
  They are frightened at 
  times, but You know     
  they are brave.
  Let me not fail when   
  they need so much;
  But to help me serve    
  with a compassionate   
  Lord, I'm no hero -- my 
  job is to heal;
  And I want You to know   Just how helpless I feel.
  Bring us back safely to      camp with dawn;
  For too many of us are      already gone.
  Lord bless my friends If     that's part of your plan;
  And go with us tonight,    when we go out again.

      Author Unknown

November 9th 1998

Mike “Doc” Harter HM3

Not only for the wounded and dying, but for the living. The Dear John’s, the homesick, the fearful. Doc is not only a healer of the body, but a healer of the mind and soul. A job I love, but which has a price.

My course is set, I cannot turn back, I must never show weakness to those in my charge or I will lose all respect. I must remain strong that they may draw strength and continue on their journey, they depend on me to show no fear. They depend on me to be by their side. Though the words are not spoken, I know they need me to fill the void which breeds fear and loneliness. Though I am not part of them, I am their guide. I am their counselor. I am their friend. They come to me for understanding and show them a caring heart. They expect nothing from me, yet I am their lifeline. They tease, taunt, but all in jest. They walk before me, showing their respect, protecting me that I may protect them.

I have no life to call my own. I have nothing to myself that I do not give to them. I am surrounded, yet I am alone. I sit on the outside; waiting for the time I am needed. I am there. I am always there to be their strength when they are weary. I am always there to ease their pain and quell their fears. They are mine and I will guard them jealously. They are mine and I will protect them from their enemies. I fight for them and see them grow. I watch as their eyes grow dim. My hands are not steady. My mind is not clear, yet I must continue. I must press on in the battle for their sake. Though I may slip, though I may stumble, I will win the war for them. I will see them safely on the other side. I have no choice but to abandon myself, to give all I am for their good. It is my lot in life which I must accept regardless of the personal cost. It is the calling of fate which makes me press on. It is why I am who I am. It is why I am doc.

I have seen the eyes of they dying and the dead. Their faces will be with me forever. Their lifeless eyes pleading for the spark of life, the spark which I cannot give. I am powerless to restore that which they need. I am defeated.

I have looked into the face of death. I have seen his sunken eyes beckoning. I state long and hard and feel his want for me. But his grasp cannot reach me. I am too strong for him. I laugh at him and he flees. Death cannot control my soul. Death cannot make me afraid to live. Death will not make me hide in the shadows. I walk in the light of light. I celebrate the day, knowing death cannot harm me. I am not afraid of death, I am not afraid of life. I will walk its course taking what I will until the end. The jungle makes me strong where I can pursue life. I draw strength from the life in the jungle and I draw strength from the death that lurks there.

               Mike “Doc” Harter HM3

                      2nd Bn 1st Marines 
                      Hotel – Golf – H&S
                      Sept. 69 – Sept. 70

Doc Harters Web Site "Wichita Area Vietnam Vets