"Twas the night before Christmas as I flew o'er the Marine Base, when I spied a young man who seemed out of place. His eyes showed compassion, his hair a bit long, but his head was held high and his body was strong.
His air was confident, his uniform smart, but what impressed me most was the size of his heart. For he embodied honor, one of his country's best, and the words U.S. Navy showed large on his chest.
As I stood there in wonder and gazed into his eyes, the words that he spoke took me quite by surprize. "What's wrong Santa, haven't you ever seen a sailor before?" I sensed something special and longed to know more.
"To be honest, this field thing wasn't part of my plan, but God didn't give me a boat or tin can." The words he spoke next surprized me all the more, "But I'm proud of my Navy as I am of the Corps!"
"Don't worry Santa, that I'm a sailor you see, for when a Marine goes down they will still call on me. They'll forget I'm a sailor, they'll call in my stock. At the top of their lings they'll, "Get me the Doc!"
"And I'll answer that call, anytime, anywhere. Though I know I'm a target I really don't care. I'll face incoming fire as I race cross the land, and use my very own body to shield a downed man."
"Working long hours and into the night, my unit's battle is over, but I'm just starting to fight. For the life of every Marine is sacred to me. I refuse to surrender them to death, and in that I'll find victory."
"And yet I'll take the time to comfort a dying man, to sit down by his side, to reach out and hold his hand. For it takes as much courage to care as to fight. For just the poem says, many don't "go gently into that night."
"Santa, it's not any one uniform that makes you a man, but rather it's those ideals for which you choose to stand. I draw my line here, it's long and it's plain. For pain, hurt and suffering are the things I disdain."
I know very well that I may lose my life, so that a Marine see an unmet child and young wife. So Santa, it really doesn't matter if they don't like my hair. I'm a Navy Corpsman, their Doc, and I'll always be there ."
"I follow the brave Docs who have come long before, from Belleau Woods, Iwo, and Lebanon's shore. As history proudly shows, they all gave their best, and those who have died, surely they're blessed."
"At Inchon, the Gulf and times during Tet, our brothers have fallen, but we carry on yet. For we carry their honor and legacy still." As I held back my tears it took all my will.
I had to leave him there for I had other plans, but I knew in my heart hat the Corps is in good hands. As I flew away I heard his laughter, it rang so loud and clear. "Hey Santa, how about a nice pair of boots for the 26 miler next year?"
HMC(FMF/SW) Mark Forsberg
2/3 UDP, Okinawa, December 1997