War Veterans

War Veterans

By Garland Davis

A few years ago, I had an appointment at the Internal Medicine Clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center. This was before I began to manifest the symptoms of my Parkinson’s disease. As I entered the elevator, an Army officer in a camo uniform rushed past me into the nearly full elevator. I noticed an elderly couple also nearing the elevator and stopped the door to hold the elevator for them.

As the couple entered the elevator, the officer groaned and said, “For Christ’s sake.”

The elderly couple told me they were going to the same floor I was. As the elevator reached our floor and opened the officer pushed his way to the front, upsetting the lady, who would have fallen if I hadn’t caught her. Her husband also clutched my arm to maintain his balance. I helped them from the elevator and asked where they were going. As it happened, they were also going to Internal Medicine. I took my time and assisted them with a couple of stops to rest.

Once we reached the clinic, I helped them to check-in and got them seated. As I completed my check-in, the rude Army officer came from the back and sat down in the waiting area.

I walked over to him and said, “Major, if you don’t mind I would like to talk to you outside.”

We went out into the foyer. I said, “Major you owe that old man and woman an apology. When you pushed them aside exiting that elevator, they both almost fell. I see you are wearing the Combat Infantry Badge which tells me you have seen combat. Did you notice that the old gentleman’s ball cap is embroidered with the Marine Corps device and the words Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa? There are also Gunnery Sergeant’s chevrons, as well as the ribbons for the Pacific Theater, the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.”

He stared at me for a minute, turned and reentered the waiting room, walked over to the couple, knelt and talked with them for about ten minutes. He shook their hands, stood and rendered a hand salute.

He walked to me and said, “Sir, may I ask, what is your rank?”

I told him, “I am a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer.”

He shook my hand, said, “I always heard that Chiefs were a bunch of Hard-asses.” He saluted me and walked to his seat.

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