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Thursday, January 23, 2020

My Heroes Have Always Worn Boots, RIP Doc Whalen, MOH Recipient

By Doc_D

Corpsman.com Salutes Doc Whalen and all MOH recipients.  We grieve for our loss of him leaving our earthly bounds–D/C

Official MOH Page: Doc Whalen MOH

As I sit here this evening thinking about the passing of one of my true heroes, I feel compelled to write something.

Heroes are a funny thing. They don’t do what they do because they are chasing recognition or because they are seeking some kind of gratification. They do their part because they typically see something greater than themselves.

They rarely, if ever, see themselves as anything other than a Shipmate, a member of a squad or a Brother/Sister.

I have often thought of these Patriots as Icebergs. You only catch a small glimpse of their greatness and the bulk is left unseen.

George E. Wahlen receives the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman in 1945.

George E. Wahlen receives the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman in 1945.

This much is true, in the case of Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class George E. Wahlen.

Many Corpsman recognize the name from one of the many MoH displays, memorializing Hospital Corpsman who have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, often found in every Naval Hospital. Mr. Wahlen was awarded the MoH for his gallant actions while serving as Fleet Marine Force Corpsman with Company F, Second Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, on the island or Iwo Jima.

Having been wounded 3 separate times during the onslaught, he refused to be evacuated from the battlefield, even going to render aid and assistance to a nearby Platoon, in effect treating up to 14 patients before he returned to his own Platoon.

A little known fact is that Mr. Wahlen, who was awarded the MoH in 1945, returned to service when he re-enlisted in the United States Army and served in both the Korean and Viet Nam Wars before retiring at the rank of Major.

Having been a Warrior for the better part of his adult life, his service to our country did not end when he retired. He continued to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs for an additional 14 years.

Major Wahlen, Doc, passed away on 05 June 2009 at George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, from lung cancer.

This Hero’s status is evident in the fact that Congress approved the naming of the Medical Center while Major Wahlen was still alive.

Thank you for leading the way, Sir. You stand relieved, I have the Watch….

Doc_D is a HM1 who is serving on Recruiting Duty, and is a member of Corpsman.com.  Thanks Doc for a moving tribute.–D/C

Comments

3 Responses to “My Heroes Have Always Worn Boots, RIP Doc Whalen, MOH Recipient”
  1. Tamra says:

    Nice story. Reminds me of my uncle who served w/US Army in WWII then Navy w/Korean War. Kinda nice to know folks like them walk among us huh?

  2. Tamra says:

    Nice story. Reminds me of my uncle who served w/US Army in WWII then Navy w/Korean War. Kinda nice to know folks like them walk among us huh?

  3. Michael C says:

    What a very special person. I tell my Corpsman son that I most proud of his heart, that he wants to help others. My son is now in Afghanistan and we have lots of sleepless nights. God Bless our men and women in uniform.