John Jay Michels

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class
United States Navy
06 June 1947 - 11 July 1968
Sewickley, PA
Panel 52W Line 015

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
John J Michels
Class of 1966
Quaker Valley High School
Leetsdale, Pa.

The database page for John Jay Michels

1 Sep 2002

To John

A friend, classmate, fellow Vet ... a hero.
He died providing care to others.

Still miss you, my friend.

Mickey Powner

11 Sep 2002

I think of you often and pray you are at peace.

Mike Fitzgerald
Classmate and fellow Marine

13 October 2002

This is our Corpsman

Assigned to a tent at Dong Ha
- the tent was blown up
by incoming rockets
- you cared for the wounded

At a trash dump near Cam Lo
- you bathed and bandaged
and laughed and played
with Vietnamese children

You were initiated at the Dunes
into the Marine Corps
- a bucket of scorpions
was poured on to your chest

You drank chocolate milk
to celebrate a Marine�s birthday
and once again to celebrate Ho Chi Minh�s birthday
at Quang Tri Bridge

You marched naked
across Quang Tri Bridge
proclaiming to the laughing Vietnamese
that "The French have returned"

You listened attentively
as your men read letters
from their friends
and families at home

You watched in horror
as your friend Richard Jorgenson
was thrown from a truck
into a speeding tank
(The tank stopped 1 foot away from
Jorgenson - he sustained broken ribs
but survived)

You survived a four hour firefight
tending to heat stoke victims
Lima Company suffered no serious casualties
but as we prepared to leave the battlefield victorious
an explosion took the life of Major Joseph Loughran

Like a skilled surgeon
you delicately removed leeches
from our eyelids
and the insides of our mouths

When Marines were trapped
on a mountaintop - using a machete
you cut your way through
hundreds of yards of thick vegetation
and successfully relieved them

On the way up the mountain
you came across half dead
North Vietnamese soldiers
you gave them water
and blessed them with
the Sign of the Cross
- then moved on

You fed starving Marines
with handfuls of Cadillac dog food
- when the food was gone
you allowed them to continue
sucking the flavor from your hands

You warned us not to drink
water buffalo piss
- then you fought to get
your share of the puddle

You made helmet liners
for your Marines
out of captured
NVA women�s black panties

You participated in our beauty contest
after a great deal of debate
we all came to an agreement
that "Adak of The Mole People"
was the prettiest girl in the world

Each day you passed out
Useless malaria pills
at night you cleared
the mouths and throats
of malaria victims.

You took a needle and thread
and sewed poncho liners into vests
to keep your men warm at night

You used powdered coffee creamer & sugar
and made "Railroader�s Turkish Taffy"
and shared it with other soldiers
and the Vietnamese

When a priest came to celebrate mass
you pressed the Turkish Taffy into wafers
- the wafers and the blood on the ground
were consecrated in the
Sacrament of Holy Communion

You calmed your men
who were trapped
in an eight grenade daisy chain booby trap
- they all survived that day

You played a game with your men
- dispatching pages of
James Mitchner�s book "Hawaii"
to Pvt Strande for instructions
- Strande would receive the page
then send back appropriate quotations
from his Bible

When Tom Strande
was killed you tied him
to a tiger litter and helped
carry him up a steep hill

When a Marine who
had lost the use of his arms
tried to help carry Tom Strande
with his teeth
you understood and helped him

You shared with your squad
LCpl James Leroy Brown�s
bottle of "Maynila Rum"
at our Last Supper
(Less than 24 hours after John Michel�s
death, Brown would die in a mine field)

Your life was saved by our scout dog
- the dog was cut down
you ran through machine gun fire
to retrieve the dog�s body

You were cut down by an M-79 grenade
surrounded by wounded Marines
the Marines all badly cut up and in pain
cried out for their "Corpsman"
a Marine by your side cried out in horror
"This is our Corpsman!"
there was silence
all cries and all physical pain ceased

You were tightly wrapped by a friend
in a rubber poncho - he fanned you
and stayed by your side
"Do you hear them Doc? I can hear them!
They�re coming for you, Doc, it won�t be long"
You heard my voice and you smiled.

A tribute to Corpsman John Michels
by his friend PFC Robert Greer
3rd Platoon, Lima Company,
3rd Battalion, 26th Marines
Vietnam 1968
Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009