Corps Stories

Combat Marine Outdoors: HM1 Dwayne Friday, USN

img

Special Assignment:

More Than A News Story – A Journalism Project

img

MARCH 2012

img

Pinning down HM1 Dwayne Friday was easy. He welcomes all comers. He’s a peacemaker. Fears no question, seems to fear little at all. “Doc” is very calm and has a ready smile. The definition of, “you get further with honey than with vinegar.”

Just don’t report substandard corpsman behavior to him. That lights him up.

His mission was to escort Cpl. Kalish.  Cpl. Kalish left little work this way.

So Doc lent a helping hand all weekend. Getting a picture of him facing the camera was practically impossible short of submitting an engraved request.

He packed up guns and gear into the Polaris, then into the blind, then back into the Polaris, then back to the ranch house.

He lifted heavy kills, on the ready with tools or dirty chores. Smiling and quiet – all the while having an eye on the corporal without the corporal knowing.

Observers noticed that Doc is a master of anticipating a Marine’s needs.

Having served with 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment for the bulk of his years in the Navy, he may have a Navy rate, but his blood flows Marine green.

In Fall 2006 Doc walked straight into wide-open hell.

“The Second Battle of Ramadi” raged through most of the second half of that year. In mid-September Doc’s 1/6 replaced a weary 3rd Battalion 8th Marines.

One Marine leader at the time stated in a report that the warfare was so horrendous and the enemy so entrenched that he doubted Ramadi could be taken away from the insurgency. (Marine Col. Pete Devlin Report)

Doc soon, very soon, found himself fearlessly up against those odds.

Perhaps it was that particular brand of horror that made Doc refuse to get the medical help he needed when his vehicle was hit from an improvised rocket launcher. A hit whose tip broke off just before landing squarely against Doc’s back, setting him afire and breaking his shoulders.

These days he says because it hit him, his Marines were spared. From that point of view leaving his Marines in the fight would have been unthinkable. So he immediately returned to duty.

That was October 4. Seventeen days later he was there for his Marines who fell.

Left to Right:  LCpl. Clifford Collinsworth.  LCpl. Nathan Elrod.  LCpl. Nicholas Manoukian

img
img

Doc spent the entire weekend contently focused on everyone else.

This shot was a fleeting moment this photographer was shocked to have caught. Surely it was the one time it appeared that Doc couldn’t hide missing his own young son, JD.

His blond, blue-eyed four-year-old boy is a ringer for Doc’s model-beautiful and humbly-supportive wife, Bridget.

They met at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX 11 years ago.

Bridget was a subject he wouldn’t quiet from all weekend, with even the slightest prompt.

Hunting is a complicated sport, which entails far more than the kill.

Bosworth’s knowledge and skill complimented Doc’s own south-Texas upbringing hunting a wide variety of animals.

The processing of large game in proper manner was familiar territory to both; making all the pleasant and unpleasant chores flow as time ran short on a clock that seemed in fast-motion the whole visit.

In this shot the two are inspecting a broken antler point. Every inch of antler is carefully measured and detailed in writing as part of required record-keeping as well for GKR breeding research.

img
img

CMO has received several high-tech and remarkably sturdy tractor wheelchairs, one of which came along with the corporal’s own chair.

The tractor wheelchair wasn’t necessary considering the sophisticated blind and trail arrangements at GKR.

And Cpl. Kalish’s chair may as well been left at the annex for how little he used it. While Doc kept an uninterrupted eye on Cpl. Kalish’s ability to manage walking on his prostheses, there would have been no shame whatsoever had he needed that vertical relief.

Still Cpl. Kalish’s extraordinary physical strength and mental determination left that tool in the shed.

Doc and Cpl. Kalish had a silent understanding it seemed.

No need for formal well-being checks despite the corporal’s horrific injuries; his recovery has moved at lightning pace since last April’s IED dealt him a different hand in life.

Doc would have rather stuck his own eye out than insult Cpl. Kalish’s pride by waiting on him or even giving the slightest appearance of such.

In fact they actually spent little time in direct dialogue.

The corporal had a mission; to heal.

The corpsman had a mission; to let the corporal heal.

Mission accomplished.

img