A couple months ago, I was contacted by Bruce Williams-Burden, a former Navy Corpsman.
Bruce was wrapping up his book “LUMINOUS BASE”, which is a magnificent story of the fifty-seven Hospital Corpsmen who died in the course of their duty over a 45-year period (1962-2007).
Bruce asked me if I wouldn’t mind giving it a read in short order and provide my feedback. I agreed to help him out.
In the book’s introduction, Bruce writes “From the perilous time of George Washington there have been American patriots, average men and women, who stood up against the enemy and put others or their country before themselves. These heroes are often forgotten with time and with each new conflict in which our country becomes embroiled. It is for both political and non-political reasons that we tend to focus on the new breed of heroes instead. This book was written to shine a light of recognition on a select group of U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen whose military role put them on or around helicopters. Of these men there were fifty-seven who died in the line of duty.”
Further summary: Since the last century, in war and in peace, in good weather and bad, the helicopter has proven itself over and over again when it has been used for military medical evacuations, for search and rescue missions, as well as for simple transportation. Among the thousands who have flown on one of these aircraft have been U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen who did so as aircrew members, as patients, or as passengers. And between 1962 and 2007 there were fifty-seven of these men who lost their lives. All of these corpsmen were killed far from their homes in places that include Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and the American Southwest. The contents of Luminous Base tells the individual story of each man, with some of these accompanied by comments from family or friends.
My feedback to Bruce after reading the book included the following:
What a fantastic job you did! As I read through the pages, I kept thinking “It can’t get any better than this”, but it did! It kept getting better and better… You really have a talent Sir! YOU NAILED IT! What you did for those Corpsmen is nothing short of heroic in itself… Semper Fi Doc!
LUMINOUS BASE is dedicated to every man and woman who has worn the caduceus of the Navy Hospital Corpsman in the past, to those who wear it now, to those who will wear it in the future, and to all of their families.
For all who have flown Medevac from Vietnam to Iraq, I recommend you add LUMINOUS BASE to your library. In addition to telling loving stories of the Corpsmen who were killed in action, Bruce’s book also reviews related history and aircraft. A must have for POPASMOKE Marines and Corpsmen as well as history buffs and all other proud American Patriots.