A Corpsman’s Legacy Continues by Stephanie Hanson Caisse

A Corpsman’s Legacy Continues (CreateSpace, 200 pp., $15, paper, $3.99 Kindle) resumes the quest that began with Stephanie Hanson Caisse’s A Corpsman’s Legacy eight years ago. In the new book, Caisse expands her search for the military history of her father—Gary Norman Young—who died in action two months before her birth.

Caisse continues to keep the memory of her father alive by meeting and talking with veterans of the Vietnam War, in which he died. At the same time, she develops new friends from today’s Marine Corps helicopter squadron HMM-364—the Purple Foxes. Her father flew with that unit as a Navy corpsman.

The key to uncovering her father’s history has been Cassie’s perseverance as she has traced seemingly every lead to reveal details of her father’s military life and death. She contacted people who guided her to more people and to otherwise-forgotten paperwork. Her determination resulted in a formal presentation of her father’s medals to his family, along with his Combat Air Crew Wings. A bonus of her research has been reuniting veterans who had not seen each other for decades.

Caisse’s writing style is enthusiastic. She continually promotes Navy medical corpsmen and the Marine Corps. Her website once was “corpsmankid”; now it is “acorpsmanslegacy.com.”

Speaking of corpsmen’s innate, selfless sense of duty, she says, “My father lived that kind of life. I don’t focus on the fact that he died doing it, but that he lived to do it.”

Sharing what she has discovered, Caisse has helped next-of-kin to cope with their losses. For example, what she learned about her father included information about the six crewmen killed alongside him, and she passed that information to their family members.

The author at The Wall

In 2003, when the Purple Foxes deployed to Iraq, Caisse broadened her friendships with active-duty personnel. In 2007, during its fourth deployment, the squadron lost one of its CH-46 Sea Knights to a surface-to-air missile, and Cassie took it on herself to collect all available information for the next-of-kin. She wrote a tribute to each of the seven service members aboard the lost helicopter.

This book includes a transcript of a long speech in which Caisse tells the story of her quest for those who did not read her first book.

The author’s website is www.acorpsmanslegacy.com

—Henry Zeybel


Battlefield Angels by Scott McGaugh

From the battlefields of the American Revolution to the mountains of Afghanistan, America’s servicemen and women always have had dedicated battlefield medical personnel: medics, corpsmen, nurses, doctors, surgeons, and medical technicians. Scott McGaugh’s Battlefield Angels: Saving Lives Under Enemy Fire from Valley Forge to Afghanistan (Osprey Publishing, 272 pp., $24.95, hardcover) pays tribute to the men and women who, for generations, have fought to save the lives of American troops on battlefields across the nation and the world.

A longtime journalist, McGaugh—who is the marketing director of the USS Midway Museum—uses interviews and written first-hand accounts to present individual stories of military medical personnel from all of America’s major wars. While his main goal is to showcase their courage and honor of, McGaugh also sets out chronological accounts of the wars to demonstrate how battlefield care has evolved and greatly improved over the centuries.

Battlefield Angels features two chapters on the Vietnam War, including the story of Medical Officer Gary Kirchner’s effort to save the lives of hundreds of USS Forrestal sailors after a massive fire broke out due to the misfire of a rocket in 1967.

—Dale Sprusansky