The following is the third and final installment of what was originally titled A Burial at Sea: Remembrances of a Casualty Notification Officer. It was written by Lt. Colonel George Goodson, U.S.M.C. (Retired) and published in the Marine Corps Gazette in September 2007. Because of it’s length it was divided here into three parts. Part 1 was published Tuesday, part 2 yesterday.
More Notifications and Funerals
More notifications and funerals followed. My staff and I were numb. The tension was palpable. My marriage was affected; it ultimately failed. My corpsman was so alarmed that he insisted on taking blood pressure readings on everyone–twice a day. My staff and I ran 5 miles daily trying to reduce the stress.
My Last Notifcation: A Burial at Sea
One day while I was running, Sergeant Jolley stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth… I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear. I waved acknowledgement and went into the office. Jolley handed me the phone. It was another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes and said, “Got it.” I hung up. I had stopped saying “thank you” long ago. (more…)