Marine Sergeant Gregory Edwards
     "Doc kept saying to me, 'Stay strong. Stay with me, Sgt. Ed.' He said, 'You're not going to die on me, your
      not going to die on my watch.'" - Marine Sergeant Gregory Edwards
...Before being deployed, Navy corpsmen say, they have a choice to "go blue," serving their time on a ship or stateside, or to "go green," assigned to the Marines. Christopher "Doc" Anderson volunteered to go green. Before arriving in Iraq in early September, Anderson was assigned to Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment - a group with a decorated history dating to World War I. The rookie corpsman was soon on the front with the infantry, saddled with securing some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Iraq.
Before the Marines headed to Ramadi, they had to know that the sailor from Colorado with the massive pack of medical gear was the kind of man they could trust with their lives.
Marines don't train field medics of their own; they rely on Navy hospital corpsmen, as they have for more than a century. A traditional saying holds that a Marine infantryman doesn't wonder if his corpsman will save his life - he wonders when.
"When you get a new corpsman, he has to prove himself, that he can do the same things the Marines can do," Edwards said. "When we do PT (physical training), he has to keep up. When we go on our hikes, he has to carry the same gear, plus his medical gear, which must weigh an additional 30 pounds. And he can't fall back."
A fourth-generation sailor, Doc Anderson never fell back.
 Marine Sgt. Gregory Edwards took his last step Oct. 21. After six weeks in country, Alpha Company was on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq, conducting house-to-house searches when a hidden explosive detonated. He woke up and saw the hazel eyes he recognized immediately.
The lanky 24-year-old from Longmont wore a patch with two snakes intertwined around a winged staff - the caduceus, the traditional sign of a healer, and the emblem of a Navy corpsman. He was the only one of them in the squad who was not a Marine - the most important one of them all: the one they all called Doc.
Sergeant Edwards lost both legs and almost died, but thanks to "Doc" Anderson, he lived., Rick Anderson, was killed on December 4th during a mortar attack. Sergeant Edwards went to the burial at Arlington National Cemetery to say goodbye to his friend and tell his family what he had done for him.
Wednesday morning, inside a building at Arlington National Cemetery, the Anderson family walked past the Navy officers, directly toward the man in the wheelchair. Another mother immediately intercepted Debra Anderson.
"Your son saved my son's life," Cheryl Edwards said through sobs, locking Debra in a hug. "I thank you. I thank you so much. And I'm sorry. So sorry." The women hugged, then the men did the same, thumping each other on the back. "He saved our son's life," Cheryl Edwards repeated.  Together, the families walked to Sgt. Edwards, who sat with his 3-year-old daughter, Paige, in his lap, and 5-year-old Caitlin and his wife, Christina, by his side.  "I'm so glad you're here," Debra Anderson said. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he said quietly. "I didn't give them a choice at the hospital. I told them I had to come." "Your boy kept me alive," Edwards said. "I wanted to let go, and he kept me alive." Kyle Anderson approached Edwards and during a long embrace told the Marine that he now carried part of his brother with him. Kyle told the sergeant he always would consider Edwards his brother, too. Edwards looked up at Anderson's parents. "If there's anything I can ever do for you, you let me know," he said.
"You just take care of these girls," Debra said, offering one of the largest smiles that many family members have seen since her son was killed. "We want to watch these girls grow up," she said.
From her father's lap, Paige pointed at Christopher Anderson's mother. "Who dat?" the 3-year-old said. "You'll understand one day, OK?" her grandmother said.  "Yes," the sergeant said, stroking her hair. "Daddy will tell you one day"...

 

   
 

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