In commenting on the selfless service of U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen, General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (Ret), the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and Korean War veteran, noted that he “saluted our Corpsmen for their courage, valor, and willingness to serve above and beyond the call of duty.”
General Gray’s moving tribute would be most fitting in recognition of the heroism displayed by Hospitalman Francis C. Hammond, USN (Deceased) on the night of 26-27 March 1953. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, the twenty-one year old Hospitalman was serving with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, when his platoon was subjected to a barrage of enemy mortar and artillery fire. Although wounded, Hospitalman Hammond continued to administer aid to his wounded Marines throughout an exhausting four-hour period. When his unit was finally ordered to withdraw, he remained in the fire-swept area and skillfully directed the evacuation of casualties, until he fell mortally wounded from enemy mortar fire. Hospitalman Hammond’s heroic efforts undoubtedly saved the lives of many of “his” Marines, and his sacrifice was honored nine months later by the presentation to his wife and infant son of a posthumous Medal of Honor.
On July 25, 1970, the USS Francis Hammond (DE/FF-1067) was commissioned in Long Beach, CA. After 22 years in service, Hammond was decommissioned in 1992 and dismantled nine years later.
Today, the Camp Margarita Medical Clinic at Camp Pendleton, California, and a school in his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, bear the name of the young Hospitalman, who in the finest tradition of the Navy Hospital Corps, gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country and Marines.