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Born on Apr. 5, 1948
Casualty was on May 28, 1969

Panel 23W - - Line 10

Chris Pyle and his wife, Lola  
Picture courtesy of his brother, John Pyle

"Doc" Chris Pyle served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Mike Company. His name stands proud on the Mike 3/5 Wall of Honor alongside the Marines he cared for and died with. Paul O'Connell's recollection of what happened is posted in the Combat Histories section 27 May 69.

"Although I was not with Doc Pyle when he was killed, I remember sitting on the edge of my fighting hole when I heard of his death...... So long, yet it seems like yesterday.~Paul O'Connell, Mike 3/5

May '69 

Mike Company hit a heavily booby-trapped area. The call went out for 'Corpsman Up!' and Doc Pyle started running toward the wounded, several other Marines began hitting booby-traps. According to many eye witnesses, someone tripped a booby-trap that released a grenade from a tree, and dropped it down toward the wounded. 

Doc Pyle never missed a beat, he caught the falling grenade, stuffed it into his flak jacket, and dove into a ditch. His action prevented the explosion from harming anyone of the many wounded, or the Marines assisting them. Doc paid for his heroic action with his life.

I knew Doc well, he was a kind, compassionate man, who loved the Marines under his care. I never heard him speak ill of anyone, and he never treated any of us as inferiors. By absorbing the blast with his own body, he protected "his" Marines one last time. I was later told Doc was awarded the Navy Cross, (our nation's 2nd highest award for heroism), and his act of bravery was related to future graduates of Fleet Corpsman School. He should have received the Medal of Honor, he has all of our prayers. 

Every Marine who ever served with Doc Pyle will never forget him. That action cost Mike Company 10 or 11 killed and wounded, the enemy never had to fire a shot. Mines and booby-traps were the deadliest enemy we had, besides disease.~Grady Rainbow

Shipmate, Corpsman

I was stationed with Pyle in Vietnam and stateside

Chris and I went through Fleet Marine Combat Corpsman school together, and then were stationed together at 3/8 at Camp LeJeune. We went on a med cruise together, and then we got orders to Vietnam together, but were with separate companies. I think about Chris often and miss him. I'm so sorry.

Joseph Hoffer

The Ideas Of A Corpsman
By HM2 Chris Monroe Pyle, USN, fatally wounded in action in Vietnam 28 May 1969

    Many people have died to save another. The Navy Corpsman has had more honors bestowed upon him than any other group. My life has but one meaning, to save or help someone. Soon I will be going over to Vietnam. I have my fears and beliefs, but they lay hidden under my emotions. That's why God has made me so.

    Someday I will see before me a wounded Marine. I will think of all kinds of things, but my training has prepared me just for this moment. I really doubt if I will be a hero, but to that Marine, I will be God. I am hoping that no one will die while I'm helping him; if so, some of myself will die with him. 

    Love for fellow man is great in my book. It's true they make me mad at times, but no matter who it is, if he's wounded in the middle of a rice paddy, you can bet your bottom dollar that whatever God gave me for power, I will try until my life is taken to help save him, and any other.

(The above article appeared in "U.S. NAVY Medicine" June of 1971 along with the following information:)

    Chris Monroe Pyle was born in Lyons, Kansas on 5 April 1948, the son of Mary and Oscar Pyle. Following graduation from high school, Chris enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 1 September 1966. He completed recruit training and proceeded to Hospital Corpsman "A" School, Naval Hospital, San Diego, Calif. Achieving a scholastic standard in the highest quadrant of his class, HA Pyle was rated high in motivation and capabilities, and was recommended for further training; he expresses interest in a course of instruction in X-ray technique.

    Following graduation from Hospital Corps School in April 1967, Chris was assigned to the staff at Naval Hospital Oakland, Calif., where he served as ward corpsman until November 1967. He volunteered for arduous sea duty. HM3 Pyle completed Field Medical Service Technician Training in February 1968 at Camp Lejeune, N. C., and subsequently served with the Second Marine Division. In January 1969, HM2 Pyle received orders to Vietnam, and reported for duty with the First Marine Division in March 1969. While on a search and clear mission during operations approximately five miles northeast of An Hoa in Quang Nam Province, RVN, he sustained multiple wounds resulting from an enemy surprise firing device. Hospital Corpsman Second Class Chris Pyle was killed in action 28 May 1969. He is survived by his parents and widow, Lola.

    Just after he had written a letter to his parents in January 1969, Chris received his orders to Vietnam. He quickly appended to the letter his personal thoughts concerning the task that lay before him. We know you will be moved by them, as we were. There can be no more eloquent tribute to the gallant men, like Chris, who proudly served their country as Navy Hospital Corpsmen, than this honest expression of purpose. We are indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Oscar M. Pyle of Anchorage, Alaska, for permission to share their son's intimate thoughts with our readers. We also wish to thank RADM H. D. Warden, MC, USN, Commanding Officer Naval Hospital, San Diego, Calif., for directing our attention to the exceptional words which follow (The Ideas of a Corpsman).

(FMF Corpsman Memorial graphic and background by Redeye)