Makomed's Weblog

IN MEMORIAM Petty Officer Second Class(Fleet Marine Force) Cesar O. Baez.

Posted on: May 25, 2009

When I first reported to duty at Camp Pendleton they warned me that you were a former Marine and wouldn’t put up with any excuses from a Sailor like me. Whether or not I was a Hospital Corpsman, like you.

After finishing your first assignment, I was so exhausted I slunk back into my barracks room without telling anyone and slept for 30 glorious minutes. When you found out that I had neglected to report back to you immediately, you chewed me out so badly none of my peers would even sit with me. You made me work to earn back my respect.

That proved difficult since your skills as a medic rivaled the high-ranking officers who had formal training and medical degrees. I cursed you when you weren’t around and I stared holes on the back of your neck. I vowed to surpass you. You never knew it, but I took your keys, snuck into the clinic at night and studied your medical notes to absorb your writing style: it was flawless, succinct, poignant and relevant to the diagnosis (which was always correct). Even your handwriting and syntax were evenly spaced and formatted to perfection. I hated and admired you at the same time.

All the mixed emotions came rushing back to me after I learned that you were shot point blank in the head. Was it inappropriate of me to briefly admire that even your death was indicative of you: flawless, succinct, and poignant?

Now, years later, I have been accepted to the University of California San Diego and will go on to medical school. You will never know the impact you had on my work ethic and love of medicine. You never sought to be my mentor and I never asked to be your student. But here we are.

When I don my white coat for the first time, I promise I will feel the pangs of regret for not reporting to you immediately to say, “thank you.”

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