From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean:
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.
Before last Thursday, the last time the Marines of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment saw their "Brother" Cpl. Christian "CB" Brown, was in December, and they didn't know whether he was going to live or die.
At the time, Brown, 26, was on his second tour of duty when he was critically injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Dec. 13. A native of Munford, Tenn., the Marine lost his legs and suffered other devastating injuries as a result of the IED blast.
Last Thursday, Brown and other recovering Marines at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) got to see their Brothers from their outfit in one of their first stops since returning to the States from their seven-month tour in Afghanistan.
As one Brother after the other entered his room, gave him a hug and handshake, Brown described their visit as emotional. "It's good just to know they're OK," said the Marine. "You learn not to worry about yourself," he added.
"You sweat [and] bleed with these guys," Brown said. "You suffer with them. That's a bond you can't break. No one can know what it's like to be a Marine."
Other Marines from the same unit recovering at WRNMMC expressed the same.
"It's awesome. I'm glad they were able to come up," said Cpl. Brian Robbins, injured in November 2011 by an IED in Afghanistan.
"It feels great," added Lance Cpl. Kevin Honaker, who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan.
Roughly 170 Marines from the company traveled from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to visit their healing Brothers at WRNMMC last Thursday. The visit was the idea of Capt. Paul Tramblay, commander of the company.
Tramblay explained the visit was not only for the wounded warriors, but also for their Marine Brothers.
"We had two Marines not come back with us," the captain said. Sixteen of his Marines were medevaced out during their seven-month deployment. He describes the unit visits to WRNMMC as an "incredibly powerful, healing measure."
The Marines who visited WRNMMC were able to eat brunch with some of their wounded Brothers in the new outpatient lodging and dining facility, Tranquility Hall's Warrior Cafe.
They also visited the Military Advanced Training Center (MATC), where they were able to see the state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility, which offers the latest in cutting-edge equipment to help with wounded warriors in their recovery.
1st Lt. J.P. Carter said it was "phenomenal" seeing Brown and the other wounded warriors.
"It's tough [when] the last you see these guys is when they are leaving the country," Carter said, but it's great getting out here and seeing them."
"It's a privilege [to be here]," said Sgt. Robert Lamm. "We see them get on the bird [to be medevaced] and you wonder what they're going through. Obviously you care about them, so it's great we got the opportunity to come here as a group to see these guys."
Sgt. David Crask agreed.
"It's nice to come here and see your Brothers," Crask said. He added that the company's homecoming in North Carolina was tempered by the fact that some of their Brothers were not there. "So it's nice to actually come up here and get to see them and how they are doing."
Cpl. Augusduv Haas, Brown's roommate before he was injured, said the visit was "awesome. He was my roommate and I hadn't seen him since he'd been hit. It really helps to know what happened to him and how he's doing. I'm glad to see he's in good spirits."
Haas also described WRNMMC as "amazing."
"[The wounded] have everything they could need or want, which I feel like they deserve," Haas added. "They are the real heroes and should be taken care of as such."