October 19, 2004

Clinic named for Korean War hero

By Gidget Fuentes
Time staff writer

Three times, Hospitalman Richard D. De Wert dodged bullets as he ran to the aid of his platoon’s men caught in a fiery firefight in Korea on April 5, 1951. The fourth time, enemy fire mortally wounded him, and he received the Medal of Honor posthumously.
A half-century later, De Wert’s sacrifice was honored again with the Oct. 1 dedication, in his name, of the Navy branch medical clinic at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif. The clinic, a branch of Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, provides care at the camp, which is tucked in the Eastern Sierras.

The staff there wanted the clinic named for a corpsman who received the Medal of Honor, said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF) Fred Kasper. The dedication to De Wert for his service in Korea befits the training center, which was developed to learn cold-weather lessons drawn from the wintry battles leathernecks fought on the Korean Peninsula.

Hanging in the clinic’s patient waiting room is a new portrait of De Wert, wearing his winter blues, painted by artist Todd Krasovetz, a Texas native whose brother, Scott, is a corpsman serving in Iraq. Krasovetz’s original military work, “Wings of Hope,” hangs at the Camp Pendleton hospital. Another Krasovetz painting, “Savior In a Storm,” hangs at the branch medical clinic at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and depicts Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael Vann Johnson Jr., who was killed in Iraq on March 25, 2003, when he was struck by shrapnel from a grenade while helping a wounded Marine.