SAN DIEGO (NNS)—
Amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) honored Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Richard “Chugger” Jensen with a plaque dedication ceremony July 18.
“As a hospital corpsman he played a critical and unique role in the Navy and the Marine Corps team. In combat conditions, hospital corpsmen risk their lives to save others with little regard for their own safety,” Commanding Officer, Capt. Gregory Huffman said. “HM3 Jensen was among those brave hospital corpsman dedicated to his Marines and their mission who serve in trying conditions and made the ultimate sacrifice. It is an honor to commemorate him and his legacy today.”
Petty Officer Jensen was born in Brillion, Wisconsin in 1943. After graduating high school he enlisted in the Navy where he was assigned to Essex class-aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge. (CV 33).
Jim Jensen spoke during the ceremony about his brother’s dedication to the service.
“Chugger was almost done with his service,” Jensen said. “But he wanted to serve ashore with the Marines so he extended his time in the Navy.”
After reenlisting and receiving Corpsman training, Petty Officer Jensen embedded with the First Marine Regiment in Da Nang, Vietnam. Petty Officer Jensen and three Marines hit a mine while riding in a vehicle. Two Marines were killed instantly. Petty Officer Jensen and Cpl. Paul Rafuse were medevac’d to Clark Air Base Hospital in the Philippines.
“Thanks to a chaplain, Chugger was able to call his mother before he died, Jensen continued. “I feel very elated that we’re able to participate in this ceremony. We’re very happy that he can be a part of this Hall of Heroes.”
During the ceremony, Jensen and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Loradel Manipol unveiled the plaque commemorating Petty Officer Jensen’s service.
“I feel proud to be involved in the ceremony,” Manipol said. “I feel it has a meaning for me to serve my country as a corpsman and he gave his life serving his country as a corpsman. I really am proud to be able to honor him this way because I understand.”
After the ceremony, the attendees toured the ship and ate lunch in the wardroom while ship’s company mounted the plaque in the ship’s Hall of Heroes. Petty Officer Jensen is the ninth Wisconsinite in the Hall of Heroes and his story is displayed along with other honorees such as Pharmacist Mate 2nd Class John Bradley, Pfc. Ryan M. Jerabek, and the Barber Brothers.
“As active duty Sailors we must always remember the connection that we have to the people of America, and in the case of Green Bay, to the citizens of Wisconsin,” Huffman said.
The crew of Green Bay is currently in the Basic Phase of training in preparation for forward deployment to Sasebo, Japan early next year. Green Bay will be the first San Antonio-class LPD to be forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.