Dr. Donavon E. Hampton II

Petty Officer 1st Class, Corpsman, Mariannas, Iwo Jima, WWII & 7th Marines, 1st Marine Div., China & unknown LST, Cold War, Company E, 2nd Bn, 5th Marines, 1st Prov. Marine Bgde, 1st Marine Division, Korea, USN

   Don was born in Ottawa, Illinois on May 6th, 1927. He attended Grade School and High School in Minnesota. After his enlistment in the Navy in July 1942, being age 15 at the time, he attended Boot Camp and then to Hospital Marine Corps School in San Diego. Don volunteered to serve with the Marines as a Corpsman and was sent to Field Medical School at Camp Pendleton, California. During World War II, he participated in campaigns in the Marianna’s and was wounded on Iwo Jima, where he obtained a Japanese Officer’s Samurai Sword killed by the Marine he was patching up from wounds. The Marine did not make it so Don brought the Sword home. For years he attempted to locate the Family in Japan of the killed Officer and return it to them, however no Family was left to be found. After spending five months in the Naval Hospital, his wounds were healed and he was assigned to the 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in North China.

   On the Island of Okinawa, his true age was discovered. They informed him he would have to be discharged, he was. However now 18 he could re-enlist, and then he was sworn in once more into the United States Navy as a Corpsman for the Marine Corps. He returned to the United States in 1946 and served on an L.S.T. until his discharge from the Navy in September 1947. He then joined the Reserve 105 Artillery unit at Portland, Oregon. Don studied medicine at Portland State University and the College of Southern Utah. In August of 1950, Don was recalled to active duty with his reserve unit for the Korean War. After administrating his final shots to the Reserve Marines at Swan Island, he was flown to Korea and joined Easy Co. 2nd Battalion 5th Marines of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade at Pusan Perimeter just as it was to engage the North Koreans at the battle of the Naktong River. While in Korea he also served in the battles of Inchon, Seoul, Chosin Reservoir and the 1951 spring and Summer Campaigns.

Doc Hampton

Chosin Reservoir, 1950

   Don Hampton was known as Doc Hampton to the Marines he served alongside. Like all Navy Corpsman, his job in combat was on the front line tending to the wounded. One of these became a life long friend during a battle in the Chosin Reservoir on December 2, 1950. This friend was Bob Highland, who tells the story thusly,

   "During the breakout from the Chosin Reservoir, on December 2nd, 1950 a 120 mm Chinese Mortar that was firing down on our column. Two of Easy Company's fire teams were sent up to knock it out. We went up the ridge, and located the 120mm Mortar and destroyed it. By the time we took it out of action, however, all of us were hit. The Marine Corps prides itself on never leaving their own behind. Our Navy Corpsman, Doc Hampton, and a fire team came up to see what was left when the firing stopped. I was wounded. Don knew if he cleaned off the frozen blood on me that I would bleed to death, so he gave me a shot for the pain. Of the six who went up only two of us came back and we both were wounded. I made it home. The other Marine died on the way out.

   When we arrived in Hagaru-ri, Don tagged me with instructions not to remove the frozen blood until there was blood available for me. Later, in the Hospital in Japan, they informed me the morphine kept me from dying of shock and the cold kept me from bleeding to death. Don saved my tail in Korea at the Chosin Reservoir. Incidents like that are why we Marines look upon our Corpsmen as Marines."

   Don himself was wounded in May of 1951 and again in the summer of 1951. Don was a patient in the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was discharged from the Navy again in October 1951 and returned to his Reserve Unit in Portland, Oregon.

   Don returned to college and earned his Doctorate in Medicine at the University of Utah. He set up practice in Fairbanks, Alaska where he stayed for 24 years. Don met and married Maxine in November 1963 and they have one Son, Donavon III . After retiring in 1984 they moved to Eagle Creek, Oregon where he spent his time operating his Christmas Tree Farm.

   Don’s Decorations include the following: Bronze Star (V), Navy Commendation (V), 3 Purple Hearts, Combat Action, 4 Presidential Unit Citations, Navy Unit Citation, Asiatic Pacific Medal with 3 Stars, Korean Service Medal with 6 Battle Stars, United Nations Medal and 3 Korean Presidential Unit Citations.

   Doc Hampton passed away on November 17th, 1993. At his side were his wife, family, and fellow Marine, Bob Highland.

   Donavon Hampton’s Officer's Sword from the Battle of Iwo Jima, his Medal Display Case with Photo and other pictures, documents, and items from the Korean War were donated to the Navy Museum, Washington DC.

----- M. Hampton

   Mrs. Hampton may be reached through chosine25@aol.com

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