It’s such a simple question, but there’s no way for me to give a simple answer. Without turning this into a eulogy, Larry Perry III (known to his family and childhood friends as Butch) was an amazing husband, incredible father, and loyal friend. He was a devoted Christian with a servant’s heart who made every single moment of his life count.
Before he was a husband and a father, Larry proudly served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He loved his country and was willing to give his life to save his brothers on the battlefield. A Corpsman is a seaman with specialized medical training, who sometimes serves with a unit in the Marine Corps. That was the case for Larry; he served with two different Marine Corps units during his time in the Navy. Marines refer to their corpsman as “Doc” because it’s the closest thing you’ve got to a doctor in the field when you’re injured.
When I asked one of his buddies recently how he would describe a Corpsman to someone who didn’t have a working knowledge of the military, he said, “If Doc goes down, we’re all screwed. He’s the guy that keeps us alive, knowing he is there in the back of our mind, we’ll take that bullet because he won’t let us die. No patrol goes out without a corpsman; he’s just as, if not more, important than any guy with a weapon.”
Larry had your back no matter what. He had your back when you called him Doc. He had your back when you called him Butch. He had your back whether you’d known him 15 minutes or 15 years. The job of a Corpsman, helping others, serving others, doing your best to save others, was just who he was as a person. He took pride in being called Doc and loved the camaraderie he shared with his Marines. Having their back came natural to him.
So, who was Doc Perry? He was the guy you wanted on your side. The guy who would be there for you when all hell broke loose. He’s also the inspiration for The Doc Perry Foundation, where we are keeping his spirit alive as we work to help other veterans and their families fight against the veteran suicide epidemic. Because Doc Perry was one of the #22aday, we hope that eventually someone else doesn’t have to be.