5 years ago
Every Marine infantryman and parent or spouse of a Marine infantryman knows the value of a Navy Corpsman and the high esteem in which they are held by the Marines. They are technically in the Navy (while the Marines are only part of the Department of the Navy). They have had extensive medical training, and essentially serve as the doctors for the Marine infantry. But these doctors aren’t just there for medicine. They carry a rifle, they engage in combat, and they do all of the things that Marine infantrymen do. When the Marines go on twenty mile humps with full body armor, backpacks and weapons, the Corpsmen do all of that and more. The Corpsmen take all of their medical gear in addition to their other load. In many units they carry the nickname “doc.”
One such Corpsman I know returned from Iraq with my son’s unit, 2/6 Golf Company, in 2007. His last name was Prince, and he was a prince of a guy. He was very kind and friendly, well trained, in excellent physical condition, and had absolute commitment to his fellow Marines. He showed me his wound from Iraq within several days of returning. A round from an AK-47 had entered through the front part of his lower thigh, ricocheted up his thigh, and exited out of the very upper part of the back of his thigh. Entry and exit wounds (now scars) were at least a foot apart.
Corpsman Prince stayed in Iraq and did his own rehabilitation during the deployment. The hardest thing about the experience, he told me, was getting enough pairs of clothing after each successive pair became blood stained. The more interesting thing about what happened that day with Corpsman Prince was what happened to his fellow Marines. He wasn’t the only one who was wounded in that engagement. Several other Marines were also wounded, and Prince had to treat them before he could treat himself. He did so while bleeding out.
Navy Corpsmen are worth their weight in gold, and even if the Commander in Chief isn’t smart enough to know how to pronounce their billet, we have the utmost respect for them.