View Full Version : Forward Deployed Preventive Medicine Unit saves lives behind scenes
05-15-05, 05:54 AM
Forward Deployed Preventive Medicine Unit saves lives behind scenes
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 2005511111433
Story by Sgt. Juan Vara
AL ASAD, Iraq (May 11, 2005) -- The sailors in the forward deployed Preventive Medicine unit here aren’t the typical medical team found in a combat environment. While most people hear about Navy corpsmen and how they take care of the wounded and other patients, these sailors are here to prevent service members in Iraq from becoming patients.
A multidisciplinary public health team, this unit specializes on microbiology, environmental health, entomology, preventive medicine and occupational health.
Utilizing the air mobility provided by the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), members of this specialized team travel to forward operating bases in the country to evaluate living conditions, collect soil, air and water samples to perform risk assessments; they evaluate environmental conditions that could present a problem to service members in Iraq.
They’re also responsible for pest and disease control, identifying and disposing of whatever hazardous materials may be found aboard a military installation (working closely with the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office), and helping with operational risk assessments in case of a nuclear, biological, chemical attack.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Doug Putthoff, industrial hygienist and assistant officer-in-charge, from Belton, Miss., “We are trying to prevent illnesses and we’re documenting a lot of the information here so that maybe 10 years from now we can help provide answers.”
Lt. Steve Lizewski, microbiologist, said the unit has the best laboratory in Iraq set up to find sources of disease outbreaks. Lizewski, a native of Reading, Pa., said they are mostly finding diarrheal diseases, which he said are a major problem during deployments.
Another problem is service members playing with the snakes, scorpions and other critters in the region. Lt. Jennifer Remmers, an entomologist from Burlington, Iowa, educates as many people as possible on some of the diseases bugs and animals can spread and teaches ways for those in Iraq to keep themselves from being infected.
“Anything with two or more legs I deal with,” she said.
According to Remmers, civilians who provide a broad range of services to the military in Iraq, are responsible for eliminating pests in Al Asad. Remmers assists the contractors and fills in the gaps on whatever they can’t do.
“Also, being in the military, I have a better chance to reach the people here and educate them,” said Remmers.
The unit is originally based at Naval Air Station, San Diego, and though they might not be the ones in the battlefield helping out the wounded warfighters, their hard work behind the scenes is helping service members here stay healthy and ready to fight.
- For more information about the sailors reported on in this story, please contact Sgt. Juan Vara by e-mail at email@example.com -
AL ASAD, Iraq – The infamous ‘Camel Spider’ is one of the specimens Lt. Jennifer Remmers, an entomologist from Burlington, Iowa, assigned to the Forward Deployed Preventive Medicine Unit here, educates Al Asad residents on staying away from. According to Remmers, one problem during deployments to Iraq is service members playing with the snakes, scorpions and other critters in the region. Photo by: Sgt. Juan Vara
05-20-05, 02:09 AM
Sailor provides bandages and bullets
Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 200551914035
Story by Lance Cpl. Antonio Rosas
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (May 19, 2005) -- As a Navy corpsman, providing Marines with battlefield medicine and providing fields of fire are what dreams are made of for Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Phillip N. Alexanian, 1st Marine Division Surgeon's Office of Education and Training.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 28-year-old from Whittier, Calif., was called upon time and time again to not only carry out his duties as a corpsman, but also provide fire with an M40A3 sniper rifle in place of a wounded assistant team leader who was shot in the hand.
"After being shot at by insurgents and showered with mortars every day, it's pretty easy to pick up a weapon and really want to use it," Alexanian said.
The sailor's eyes widened as he described the feeling of having to take care of Marines with more than bandages and medication.
"I love being a corpsman, but the best medicine you can give a Marine is being his rifleman," Alexanian said.
Although corpsmen are trained in weapons handling, their combat duties are primarily reserved for treating the wounded, he explained.
"It's good to know what you're doing." A corpsman may be put into position where he has to fire his weapon, he added.
Platoon commanders are often against attaching their corpsmen to the four-man teams which exterminate the enemy forces, since they are generally occupied in the rear with treating casualties, said Sgt. John Ethan Place, scout sniper, sniper platoon, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.
Since Alexanian had prior combat experience, he was allowed by his platoon sergeant to attach temporarily to the team of snipers.
The first time the sailor was called upon to reinforce the team with some serious firepower was in early April 2004.
The Jolan District in Fallujah was the location where Alexanian's team nestled themselves.
It was also the site of some of the bloodiest encounters with insurgents. In the month of April alone, the platoon was responsible for more than 45 confirmed kills, according to Place.
One encounter with the enemy revealed a barrage of fire from insurgents who attacked with everything from rifle fire to cars laden with explosives, Alexanian said. "The platoon was holed up in two separate houses and we were holding our ground."
"They (insurgents) were relentless in their efforts to not give up a weapons cache," Place said.
"In one, two hour increment, they shot around 20 to 25 rocket-propelled grenades our way."
Place described Alexanian as the most active corpsman he ever met due to the sailor's tenacity in returning to the front lines with the Marines after treating mass casualties.
"Everyday he was doing something to keep himself busy. He was always volunteering to help someone or take on a new responsibility," Place said.
Alexanian credited his performance to the thorough weapons training he received from Marines during his deployment in Iraq.
"The Marines want to have confidence in you, and if you're a corpsman and you know how to handle a weapon, it boosts the morale within the unit," Alexanian said. "It gives them confidence and they trust you to be there for them when rounds are flying everywhere."
The sailor remained modest when discussing the details of his encounters in combat and was simply proud to serve among the nations finest.
"I was just doing my job taking care of my Marines," Alexanian said.
E-mail Lance Cpl. Rosas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
05-20-05, 09:48 AM
THATS WHAT YOU CALL A TRUE DOC. ALONG WITH THE REST OF THEM THAT HELP OUT ON EVERYTHING ASKED OF THEM. I STILL REMEMBER THEM GOING SIDE BY SIDE YRS. BACK WITH NO WEAPON, ONLY THE WEAPON OF HEELING. GOD BLESS OUR CORPMAN AND ALL THEM PEOPLE.
06-09-05, 07:31 AM
3/4 Doc takes on added responsibility
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20056952047
Story by Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.
CAMP MERCURY, Iraq (June 09, 2005) -- In a combat environment where troops must readjust to fill the gaps left by injured brothers-in-arms, Marines and corpsmen are called upon to carry out additional duties to keep the unit running.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason E. Brock, a 29-year-old corpsman with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-8, is no exception.
Brock, a native of Jonesborough, Ga., is the battalion patient tracker, sick call supervisor and administration chief for the battalion aid station aboard Camp Mercury.
“I’m in the BAS every day, all day,” said Brock, a graduate of Lovejoy High School.
As the patient tracker, it is Brock’s responsibility for following the progress of every casualty within the battalion, including interpreters and Iraqi soldiers under their command. From the moment of injury, to the arrival of the patient back to the battalion or United States, Brock follows them every step of the way.
“His duties as patient tracker are very important,” said Chief Petty Officer Maurice Wilson, 43-year-old senior medical department representative. “The battalion wants follow ups on every patient, and we have to be able to spit out the information.”
Brock also fills the duties of sick call supervisor, another duty requiring a constant presence in the BAS. If a Marine comes in to be seen for an injury or ailment, Brock guides younger corpsmen through minor procedures, medicines and basic sick call care.
“His prior experience as a line corpsman gives him a good knowledge of sick call procedures,” said Wilson, a native of Wilmington, N.C.
Brock also serves as the administration chief for the BAS, making him a part of everything that goes on in the station, according to Wilson.
Although laden with the responsibilities of multiple corpsmen, Brock has performed admirably and retains the confidence of the BAS staff.
“All of these positions are filled by separate people in the states,” Wilson said. “But we’re able to roll them into one because of Brock’s veteran experience and Fleet Marine Force knowledge.”
According to Brock, he enjoys his position within the battalion and welcomes the added responsibility. He volunteered to deploy with the battalion back in January and has not looked back since.
“It’s stressful, but I don’t regret it at all,” Brock said, “I’ll take orders to a Marine battalion over hospital orders any day of the week.”
07-07-05, 06:28 PM
'Docs' back at 'med school' after residency in Iraq
Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 200577161356
Story by Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (July 7, 2005) -- Fortunately, most enemy-launched rocket propelled grenades in Iraq miss their mark. But Navy Lt. George J. Brand II knows better than most that occasionally insurgents strike a blow.
Brand also knows the damage those erratic but lethal weapons can do. In his case, a strike on the humvee he was riding in killed one Marine and left another with two badly damaged arms that were later amputated.
Brand, 28, said quicker medical attention might have lowered the toll. So he's doing his part to make sure 1st Medical Battalion's corpsmen have even better training next time they deploy.
That was the idea behind medical augmen-tation training here June 19-24. The training put OIF veteran corpsmen to work, training those who haven't yet been to Iraq.
Seven-ton trucks full of corpsmen climbed up Pend-leton's steep hills to get to the training site, kicking up dust clouds as they grinded their way up dry dirt roads.
Roughly 200 sailors, augmentees, Marines and permanent personnel set up camp at 4:30 a.m., June 19, on the sandy surfaces of Red Beach and Victor training areas. Most of the tents spread across the landscape contained nothing but medical supplies and Meals-Ready-to-Eat.
The exercise included not only Med. Bn. corpsmen, but augmentees from naval hospitals throughout San Diego, along with motor transport specialists, radio operators and electricians.
"When we deploy with the unit, we don't have enough corpsmen, so we take other corpsmen from other areas to (provide) the unit with a sufficient amount of corpsmen," explained Petty Officer 1st Class Michael A. Vanhorn, leading petty officer for Med. Bn.'s administration shop.
The exercise was realistic enough to include helicopter support for training in "en route" care. The training allows corpsmen to get comfortable administering medicine while zipping through the air. It's all about stopgap, life-preserving care while casualties are whisked away for higher-end treatment, Brand said.
"It helps stabilize the patient so when they get to real hospital, they're ready for proper medical care," Brand said.
Corpsmen tended to role-playing servicemembers as the CH-46 helicopters made beelines between the two training areas. Looking like zombies out of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" -- complete with artificial wounds and tattered cammies -- the actors moaned, groaned and hyperventilated while corpsmen feverishly worked.
It's all designed so the corpsmen "will know what it'll be like when they deploy," said Vanhorn, who has deployed twice to Iraq.
Corpsmen also took turns with the "phrase-a-lator" -- computer software that translates a patient's foreign language to English when he or she speaks into a microphone.
The mock wounded helped corpsmen put the prototype software to the test.
"They are speaking different languages such as Arabic and Farsi to test the language software out," Brand explained.
When on the ground, corpsmen and patients reconvened in operating room tents. Techniques covered included stabilizing broken bones by screwing rods into a bone model.
The training came to a close June 24. The corpsmen boarded their vehicles and returned to their units.
It was merely a fitting coincidence the training landed around the same time as the Hospital Corps' 107th birthday, Brand said.
"It restates the proud tradition and dedicated service that corpsmen have serving with the Marine Corps," he said about ceremonies marking the birthday around base. Those events also prompt corpsmen to remember "our friends that have died."
07-28-05, 09:04 AM
Brooklyn born Corpsman one of division’s finest
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20057288470
Story by Sgt. Stephen D'Alessio
CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq (July 28, 2005) -- Corpsmen have all of the guts and little of the glory as the Marines make headlines across the country from successful operations against the insurgency. But one Corpsman with the 2nd Marine Division has already had his 15 minutes of fame.
Once a member of the All-Marine Volleyball team, Petty Officer 1st Class Phil Misciagno, leading petty officer for the division surgeon’s office here, has had his share of fame in the past 12 and a half years. This leading petty officer is leading the good life as he continues to support the Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His section is the administration hub for all medical activity within the division. He is in charge of all manning, operations, plans and logistics of medical personnel and equipment related to division units. It’s a big job for one guy, but it’s nothing he hasn’t been up against already.
Misciagno, a 31-year-old who hails from Long Island, N.Y., said some of the best times in his life were also some of the worst when he was on the team from 1998 to 2001.
“Whoever said volleyball isn’t a contact sport hasn’t played,” he said. “When that ball makes contact with you, or the ground in some cases, it could be bad. Being on the volleyball team was a good time in my life, but it hurt,” he said. “I had my right shoulder reconstructed, spent six months in rehab and I also had my knees worked on.”
Misciagno had to fight the Navy when they put him put him through a medical review board and try to discharge him for permanent injuries. Several years later, he’s wearing his gold rank insignias, which signify a good service record, and he’s serving here with the Marines in one of the most dangerous places in Iraq.
“I’ve been greenside (with the Marines) for about 10 years now,” said Misciagno. “I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of guy and I make the best of any situation, so it doesn’t affect me that much to be here. I do miss my family, though.”
Misciagno has two daughters ages one and eleven and a son age eight. Just recently his youngest won the Miss SunTrust Beauty Queen of North Carolina pageant. Now she’s on her way to an international beauty pageant in August.
“My daughter Angelina is just like her mother; she likes to sleep in, she likes to showboat and most of all, she’s beautiful,” said Misciagno.
Sundays, Misciagno likes to get on his computer that has a video camera mounted onto it and talk to his daughter and the rest of his family.
“I think when she sees me come home, she’ll freak out because every time she sees me now I’m one dimensional,” he said. “She just recently called me Da Da. She’s never said that before.”
When he was a kid, Misciagno’s parents moved him from New York to Citrus Hills Fla. It wasn’t the free-for-all type of atmosphere he was used to and he needed an escape quickly. That’s when he enlisted in the Navy.
“Citrus Hills was the land of the old people,” said Misciagno. “I went from everything to nothing. It was a culture shock, so I decided to join after one year of college.”
Thirteen years later, Misciagno finally finished the bachelor’s degree he stared before he joined. During the last four years with the division, he found time to take classes after work to earn a bachelor’s in business administration from Mt. Olive College.
“Just because I have a degree doesn’t mean I’m going for an officer’s commission,” he said. “I did it for my mother. None of my brothers have degrees and I think it made her happy to see one of us do it.”
Misciagno’s success in the Navy is most likely his attitude toward life. He believes that to make the best out of anything in life is to learn from mistakes and turn them into positive experiences.
“That – and taking care of my sailors is the most important thing out here,” he added. “I love the camaraderie and the family aspect of the Navy. We are, whether we believe it or not, a family. And that’s why this we’re a success.”
07-29-05, 07:31 AM
Marines - Devil Doc's top priority
Story by Lance Cpl. Cristin K. Bartter
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI - Japan (July 29, 2005) -- Born in Kim Hae Khun, South Korea, Jong Myung lived on the streets with his mother. His father left when he was an infant. One day his mother explained to her young six-year-old boy they were going someplace to visit. The next couple of events changed his life forever.
All he remembers is playing with a bunch of children and looking up to find his mother; she was gone. With the intentions of giving her baby boy all he deserves, she left him at an orphanage. Six months later, the boy, now seven years old, was adopted by the Lambert family.
"I had no idea where I was going and no clue that there was such a place called the United States of America," said Chief Petty Officer Anthony Lambert (Myung), Combat Service Support Detachment 36 corpsman. "My world, at that time, was Korea and that was it."
Lambert's adopted parents, both teachers, were the foundation for his adaptation to the American culture. At first communication was performed with hand movements but after six months, he could speak fluent English.
"It throws many people off when they speak to me on the phone. They assume I am not Korean or even Asian because of my last name and I don't have an accent," he explained with a chuckle.
Growing up with his adoptive parents was difficult at first because of the differences in their cultures and environment.
"I was used to surviving in the streets where I had to lie, cheat and steal to get by," recollected Lambert. "Suddenly, I'm in middle-class America where you don't have to do that. But, my parents stuck by my side the whole time. With every promotion and award I have received I always share them with my parents to show them how their son turned out. I am a product of their care, love and support."
Lambert flourished in high school. He received a scholarship to Western State College in Colorado for his skills in cross-country skiing.
"I know it's hard to believe, but I was ranked 7th my sophomore year, 5th my junior year and 2nd my senior year," said the humble, husky sailor. "But, I knew I wasn't ready for college yet."
With the world at his footsteps, Lambert had a decision to make that would determine the rest of his life. Upon his decision, he recalls the stories his grandfather, a machinist mate, shared with him about his service during World War II. It was then he realized the Navy was his calling.
"I wanted to test myself," said Lambert. "I figured I have served myself for the past 17 years, now I want to serve others. Not being born an American, I had to earn the right to become a U.S. citizen. This was an opportunity for me to give back to America for what it has given me - Freedom. The opportunity to succeed at anything I pursued."
After going through boot camp and Seaman Apprentice School, Lambert reported aboard the USS Pharris FF-1094 and deployed to the Persian Gulf to protect the seas during Desert Storm. Following his sea tour Lambert attended Hospital Corps School where he graduated with honors, was promoted to Petty Officer 3rd Class and moved on to Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
"I was taught medical techniques, clinical skills, how to wear the Marine Corps uniform, Marine Corps weapons and how do deal with Marines," said Lambert. "Whatever the Marines had to do we were taught to do. We had to be an asset to the team, not a liability."
Lambert made it his mentality to be just that, which is why he was attached to 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines Scout Sniper Platoon.
"The Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon are the eyes and ears of the battalion, giving a picture of the battlefield and the situation to the battalion commander," explained Lambert. "My primary role was to take care of all the medical needs of my platoon and my secondary role was a spotter and assistant team leader."
"Those guys really helped me become what I am today, not just as a corpsman but as a leader teaching sailors and Marines as well," explained Lambert.
His leadership nature and fashion for teaching is shown though the CSSD-36's Combat Life Savor's Course. Marines are taught first aid training, which includes how to stick an I.V., apply advanced medical aid to individuals with various wounds, and understanding what causes specific injuries so Marines can provide medical attention with the gear they have on.
"My job is to train Marines in basic first aid skills for their survival," said Lambert. "In case I go down, I have to make sure the Marines know how to take care of me too."
As a mentor for Marines, Lambert has developed a special bond with them. He doesn't see himself in the Navy and them in the Marine Corps. He is their doc. He protects them while they protect him.
"Being here in the Marines is something special. You're the doc," said Lambert. "Just being called the doc by Marines, that's probably the best feeling you can have. It's better than any award. It shows how much Marines trust you with their lives in your hands."
Lambert's hard work and devotion to the Marine Corps is hard to overlook. He sheds a positive light and inspires all whom cross his path.
"The best thing about Chief Lambert is not only his character, but his motivation. He is probably the strongest asset to CSSD-36 I have seen since I have been with the unit," said Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Smith, CSSD-36 detachment gunnery sergeant. "He is wise beyond his years."
The modest Chief, whose career is to help others, never forgets who has helped him reach the level he has attained.
"I would not be where I am today without the support of great leaders and the guidance from both junior and senior personnel, and also the love and support I get from my wife Lorie and daughter Kobi," said Lambert.
07-29-05, 07:41 AM
San Diego Corpsman in Iraq, at home with Marines
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005728234810
Story by Cpl. Tom Sloan
CAMP HURRICANE POINT, AR RAMADI, Iraq (July 25, 2005) -- Benjamyn Savard’s job often involves dodging enemy small arms fire and roadside bombs as he cruises around the city here for hours in a humvee. Wielding an M-16 A4 service rifle and toting a heavy pack full of gear while trekking through the streets on long missions with his Marine comrades is also part of his job description.
Though dangerous and physically and mentally challenging, Petty Officer 2nd Class Savard enjoys being a corpsman. It’s been his profession for more than a decade.
“I enjoy working with the Marines because I really feel like I’m part of the team,” said the 29-year-old from San Diego.
Savard is the senior line corpsman for Company W, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. The infantry battalion is in Al Anbar’s capital conducting security and stabilization operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I’m with them on patrols doing the same thing most of the time until medical attention is needed,” he added.
Savard enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Cosby High School in 1994. He was 17-years-old when he raised his right hand and swore to support and defend.
“I wanted to see the world and be the first in my family to join the military and take a different path,” Savard, who has four brothers, said.
He has traveled to Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines during his 11-year-career in the Navy and he has operated alongside Marines as a corpsman for the past seven years. This is his send second time in as many years supporting OIF.
“I’ve been to all those places and my brothers haven’t really ever left home,” he said, grinning.
The OIF veteran also recently earned his Fleet Marine Force pin, which symbolizes his knowledge of Navy and Marine Corps history, customs and courtesies and Marine Corps and amphibious operations. Savard was awarded the pin by Company W’s commander, Capt. Michael J. Butler, during a ceremony here July 24.
“This is a job well done,” said Butler to the more than 50 Marines and Sailors who attended Savard’s ceremony. “He put forth a lot of hard work to earn this pin.”
Savard managed his time wisely by using every spare moment he had to study so he could pass the test.
“I studied for 45 days straight,” he said. “I’d spend an hour studying here and there between patrols, and all the hard work paid off.”
This type of self-discipline is routine for Savard. He’s the kind of person who sets his mind on something and does it. Two months after returning stateside to San Diego from the fighting in Fallujah, he volunteered to return to Iraqi with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
The decision didn’t set well with his wife, Jennifer, but Savard said “it was something I had to do. She wasn’t much for me coming back here, but I belong out here with the Marines. They need me.”
Savard said he has rushed to aid wounded Marines countless times on the urban battlefield.
“‘Corpsman up’ is the famous saying and I enjoy what I do,” he said. “I like the medical field and helping heal people.”
Chief Petty Officer Rodney J. Lewis, the senior medical department representative for 1st Battalion, 5th Marines’ Battalion Aid Station, agrees that Savard is in the right place.
“He belongs out here,” said Lewis. “He’s right at home with the Marines; always on missions and working hard.”
Savard plans to make a full 20-year-career out of the Navy.
“I’ve already passed the halfway mark,” he said. “I can make it to 20.”
Savard will be attending Independent Duty Corpsman School in San Diego in April, but is more excited about what awaits him when he returns home.
“I can’t wait to get back and be with my wife and daughter, Skylar,” he said, smiling. “That’s my motivation.”
08-12-05, 09:07 AM
Ninjas at dawn, docs by day: Mass. Marine trains next generation of warrior-corpsmen
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200586235957
Story by Cpl. Mike Escobar
CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq (Aug. 7, 2005) -- The scuffling of booted feet on a rocky dirt field and the echoes of “move, block, strike, strike” broke the stillness of an otherwise silent morning aboard 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment’s camp as a group of figures practiced choking, punching and kicking one another down.
This was part of the training one Sterling, Mass., native believes will greatly benefit these Sailors. First Lt. Dana Sanford is responsible for instructing his battalion’s medical aid station personnel and chaplain in the form of hand-to-hand combat, known as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
“I really enjoy teaching MCMAP, especially because a lot of these guys are into it and really want to learn,” explained the 24-year-old green belt instructor, who also serves as his battalion’s motor transport section’s assistant officer-in-charge. “I’m teaching these Navy personnel the tan belt portion of the program, which is an introduction to all of the basic moves.”
The Corps began implementing the MCMAP training system, which draws from several established martial arts styles, in October 2000. There are five levels of ascending martial arts proficiency a practitioner can attain, signified by different belt colors: tan, gray, green, brown and six degrees of black. At the green belt level, Marines like Sanford may train to earn a tan stripe on their belts, denoting them as an instructor.
“Since the wars broke out, (MCMAP training) has unfortunately taken a back seat to a lot of other training,” explained Sanford, who first learned about coaching while teaching at Jeff Clark’s Hockey Concepts private hockey camp during his high school years at Wachusett Regional. “For the relatively few people who are able to instruct, like me, it’s good to keep the program active.”
While his unit conducts counter-insurgency operations in and around Fallujah, the 2003 University of Massachusetts-Amherst graduate keeps this Marine martial arts legacy alive.
“I’ve done tan and gray belt-level work with my guys at Motor ‘T’,” Sanford stated. “I also plan to do gray belt training with these guys (BAS docs) later on.”
For now, Sanford focuses his efforts on teaching naval personnel self-defense basics. Their tan belt training covers maneuvers such as punching and kicking, proper fighting stances, basic knife fighting techniques, and escape from choke holds.
“It’s an introduction to all of the categories you can learn later on at more advanced belt levels,” he added.
His unit’s corpsmen and chaplain trained for one hour every morning for two weeks to earn their tan belts.
“I set up this training for all the guys here,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Phillip Jean-Gilles, a BAS corpsman. “We have fun while we’re doing it. We even have our chief and lieutenants out there with us. It’s good to get all the enlisted men and officers together to participate in something like this.”
“It takes discipline and commitment to get up in the mornings for MCMAP, but it helps us break the monotony around here,” added Petty Officer 3rd Class Iridious Ruise, the battalion’s preventive medicine technician.
Once these Navy personnel earn their belts, Sanford plans to further train them and other Marines.
“There are lots of benefits to MCMAP,” he said. “It ties in physical disciplines, like learning these techniques, to other mental and character disciplines. You learn how to kill and seriously injure people, but also how to balance that knowledge with a professional warrior ethos. You learn how to be a warrior, not just a killer.”