View Full Version : Corpsman risks life, saves lives of two Marines

01-09-06, 08:42 AM
Corpsman risks life, saves lives of two Marines <br />
2nd Marine Division <br />
Story by Sgt. Stephen M. DeBoard <br />
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CAMP AL ASAD, Iraq (Jan. 9, 2006) -- Retired Marine Maj. Gene Duncan once defined Navy...

01-11-06, 07:26 AM
RCT-2 corpsmen learn, work, play during ongoing operations
2nd Marine Division
Story by Cpl. Ken Melton

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq (Dec. 19, 2005) -- From head colds to large wounds, ankle sprains to broken bones, mole removal to removal of shrapnel, the Naval corpsmen with Regimental Combat Team 2 have seen it all and always possess the medicine for what ails their Marines.

Since deploying in February, the corpsmen have supported all of the operations conducted by RCT-2, whether major or minor, on the frontline.

“I love my job and it can be addicting,” said Zion, Ill., native, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan A. McNabb, a hospital corpsman. “Saving lives is what we do and we do it well.”

McNabb, like many of the other corpsmen here on their second tour in Iraq, takes pride in doing every aspect of his job.

“It’s definitely a big difference from being a field corpsman and hospital corpsman,” said Seaman Hipolito V. Avitia, a field corpsman from Albuquerque, N.M. “Here you have more administrative issues and you can always learn or get help from other corpsmen.

“In the field with the grunts you are the leading expert on everything medical and the added stress of being in a dangerous environment keeps you on top of your game.”

All the corpsmen go into the field to gain invaluable experience, but they also return to the rear to relax. The experience they bring back to the rear is a teaching tool for other corpsmen.

In the rear, they work at the regimental aid station where they also train and play sports to build camaraderie. They treat walk-ins, give classes on basic first aid, help keep track of injured service members and on their free time they trade war stories of past field operations.

“During Operation Steel Curtain, I was working at a displaced persons camp handing out food, blankets and helping run a clinic to treat anyone that was injured,” the 21-year-old Avitia said, telling of one of his experiences. “A bomb had exploded in the city and a kid had gotten injured so we had to stitch him up. It was sad and a little weird working on a kid like that, but I was glad to help.”

“We are so used to working with adults who usually indicate what is wrong with them and when you have a situation like that it’s awkward,” remarked 25-year-old McNabb. “I treated this little boy once and he wouldn’t stop crying so I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.

“Another ‘doc’ came up and knew immediately that he had in ear infection because he had children of his own. That was a learning experience for me.”

Sometimes age is not the only problem. When it comes to treating patients, the language barrier is the most common problem.

“When trying to ask a person if they have any allergies before you can administer medicines and they sometimes say ‘yes’ when they really mean ‘no’ and that can lead to deadly results,” Avitia, a 2001 Rio Grande High School graduate, explained. “Or trying to explain what you are doing or going to do so they won’t panic is a struggle that we all go through.”

The ‘devil docs’ policy to treat anyone within their means gives them versatility to treat all types of injuries to include dog, snake and insects bites.

Even through all the hardships, the ‘docs’ proudly proclaim their job to be the best job in their service.

According to Avitia, the best part of his job here besides treating patients is when he gets down time.

“If that happens,” he said. “That means no one is hurt.”

“Not only that, but you have one of the most respected jobs in either service,” McNabb said. “No matter what rank you are, when you’re a ‘doc’ you’re a ‘doc’ and everyone loves the ‘docs.’


01-13-06, 08:07 AM
Navy Corpsman enjoys chance to serve
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Story by Lance Cpl. Wayne Edmiston

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Jan. 13, 2006) -- Being a hospital corpsman with Marines is different than most Navy jobs. They are inserted into combat zones right next to their “Devil Dog” brothers to ensure their health and safety. For one corpsman numerous challenges did not stop him from joining the fight and earning the title “Doc.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class David L. Brown, a hospital corpsman with Headquarters and Service Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), was committed to himself when he decided to join the Navy after speaking to a recruiter.

“I didn’t think they would let me join,” the 40-year-old Washington native explained because of his age. “I wanted to be master at arms actually, but they [said] I could be a corpsman and serve along Marines; I signed right up.”

Brown left his job as an auto parts store manager in Florida and left for Naval Training Center Great Lakes, Ill., for recruit training.

He than became a hospital corpsman and looked forward to serving alongside Marines after finishing Field Medicine School at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Being able to help Marines and Sailors out by having more time in the civilian life proved to be a valuable asset, Brown said.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s Web site (www.cbo.gov), the average age of military enlistees is 19.

Brown faced some challenges at first keeping up with Sailors and Marines that were more than 10 years younger than he.

“It was hard at first but once I figured it out I just did what they did and joined right in,” he said.

Brown explained his love of serving with leathernecks.

“Helping Marines is what I enjoy,” Brown said. “When I help Marines I truly feeling I am contributing to the mission.”

Before serving with the Marines, Brown worked at the heart of Navy medicine at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland.

“I really enjoyed my time at Bethesda. I was close to home and learned a lot,” he said.

Being deployed to a combat zone doesn’t bother Brown, including being separated from his sons: David, Daniel and Aaron.

Brown keeps in contact with his sons through letters and the occasional phone call when he gets the chance.

“I love my boys, and can’t wait to get back and see them,” he said.

Another love Brown has acquired over the years is his passion for cars and specifically custom automobiles.

“I like anything about cars,” he said. “Fast cars, performance cars; I just love cars.”

His patriotic roots extend deep with family who have served in the Navy as well.

“I have two uncles who were in the Navy; It’s like a family tradition that I felt I wanted to follow,” Brown explained.

Brown is just one example of a “Devil Doc” in Iraq serving alongside his brothers Din the Marines, and at a later age felt dedicated do his part during the Global War on Terrorism.


04-09-08, 05:07 AM
Thank you for posting these up. I am Doc Avitia. Doc (HM3) Ojeda is a good friend of mine. We spent plently of nights under the desert sky on ops together. I am new to the site. I searched my name on google and it brought me here. Again thank you for sharing this with the Marines.

04-09-08, 06:06 AM
Welcome abord Doc Avitia! Thanks for watching over our Bros.