View Full Version : Keeping up with the best

06-06-07, 08:13 AM
June 6, 2007 - 12:09AM
Keeping up with the best
Camp Johnson school helps future Navy corpsmen learn to work with Marine units


If he had to, he would do it all over again.
Tired, sweaty, his face and body splattered with mud, Seaman Nicholas Calaci, 22, had just spent the morning with three others crawling under razor wire and wading through muddy waters and trenches as they carried their casualty on a litter — or canvas stretcher — to safety.
Carrying the “casualty,” a 170-pound dummy, through an obstacle course at Camp Johnson that morning, Calaci didn’t seem to sweat the test of endurance.
“I would do it again right now if they asked me to,” said Calaci, who joined at least 65 sailors who completed a litter-carrying obstacle course at Camp Johnson on Tuesday, part of their training to serve as corpsmen for the Marines.
Sailors must complete seven weeks of training at the Field Medical Service School at Camp Johnson in order to become corpsmen, medical technicians who assist the Marines in hospitals and in the field while they are fighting.
The school is one of two formal ones that prepare sailors to work directly with Marine units.
Members of the current class of 271 sailors, one of the biggest the school has had, spent the better part of Tuesday morning completing the course.
All through the morning, sailors trudged through the course shouting to each other, maneuvering their litters and giving a thunderous yell as they reached the end.
Navy Capt. Efren Saenz, commanding officer of the school, said the course is nothing short of rigorous.“It’s the toughest part of the course as far as the physical demand,” said Saenz, who went through the obstacle course as a young corpsman-in-training.
Carrying a dummy on a litter, corpsmen-in-training were required to keep their patient alive while carrying it through the obstacle course — which included trenches, razor wire, muddy water and a bridge.
The course is meant to simulate what working in the field is like, said Staff Sgt. Steven Martinez, Marine advisor at the school.
“This is really important, because it gives them an idea of what their job is with the Marines,” Martinez said.
Seaman Apprentice Brandi Cabon, 22, who joined Calaci and two others as they carried their patient through the obstacle course, said you have to pace yourself.
“You’ve got to kind of stop every now and then and recoup,” he said.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Esper, 23, who ran with Calaci and Cabon, said the course would help corpsmen-in-training “so we don’t go out in the field looking like garbage.”
Calaci and the other three sailors said the day was all about teamwork.
“There’s no way one person could pull a litter through a course like that,” Calaci said.

Contact Antonio Velarde at avelarde@freedomenc.com or 353-1171, ext. 8464.


06-07-07, 07:05 AM
Field Medical Service School
Don Bryan
June 6, 2007 - 11:54AM