Recon Marines seek green-side corpsmen
Lance Cpl. Bryan A. Peterson

CAMP SCHWAB, Okinawa (March 2, 2007) -- The Marines of 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion are looking for a few good corpsmen.

On the last Friday of each month starting March 30, the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Aid Station will hold physical and medical screenings to identify qualified Navy corpsmen capable of serving in its elite ranks.

"If the corpsmen want to work directly with recon Marines, they need to show us first that they are dedicated and strong enough to handle being a Marine and a corpsman at the same time," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin A. Wilson, the senior medical department representative for 3rd Recon Bn.

The Navy has deemed Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Corpsmen a critical field, with the number of recon corpsmen being just more than half of what the Navy calls for.

"The Navy says we have to have 200 recon corpsmen," Wilson said. "Right now the Marine Corps has only fifty-two percent of that."

Wilson said the benefits of becoming a recon corpsman outweigh any other training a regular corpsman will receive.

"We do everything the Marines do," Wilson said. "We are usually out in isolated areas ahead of the regular landing forces conducting recon missions, and we have to know medicine in and out to take care of our Marines."

Gunnery Sgt. Kris A. Rossignol, the 3rd Recon Bn. training chief, said once a corpsman passes all required training to become a fully-qualified recon corpsman, he immediately becomes part of the recon family.

"The job is demanding. Recon corpsmen work just as hard and more," he said. "They are treated as part of the team."

Corpsmen desiring to attend the screenings must be male graduates of Field Medical Service School who are currently serving with Marine Corps units, and they should be enlisted sailors from seaman to petty officer 1st class.

They also must have a current Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery general technical score of 100 or higher, and must have the last three physical fitness assessments and be able to achieve a first class swim qualification.

Corpsmen also must receive a commanding officer endorsement and cannot have any non-judicial punishments for 12 months and no court martials for 24 months.

Normally, recon corpsmen are sent to a Reconnaissance Marines Awaiting Training platoon at Coronado, Calif., where they train continuously. Wilson is currently trying to get corpsmen who pass screening to be temporarily attached to 3rd Recon Bn., under supervision from senior recon corpsmen to prepare them for what they can expect.

"The RMAT is a three-week course designed to physically and mentally prepare Marines and sailors for the (Basic Reconnaissance Course)," Wilson said. "If we can get approval from a candidate's commanding officer, we can utilize some, if not the rest of his time here before he leaves to instill the knowledge he will need to be a successful recon corpsman."

Once a corpsman passes the screening criteria, he must attend the 13-week BRC at Camp Pendleton, Calif. After BRC, corpsmen must complete training schools including the Marine Corps Combatant Dive Course, Army Basic Airborne School and Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman.

The extensive training requirements make it necessary for corpsmen to commit to serve as a recon corpsman for three years.

"Any male corpsman who has worked with the green side who wants to be in the fight first needs to come to the screening," Wilson said. "Whether a recon Marine or recon corpsman, we are all a family that lives and breathes recon."

For more information on Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Corpsman screenings, call the 3rd Recon Bn. Aid Station at 625-2525. Marines interested in joining the recon community can call 3rd Recon Bn., training at 625-2711.