In their own words: Sailors discuss what it means to be a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman

This Sunday, June 17, marks the one-hundred twentieth anniversary of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps. Provisions in an act of Congress created the Hospital Corps as an organized unit of the Medical Department, and established the Hospital Steward, Hospital Apprentice First Class, Hospital Apprentice, and the warrant rank of pharmacist. Under the act, the Secretary of the Navy appointed 25 senior apothecaries of the Navy as pharmacists – the charter members of the Hospital Corps.

The Hospital Corps has grown considerably since then – as of Sept. 30, 2017, there were approximately 30,000 active and reserve corpsmen serving in 39 different specialties. Almost 50 corpsmen share their perspectives below about why they do what they do, and what it means to be a Hospital Corpsman. We hope you’ll take the time to read their thoughts:

 

“I wanted to be a corpsman because of the rating’s rich history. It’s a rating steeped with accomplishments and I hope to leave an impact on those I lead. As a Tactical Combat Casualty Care instructor, I’m able to impact everyone who deploys with continuum of care training. It’s an honor to be able to impart life-saving skills to every enlisted Sailor and Soldier at the command and Sixth Fleet.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jeremy Allen, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“It’s a devotion to one’s team as well as to the mission. It’s being an individual who sets standards and exceeds them in order to push his/her team to greater success. A corpsman is selfless, honest, and beyond all else, dedicated. A corpsman is dedicated to perfecting his craft in order to fulfill his or her promise to provide the best care within their ability. A promise to take care of the thing that matters the most in the Navy – its people. I became a hospital corpsman because I wanted to be the person that people could depend on, especially in the worst of situations. I wanted the skillset to keep my brothers and sisters in the fight. I wanted to bring the fight to our nation’s enemies.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joseph Alvis, Naval Hospital Bremerton
Hospital Corpsman (Fleet Marine Force) 3rd Class Joseph, Alvis assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, takes a leading role in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) program. (U.S. Navy photo by Douglas H. Stutz)

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman means everything to me. It is a way of life, a structure, a family. It is choosing to wake up each day to follow in the footsteps of those who have come before me and hopefully one day make them proud of what I have done, and set the standard for those who come after me. I became a hospital corpsman to help others. Being in a role where others depend on you is one thing, being in a rate where others depend on you to save your life is a responsibility that is the highest honor. I joined to help save others, and along the way it has saved me in more ways than one.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Claire Anderson, Naval Hospital Bremerton

 

“As a first generation graduate in my family, I knew becoming a corpsman would be a good career path. I wanted a job that was meaningful and impactful while also getting hands-on training; I wanted to learn as much as I could. Being a corpsman means taking care of patients and each other because ultimately, we are all patients. Surgery is a rewarding field with a lot of teamwork and communication. I love it!”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jimmy Au, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jimmy Au, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgical technician corpsman, performs a routine exam on a fellow shipmate. (U.S. Navy photo by Christina Clarke)

 

“Being a corpsman means to be adaptable in any role throughout the military, providing medical support and services worldwide. As a Hospital Corpsman, I wanted to engage in military combat operations and be hand in hand in support with the Marines.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marnae Behlow, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“Before I was a corpsman, I worked in construction where I saw a lot of injuries and even a fatality. I wanted to be the guy who could help in those types of situations. Working in biomed means making sure life-saving equipment is functioning. What we do matters – the devices we repair keep people alive. As technology and medicine advance, so do our skills – we’re much more than repairmen. It’s cool to be part of a growing field while also able to render care as a corpsman.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jared Beyer, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“There’s nothing more rewarding than being a United States Navy Hospital Corpsman. We must continue to do hands-on training and always familiarize ourselves with new medical procedures and technology. This will ensure that when we need to answer the call, we’re ready, not for our sake, but for the Marines’ sake. This is why the U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman is, and will continue to be, the most decorated rate in the Navy. Our job is to take care of casualties, even if it means sacrificing our life for theirs.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kirby Boudreaux, Naval Hospital Jacksonville
ALBANY, Ga. (Nov. 28, 2017) Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kirby Boudreaux conducts a periodic health assessment (PHA) with Marine Lance Cpl. Corey Jolly at Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville/Released).

 

“I was drawn to the corpsman rate because I wanted to help operationally and was able to do so in Afghanistan. In my current role with the blood bank, I like the ownership of the process and its close relationship to saving lives.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Kirk Buono, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“I want to be responsible for people remembering what Navy healthcare is and bring a positive light to the abilities we have, more than just the assumed roles we take on a regular basis. I see being a corpsman as a privilege not a right.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Shasta Campbell, Naval Hospital Bremerton

 

“It means having the opportunity to give back to the community. Being a Hospital Corpsman affords me the opportunity to think less of myself and more of others. I became a Hospital Corpsman to have the opportunity to help others. Being selfless is a value of mine. I want to do a job where I can remain humble and be constantly reminded that life is about more than me.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregory L. DeShields Jr., Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River

 

“My goal is to become a neo-natal nurse; I want to help people get better and be there for them in times of need. Working in staff education allows me to help patients by helping to keep our team current on their educational requirements.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Summer Duncan, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman means a lot to me.  The ability to serve others and serve those who carry the weight of our freedom through daily service to our country has a significant impact on me and my family.  There’s a sense of pride and honor to be part of a team that is diverse both culturally and professionally.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jonathan Faletoi, Naval Hospital Bremerton

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman gave me the opportunity to find the technical skills needed to advance my career. I was a Machinist Mate prior and cross-rated to a Hospital Corpsman. The Corpsman rating provided the greatest flexibility for me as a stepping stone in life.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Russell Feolino, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“Growing up with a military and medical background in our family was a great influence on why I became a hospital corpsman as a profession. I wanted to follow their footsteps and make a difference in the world by taking care of Sailors and Marines. The hospital corps is about tradition and legacy. Being a part of the most decorated rating in the Navy gives me a sense of pride.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Sherwayne Festejo, Naval Hospital Bremerton

 

“The Hospital Corpsman rating allowed me to serve in multiple ways with such pride. I had great interest to become a Hospital Corpsman and take part in the medical field to provide direct patient care.”

  • Hospitalman Maia Fonseca, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“To me, being a Hospital Corpsman means being part of one of the best ratings in the military and providing the best possible care to those in need. I never thought I would be in the medical field, but I wanted a challenge and to push myself.”

  • Hospitalman Apprentice Garrett Garcia, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis

 

“I love the fact that a hospital corpsman can serve on any platform and perform a broad aspect of patient care. To be a hospital corpsman is a huge responsibility. You never know where you’re going to end up or what you will run into. You need to be prepared at all times. Your shipmates, Marine Corps counterparts, and family members all look up to you and are willing to trust you with their lives. To me that is an amazing feeling that I can’t even put into words. I love the Navy and my Hospital Corps and am thankful every day for everything I have learned and earned along the way.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nicholas Geisinger, Naval Hospital Bremerton
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 16, 2018) Hospitalman Apprentice Shelby Hall measures a newborn girl (being held by mom) during a two-week checkup at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s pediatrics clinic. Hall, a native of Rowlett, Texas, says, “I enjoy the opportunities to help enhance people’s lives. I get to see children and their beautiful smiles every day.”  (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released).

 

“I chose to be a corpsman because I have always wanted to help the world as well as the people in it. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and being a corpsman gives me that ability. I render care and save lives to the best of my ability. Regardless of what little amount of care I’m able to give, it’s one step closer for them to get better. Seeing people get better and knowing I played a part in it, adds to my happiness. That’s all I can ask.”

  • Hospitalman Baily Hardee, Naval Hospital Beaufort

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman means helping those sick, ill, and injured become strong again so we can fight together! Being a Hospital Corpsman instructor allows me to teach my replacements so they can maintain a healthy fighting force for the future.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tereca Harris, Navy Medicine Training Support Center

 

“It is a distinguished honor to call myself a Corpsman and to represent those who served before me.  I joined the Corpsman rating because I felt it was the best way I could give compassionate care towards others.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Daniel Heaps, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“A Hospital Corpsman to me helps others in passing on the Navy’s customs, traditions, and heritage to future generations.  I always regarded the medical personnel in the military as the pinnacle of the military profession.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Hoa Ho, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“The most tangible satisfaction about being a Hospital Corpsman to me is the pride and joy in caring for people. Navy Medicine afforded me the opportunity to care for people in a diverse environment. For instance, whether it is in a forward-deployed setting, in a clinical environment, as an instructor in the Preventive Medicine program or as a devoted volunteer, having an influence on patients, students and the community is the greatest reward I find in being a Hospital Corpsman. It’s not just a career to me. It’s a calling.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Craig Humes, Navy Medicine Training Support Center

 

“I became a corpsman because it’s a symbol of what I stand for; the opportunity to help people and challenge myself. Being a corpsman means having an emphasis on care – keeping patients and ourselves safe is first and foremost. It’s humbling to be a surgical tech and I’m reminded daily of who I am and what corpsmen do. I never feel like ‘just a corpsman,’ I truly find our rate meaningful and fulfilling.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alexandra Jaykins, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“I became a Hospital Corpsman because I saw an opportunity to really help my country. I wanted to ensure that our war fighters and their families were taken care of, and that they could feel secure within themselves about their own bodily issues and needs.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Quincy King, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman resembles my heartfelt ability to care and assist in the overall well-being of others. My goal to become an Orthopedic Surgeon eased my decision in taking part of the Hospital Corps.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Breyona Kyler, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“There’s pride in knowing that I’m part of such a prestigious rating full of a long and wonderful history.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Kevin B. Lear, Naval Branch Health Clinic Earle

 

“I wanted to become a Hospital Corpsman because the Marines, being a department of the Navy, use Hospital Corpsman as their direct medical care in and off the field. My reasoning goes deeper than that, but I am wanting to earn my Fleet Marine Force (FMF) and the right to be called ‘Doc.’ ”

  • Hospitalman Jessie James Luper, Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
Corpsmen and Marines participate in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) training, Nov. 9, 2017, at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. TCCC is a three day annual course that teaches students how to stabilize a casualty on the battlefield long enough in order for them to reach the next point of care. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Isabella Ortega)

 

“I became a corpsman because I want to help people. The lab is a vital behind-the-scenes department that helps doctors and nurses take care of patients.”

  • Hospitalman Aprilday Lytal, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman means the WORLD to me and this is my life now. I could not see myself in any other rate. I wanted to get into the medical field and no other branch provided that better than being a corpsman.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Paul McNair, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“I walked into the recruiting station an hour after the second tower fell on the morning of September 11, 2001. I chose the HM rating because I genuinely wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. It is an honor and a humbling experience to be a member of the Hospital Corps, especially when you think of the selfless sacrifice from those who came before us.”

  • Chief Hospital Corpsman Julio C. Medina, Navy Medicine Training Support Center

 

“I became a Hospital Corpsman to help people and be their advocate when the patient can’t for themselves. After a good friend passed away from a heart condition, I felt like I needed to do more. Joining the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman was the best decision I ever made. To me, being a Hospital Corpsman means to be able to make a difference in healthcare and work with great providers and nurses in providing the best care to active duty, veterans and dependents. It’s being taught lifesaving skills and being able to provide them in a variety of places whether it is in a hospital, clinic, ship or in the field. There is no better job in the Navy.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Chelsea Miller, Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman represents the core values of a family, sacrificing our needs to take care of others. I chose the corpsman rating because my brother enlisted as in the Marine Corps, and I wanted to serve alongside with him.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jenny Monobe, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“For me, corpsman was the only rating I was interested in when I made the decision to enlist. Being a corpsman means taking care of everyone medically and psychologically. We keep service members and their families healthy and ready. It is incredible to be able to provide that level of care.”

  • Hospitalman Austin Monroe, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman allows me to perform medicine most people don’t get the chance to ever see, and to train juniors to be better corpsman then our current or past generations. My brother was my inspiration to enlist into the Navy and join the corpsman rating. He served in the United States Marine Corps and I always looked up to him as a role model.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kasey Norman, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“I became a Hospital Corpsman because I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field, so this was the perfect job for me. I like knowing that my shipmates trust me enough to put my health and well-being in their hands.”

  • Hospitalman Gabrielle Owens, Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

 

“I was in Nursing School prior to enlistment.  Since I was a little girl I was always interested in medicine and helping others. When I found out what a Hospital Corpsman did, I wanted to join. Also, looking at the past history of Hospital Corpsman, I want to continue with the tradition of serving in the U.S. Navy. As an Independent Duty Corpsman, I have the privilege and ability to take care of both Marines and Navy (active duty, reserves and new accessions) in providing world class medical care to get them out in the fleet and medically ready.  I have complete gratitude and satisfaction every day knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life. I have received advanced medical training that has provided me the opportunity to train junior corpsmen and assist with their personal and professional goals.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Cheryl Parker, Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Beatriz E. Byers tends to a patient during a dental examination at Medical Aid Station Singapore.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Veloicaza/Released)

 

“I became a Hospital Corpsman to serve my country. It meant following in the century of tradition of those before me. It is a great privilege to take care of the sick and wounded that have been entrusted to my care.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brian Phan, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“A family friend in the Marine Corps told me a story about how a corpsman saved his life; from there I knew what I wanted to do. The corpsman rating is one with a great deal of meaning and honor. I’m proud of the impact I have in keeping warfighters in the fight. We keep readiness up and make sure everyone is mission-capable.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Madalynn Pierce, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“I became a Hospital Corpsman to protect the lives of our patients on and off duty, and do everything that is necessary to keep our fleet strong, healthy, and ready for anything that comes our way.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Joseph Post, Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River

 

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to help people and treat the sick and injured. When I joined the Navy, I honestly didn’t know what a corpsman did, I just knew it was medical. The things I’ve learned and done have made me feel blessed that I’ve gotten to be a corpsman. For me, being a corpsman means putting others before self. We do everything we can, with what we have, to provide the best care we can for those in need. For me, I know that there are things I won’t be able to change, but I will do everything I can to try and change the outcome for the better.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Anthony Ramirez, Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

 

“As a Hospital Corpsman, I’ve taken an oath of loyalty to take care of others from the frontlines, overseas, and stateside. I love medicine and wanted to join something that was bigger than myself to impact those around me.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ryan Ribellia, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota
PACIFIC OCEAN (March 21, 2018) Hospitalman Paige Brown (left), practices phlebotomy during a training course aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) while en route for the first mission stop of Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cameron Pinske/Released)

 

“I became a corpsman because my field of study is biology and the medical rating provides a different view of military life. I enjoy the multi-service ward for its versatility of patients and cases; no two scenarios are ever the same. Anything can happen up here!”

  • Hospitalman Juan Rodriguez, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“It is the duty of the Hospital Corpsman to wait in obscurity most of their lives for a crisis that may never come, but when it does come, it is their duty to give it all they have. Representing all proud Hospital Corpsmen past, present and have given the ultimate sacrifice. DO NO HARM!”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jeremy Runyon, Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River

 

“The Hospital Corpsman rating has proven itself to have the best tradition, diversity, and different specialized skills that it can offer.  The Navy sent me to cross rate to further my job skills in June 2004 – as a result, I joined the Hospital Corps rating.”

  • Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Stanley, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota

 

“I specifically wanted to be a dental corpsman; in high school I participated in theater and loved to make people smile. As a dental technician, I make teeth for our patients to help restore their smiles. I like being able to give that level of comfort to all the Sailors, Airmen, Marines – everyone – we see here.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Cameron Todd, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

“I’ve known I wanted to work in the medical field since I was a kid – it was just an innate calling. I’ve had a really interesting and diverse career; I’ve worked in blood bank, pediatrics, with the Army as an LVN [Licensed Vocational Nurse], and now in the emergency department. Being a corpsman means providing patient-centered care and working together; in the end it’s always about the patient.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Amy Trader, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples

 

“Being a Hospital Corpsman means caring for others that are in need of any and all medical attention. It has truly been an honor to serve along my brothers and sisters, in the Navy’s only enlisted corps.”

  • Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Danny Williams, Naval Hospital Bremerton

 

“I became a Hospital Corpsman because, how could I join the greatest fighting force in the world and not join the greatest rating in the Navy? Being a Hospital Corpsman makes me feel like I am part of something much bigger than myself.”

  • Hospitalman Jobbie C. Windham, Naval Branch Health Clinic Lakehurst
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ben Donelly (right), from Hollywood, Fla., uses augmented goggles to relay a live-stream video of the procedure to a doctor in San Diego during a tele-procedural mentorship scenario to test the technology’s capabilities . (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)