Editor’s note: On the evening of November 4, the Armed Services YMCA will honor two Navy corpsmen at the 9th annual Angels of the Battlefield Gala in Washington D.C. The event honors military medics and corpsmen who have valiantly risked their lives while saving the lives of countless others. Here are their stories.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (HM1) Wayne N. Papalski
served as a Navy corpsman for more than 10 years. After watching the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 from the roof of his high school in New Jersey, Papalski realized a call to serve. While stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Papalski was awarded the Presidential Air Medal for aiding a successful search and rescue mission. During the mission, he delivered lifesaving care to a critically injured hiker. His skills and dedication are the reason that hiker is still alive today.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (HM1) Joshua Van Horn
served in the Navy as “greenside” corpsman for more than six years. A “greenside
corpsman” is a corpsman who is fully integrated and trained with the Marine Corps, often times serving as their only source for medical care on the battlefield. Van Horn joined the Navy because he was driven to care and provide for his family. During his tour in Afghanistan Van Horn earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for risking his own life after a nearby vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED). Van Horn ran through a field which could have contained more IED’s, to swiftly rescue and deliver care to his fellow Marines.
These corpsmen exemplify the bravery and commitment demonstrated by the more than 29,000 corpsmen serving in the U.S. Navy today. They are proof that no matter the situation, Navy corpsmen are ready to heed the call “corpsman up!” at moment’s notice, delivering world-class care anytime, anywhere.