News: MRF-D ‘Docs’ celebrate 115 years of US Navy Hospital Corps
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Northern Territory, Australia – Navy Corpsman attached to Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, celebrated 115 years of the US Navy Hospital Corps, here, June 17.
For three sailors, this day marked more than just the birthday of the Hospital Corps. It doubled as their promotion day.
“You don’t usually remember the specific date you pick up,” said newly promoted Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Hatton, corpsman, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “It means a lot to be promoted on the corpsman birthday. I’ll always remember it.”
Since World War I, corpsman have provided Marines with medical aid on the battlefront, earning their own distinctions. Corpsman earned a total of 684 personal awards during WWI, including two Medals of Honor, 55 Navy Crosses and 237 Silver Stars.
The birthday reminded the Marines of those sacrifices made by corpsman on the battlefield.
“I’m absolutely flabbergasted by the professionalism and the mental and physical toughness of the corpsman I’ve had the privilege of serving with,” said Capt. Raymond L’Heureux, commanding officer, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “I watched the corpsman I served with in Iraq do phenomenal things above and beyond the call of duty. Every corpsman I served with in Iraq came back with purple hearts and personal awards because of the things they did for us in combat.”
In addition to carrying their medical gear in the field and in a combat zone, L’Heureux pointed out that corpsman also carry the same gear as Marines.
“You guys do great things out there with just keeping our Marines safe, healthy and allowing them to continue to fight,” he explained. "You guys also go out there and bring the fight to the enemy. I’ve watched many of you pounding the streets of Afghanistan with a rifle in your hand. You guys are just as much warriors as the infantry guys.”
The Marines have a high regard for their corpsman, calling them “docs,” a term used to show respect.
“The Marine Corps needs us. We’ve been saving lives as far back as WWI and WWII,” said Chief Petty Officer Eduardo Magpayo, senior medial representative, Lima Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “We’re under one department – The Department of the Navy. We’ve always worked hand-in-hand. They entrust us with their lives.”