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    A Legacy Remembered – Hospital Corps 125th Birthday at NMRTC Bremerton

    A Legacy Remembered – Hospital Corps 125th Birthday at NMRTC Bremerton

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Solumn remembrance… As tradition dictates at all military functions where meals are...... read more read more

    There was a singular place setting arranged at Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s 125th Hospital Corps birthday for nine distinctive members of the Navy only enlisted corps.

    Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Cade Crenshaw, behavioral health technician and Hospitalmen Drew Echeverria and Hunter McGill, laboratory technician, positioned a table before the several hundred in attendance for the event.

    Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Thomas Aquinas Parker, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Michael Louis LaPorte, Hospital Corpsmen 3rd Class Peter Robert Bossman, Manual Reyes Denton, Roy Gillman Fowler, Michael Barry Judd, Malcolm Thomas Miller, John Henry Garner, and Hospitalman Donald Chester Dean were formally – and solemnly – remembered.

    All are primarily listed as either missing in action or killed in action, with body not recovered, during the Vietnam War. They are part of the 1,582 Americans still unaccounted for, as of May 24, 2023, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

    As tradition dictates at all military functions where meals are served, POW/MIA servicemembers are not only remembered, but honored.

    “You may have noticed the small table set in a place of honor,” explained Chief Hospital Corpsman Aia K. Jenkins, explaining to those in attendance the formalities involved with the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony. “Before we begin [the Hospital Corps birthday celebration] this evening, we will pause for a moment to recognize our fallen comrades.”

    According to Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Alaina S. Hall, Hospital Corps Ball master of ceremonies, there is special meaning in the POW/MIA ceremony of the Hospital Corps ball.

    “During our planning we were sure to share with our younger Sailors on the significance of not just the ball, but also the POW/MIA ceremony. That’s who we are as corpsmen,” stated Hall.

    The ball’s guest of honor and keynote speaker Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Christine Moore, former Naval Hospital Bremerton staff member, pointedly reflected on the historical relevance of the corpsman rate, along with the responsibility and resourcefulness which they are known.

    Moore shared how in 1942 during the early days of America’s entry in World War II, during a patrol against the Imperial Japanese Navy on USS Sea Dragon (SS 914), somewhere in the vastness of the South China Sea, Pharmacist's Mate Wheeler B. Lipes was called upon to undertake an emergency appendectomy on a sickened crewmember, Seaman Darrell Rector.

    “A diesel submarine. So you know it was hot, cramped, definitely no email,” remarked Moore, currently assigned to Submarine Group 9 after serving as a independent duty corpsman aboard ballistic missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726), noting how Lipes used his initiative to improvise for the necessary instruments – spoons and even a tea strainer were modified - to perform the surgery, the first of its’ kind on a submarine.

    The emergency operation was a success.

    “As hospital corpsmen we do what we can to care for our patients. Sailors and Marines call us, ‘doc.’ We jump when we hear ‘corpsman up!’ We run into danger when others go the other way. We’re often sleep-deprived. We also cry. We cry behind closed doors. We cry at loss of life. We cry at saving a life. We cry when we’re thanked and we even cry over sea stories,” said Moore.

    “Every corpsman here plays an integral part in being everything from a mother and father to preacher and provider when caring for our patients,” stressed Moore. “Being a hospital corpsman is the most rewarding job any of us will have.”

    The Hospital Corps is the largest rating in the U.S. Navy. After being established June 17, 1898, they are currently approximately 27,000 active duty and reserve men and women with expertise in 40 individual Navy Medicine enlisted specialty skills from aerospace medicine technician to Fleet Marine Force to submarine independent duty corpsman.

    “I’ve been honored to serve with Navy corpsmen almost my entire 30-plus career, first as a reservist in the Seabees and Fleet Hospital Bremerton, then as active duty Nurse Corps since 2000, on shore, aboard ships, down range and in more than 15 countries,” stated Capt. Patrick Fitzpatrick, NHB director and NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer. “You go where our Navy goes, to sea, undersea, the air and the desert. You do your job better than anyone else can do. You are there, you are highly trained and you are professional. I am proud of you. I am honored to serve with you and will never forget these days.”

    Hospital corpsmen are also the most decorated Navy rating with members who have earned 22 Medals of Honor, 199 Navy Crosses, 959 Silver Stars and more than 1,600 Bronze Stars. There have also been 22 ships named in honor of corpsmen, including the newly named guided missile destroyers USS William R. Charette (DDG 130) and USS John E. Kilmer (DDG 134)

    “We’re also the only Navy enlisted rating with our own corps’ ball,” noted Moore.

    The ceremony completed with all corpsmen, past and present, reciting the Hospital Corpsmen Pledge, “I solemnly pledge myself, before God and these witnesses, to practice faithfully, all of my duties, as a member of the Hospital Corps. I hold the care of the sick and injured to be a privilege and a sacred trust and will assist the medical officer with loyalty and honesty. I will not knowingly permit harm to come to any patient. I will hold all personal matters pertaining to the private lives of patients in strict confidence. I dedicate my heart, mind, and strength to the work before me. I shall do all within my power to show in myself an example of all that is honorable and good throughout my naval career.”



    Date Taken: 06.17.2023
    Date Posted: 06.18.2023 19:50
    Story ID: 447481
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

    Web Views: 233
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