News: Dragoon Devil Doc diagnoses a brighter future for Afghan
Story by Cpl. Ned Johnson
COMBAT OUTPOST CASTLE, Afghanistan— Navy corpsmen are some of the most respected men on the battlefield in today’s fight against the Taliban.
They carry an extra 25 pounds of medical equipment that can save the lives of their Marine brothers in an emergency situation. Their unique mission of counter-insurgency requires them to do so much more, and one corpsman with 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward) does all that he can.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Dylan Morris is a corpsman and jack of all trades deployed to southern Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Morris, a 25-year-old native of Dayton, Ohio, is the corpsman for the Police Mentoring Team assigned to Delta Company, who calls themselves the Dragoons, but Morris says this deployment is about more than just his medical skills.
“I do all sorts of different things out here and even though I am a ‘doc’ I have to be technically sound,” Morris said.
Morris talks to the locals every chance he gets on patrol to see if there is some way he can help them. “I ask them if they have any medical issues or I let them know they are my friend,” he said.
With his “can do” attitude, Morris has helped at least one Afghan person on every patrol he has been on, which he considers to be his claim to fame. He also understands clearly, that his job and the survivability of his men, requires more than just seeing patients in Helmand province.
His patrolling skills must be on the level with his fellow Marines. He understands that one wrong step by himself or one of his Devil Dogs, could be their last. Morris recalled one lucky instance, that has helped to make him keener of every movement he makes.
“I was at most 10 to 15 meters when a remote-controlled improvised explosive device went off” Morris said. “The only reason I am alive is because they buried it on the wrong side of a berm.”
When not on patrols, Morris is helping give classes to locals and schoolchildren about hygiene and basic health and attending to the Afghan Uniform Police.
While his fellow corpsmen love the different stories he has to tell, he also has his normal duties.
As corpsman for the PMT, Morris is responsible for the health and emergency care of over 20 men. Morris says he will never forget to take care of his Marines even as new missions arise.
He hopes to continue helping the locals and gaining experience. He prides himself on his positive outlook. The proof of this? Any day you catch him, he will always have a smile on his face.