News: South Carolina corpsman supports ‘Bad Company’
Story by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes
PATROL BASE PASERLAY, Helmand province, Afghanistan — The Marine Corps is quite frequently referred to as a brotherhood. Marines spend months on end training for and executing deployments. They form unforgettable memories during this time and forge relationships which can last a lifetime. The sailors attached to Marine units may not carry the eagle, globe and anchor, but one corpsman with Bravo Company said he feels just as much a part of his unit as the Marines he serves beside.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Kareen Busbee, a Myrtle Beach, S.C., native and a corpsman with Bravo Company, also known as “Bad Company,” is the only sailor with the company’s mobile unit, which travels through its area of operations in vehicles rather than on foot. His Marine Corps peers view him as a huge contributor to the unit, known as “Bad Mobile.”
Busbee is essentially like a glass box attached to the unit inscribed, “Break in case of an emergency.” He is trained to provide basic medical care for the Marines on his team, a vital asset that can save Marines’ lives on the battle field.
He said he enjoys being with the Marine Corps because he is able to employ a unique component of his medical skills, which is field medicine. He said field medicine requires improvisation, and with limited medical supplies in a combat environment, he has learned to use anything around him to care for injured patients, such as using a tree branch and a rope as a tourniquet.
“Doc Busbee,” as the Marines with Bad Mobile refer to him, does not just ensure the Marines are taken care of, but also his fellow corpsmen.
“For the most part, I am the corpsman for mobile. I am there to look out for their well-being. Pretty much everyday we deliver supplies to the other platoons so they can operate – anything from gas to food to medical supplies,” said Busbee, a husband and a father of one. “If nothing goes wrong, I am like the supply corpsman for the rest of the corpsman with the company. Whatever they need, I’ll go to (our headquarters at) Forward Operating Base Geronimo, resupply and take it back to them.”
Busbee has made a lasting impression on the Marines he serves with and his senior leadership. First Lt. Justin R. Tabaka, a Rio Rancho, N.M., native and Busbee’s platoon commander, said he views Busbee as a workhorse, someone who is always on the move and looking for something to do. Tabaka knows when a good situation turns bad, Busbee will be there to see his platoon through.
“Doc does everything for Mobile. It doesn’t matter what it is, he gives the Marines what they need to keep them going. He goes out on every run — he is in the trucks and he is on foot (patrols),” said Tabaka. “He’s our doc. We can rely on him, and we know if anything happens to any of us, he’ll be there to take care of us.”
The tight-knit group of Marines with Bad Mobile does not just look to Busbee to patch them up when they are sick or injured. They also rely on his quirky sense of humor and positive outlook as a stress relief when the workdays can stretch well past 16 hours.
“(He is a) great guy to have around. He lightens the mood — he’s a real personable guy and he is always upbeat. He is never negative about anything. He likes to joke around, same as any of us — he fits in,” said Tabaka, a 2009 graduate of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M. “We have great docs (in the company), don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t the same. I’m extremely fortunate to have him in my platoon.”
Busbee said he feels just as fortunate as the Marines he serves with for the opportunities he has had in his Navy career. He explained he has not always had the personal drive he displays now on a daily basis. Busbee said he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life after high school and feels like he took for granted the things in life that matter the most, so he sought the military for direction.
“Before I joined the military I didn’t really respect the small things in life, and (joining the military) has given me a whole new perspective in life in the sense that it is fragile, how many freedoms we have as Americans, and (the idea) anything is possible,” said Busbee. “In Afghanistan you’ll see people who seem to have nothing, and they get by with what they’ve got. It makes me respect life a lot more.”
Busbee believes respect is another big factor in the game of life. He added he knows his peers in Bad Mobile respect what he has to offer the unit, but returning that same respect is just as important to him.
“Regardless of the Navy or the Marine Corps, we all respect our jobs. I respect the Marines and what they do, and they respect what I do. In a sense, my job is just as important as theirs,” said Busbee. “If they don’t operate the way they should, I could loose my life. It works hand-in-hand; if they don’t perform up to par I could get injured, and if I don’t perform up to par they could loose their life.”
Mutual respect and understanding are just a couple of the reasons why Busbee enjoys being attached to Bad Company. He said he sees the Marines of Bad Mobile not just as his fellow service members, but also his brothers.
“I like being with the Marine Corps. I’ve spent more time with (Mobile) than my wife since I’ve been in the military; … it is a family,” said Busbee, a graduate of Conway Christian Academy. “(We) wake up, fight and sleep pretty much side-by-side. If something were to happen to any of them, it’d be more personal than business because of how close we are.”
Editor’s note: Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.