Navy Corpsmen: A Marine’s Best Friend

Here’s a great excerpt from ABOUT.COM regarding Marines and Navy Corpsmen. Photo courtesy of
~Cpl. Beddoe

While Corpsmen are expected to be cure-alls for whatever ails a Marine, they know that their medical expertise only comes into play when it’s needed. Otherwise, they’re Marines in every sense of the word.

Navy Corpsman treats a Marine (Vietnam)
“Corpsmen need to know hand-to-hand combat skills because when they go out with Marines they might have to get down and dirty during a fire fight,” said Sgt. Michael Belliston. “They might have to fight their way to a hurt Marine, or fight his way out with that Marine.”

So the Corpsmen learn. They learn how to fight hand-to-hand, how to fire MK-19 grenade launchers, drive Humvees, rappel, take point on a patrol, etc. And they do it on the front lines, not just during training exercises back in the states.

The Sailors hold their own.

“I’ve always been impressed with the level of skills they possess from the relatively short amount of training they go through,” said Morse. “My Corpsmen can jump on any weapon out here and perform as well as any Marine. Heck, I’ve met some docs who could outshoot every Marine in his platoon.”

Still, the Marines would rather the Corpsmen not have to prove their battle readiness during a firefight.

“A good Corpsman will put rounds downrange if we need him to,” said Morse, “but we try to keep them in the rear so they are around to save us.”


HR – Hospital Recruit (E-1)
HA – Hospital Apprentice (E-2)
HN – Hospitalman (E-3)
HM3 – Hospital Corpsman Third Class (E-4)
HM2 – Hospital Corpsman Second Class (E-5)
HM1 – Hospital Corpsman First Class (E-6)
HMC – Chief Hospital Corpsman (E-7)
HMCS – Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (E-8)
HMCM – Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (E-9)

See also:

Semper Share:
Author: Cpl. Beddoe
Cpl, USMC 1981-1985 MCRDSD Plt 3042, Aug 28, 1981 Work hard. Be kind. Pay it forward. Twitter: @txdevildog
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike Nichols
Mike Nichols
2012/01/22 18:37

Death Cheaters!