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A Publication of the Office of the Force Master Chief (FORCM)

Hospital C orps Quarterly CONTENTS 2

From the FORCE’s Desk


Anniversary in Sahl Sinjar, Iraq


Corpsmen are Not Chefs


Former Corpsman Honored for Heroism


Corpsmen Helps Deliver Baby in Haiti


Consider Swinging with the Wing


HCQ Memories, 1918


Bravo Zulu!


Fallen Heroes


Red Bag


Looking Back: 1941

Spring 2010

Hospital Corps Quarterly A Publication of the Office of the Force Master Chief (FORCM)

Force Master Chief FORCM (FMF) Laura A. Martinez Senior Advisor HMCM (SW/AW) Charles R. Hickey Editor-in-Chief HMC (SW/AW/FMF) Scott A. Thrasher Associate Editors HM1 (FMF) Charles R. Schaefer Mr. André B. Sobocinski

Any opinions expressed in the Hospital Corps Quarterly are those of the respective authors and do not reflect upon the official policy of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps, Navy Medical Department, U.S. Navy, and/or the Department of Defense.

from the force’s desk


ecently, my staff was asked to provide a geographical representation of where our Hospital Corpsmen are stationed throughout the world. Not an easy task I must assure you because, it is true, wherever you find conflict, strife, or suffering, you too will find a Hospital Corpsman. Of the many attributes steadfastly grasped by the Hospital Corpsman, his/her dedication to their Sailors and Marines is the most unique and admirable. The care Corpsmen take of “their people” and their people of them is unique. But even more remarkable is the respect and reverence encapsulated in the single word, “Doc.” To be the “Doc” is a spoken badge of honor that all of our Corpsmen, regardless of the duty station or platform, aspire to become. Of the many questions I receive in my travels, I am most often asked about the status of our Hospital Corpsmen. In an effort to allay any concern, I always report that the Hospital Corps remains in capable hands and these men and women can support any mission, anywhere, and at any time. And, despite multiple deployments, challenging MTF duties, the frequent stress of combat, and the rigors of the field or life at sea, Corpsmen continue to reenlist in numbers greatly exceeding Navy’s average. Our Corpsmen, continue to earn accolades throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, as evidenced by members of the Hospital Corps winning the VCNO shore, Atlantic Fleet, and Reserve Sailor of the year competitions. Corpsmen, Navy-wide, serve with distinction throughout the world. They are attached to every Armed Service, perform in every tactical environment, and continue to unabashedly place themselves in the fight. They do this, knowing full well the consequences of their choice to serve. It is humbling to be associated with these young women and men who prefer rigors of combat over the ambivalence of inaction. When I am asked about where our Corpsmen are serving, I could easily grab a map of the world, don a blindfold, throw a dart and say, wherever it may land, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Egypt, Japan, the Caribbean, Atlantic, Pacific, or Red Sea, so too will you find a hard charging Hospital Corpsman. Admiral “Bull” Halsey once said there are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet. To the Hospital Corps: your willingness to meet every challenge makes you extraordinary!

~FORCM Martinez 2

Hospital Corps Quarterly


hospital corpsmen celebrate anniversary in Sahl Sinjar, Iraq


By HM1 (FMF/SW/AW) Darnelle Mason and HM1 Jonothan Tarkowski

Marines and Hospital Corpsmen pose with a very special cake

he Marines and Sailors of Task Force 3D Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion paused from their fervid schedule to reflect on the Hospital Corps and its 111 years of outstanding service and support to the Navy and Marine Corps team. The celebration began as a challenge from the 3D LAR Battalion Aid Station Chief, HMC (FMF/SW/AW) Aaron Zale, to the First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) of Sahl Sinjar Airfield. “Make it happen.” HMC Zale mentored and helped to hone the First Class Petty Officer’s vision into reality, with the Sailors of Task Force 3D LAR serving in an austere environment they, would not have the luxury of going to the local bake shop or to the base chow hall to have a cake baked and decorated for them. The First Class Petty Officer’s Spring2010

decided to make a cake themselves. HM1 (FMF/AW/NAC) Jonothan Tarkowski had his wife send out cake mix and frosting. A second package was sent, following a query of the baking experience from among his fellow First Class Petty Officer’s and a thorough inspection of the Sahl Sinjar Airfield’s mobile kitchen unit. Learning Microsoft Publisher on the fly, the Sahl Sinjar FCPOA put together an impressive brochure that detailed history of the Hospital Corps and paid homage to the fallen men and women from its ranks. Using their connections throughout theater and back in CONUS, the members of the FCPOA were able to research and orchestrate a ceremony that was professional, unique and timeless despite the expeditionary setting. Bringing together the Sailors from four separate units aboard Sahl Sinjar Airfield HMC Zale and the FCPOA had their Sailors razor sharp with their close order drill, draw-

ing praise from the Marines who watched them practice despite the triple digit heat. Overcoming the challenge of nature and a vicious sand storm that hung over Sahl Sinjar Airfield, the FCPOA had to next overcome a minor faux pas. as they were putting the finishing touches on the cake. The FCPOA, was in the process of mixing the final coat of frosting when overestimation of the water to frosting mix ratio had them looking for expeditionary ways to thicken the mixture. A quick test and followed by an even quicker implementation the FCPOA used 900 packets of coffee creamer and two packets of instant MRE French Vanilla Cappuccino to thicken and, in their opinion, improve the frosting. LT Michael A Slentz served as the guest of honor for the ceremony. A prior Hospital Corpsman LT. Slentz had served as the youngest Sailor for two Hospital Corps Birthday celebrations earlier in his naval career. In his speech, he reiterated how his career had come full circle as with the passing of the cake, and knowledge from his youth. He urged the gathered Corpsmen to continue to pass on their knowledge, while striving for more.■ about the author HM1 Mason is currently LPO at 3D LAR H&S Co. HM1 Tarkowski is stationed at NNMC Bethesda where he works as the LPO of Hematology/Oncology Ward 5 West. 3

the green side


corpsmen are not chefs

n combat situations you return to the basics of survival: food, staying dry, and so forth. Food is a large aspect of life, especially when you spend days on end eating out of these little green cans with dates on them going back to the Korean War. Also on extended operations in the field, we were particularly dependant upon helicopter resupply missions that were not always dependable because of the combat situation. On one mission, they shipped us out by helicopter and as often occurred, we walked and walked and walked. The military term is a “forced” march. I do not know what is so forced about it. I certainly was not able to lag behind and be left in the middle of the jungle somewhere. It was not necessary to force me to follow the guy in front of me. So on my part anyway, it was a “voluntary” march. I had no hope in finding my way back alone. I am not certain exactly how long we walked, but we started out in the morning, saw an entire day, then a night, and another sunrise, then another afternoon before we arrived at out destination. We marched over hills, through creeks, rice paddies, and even walked for a few hours down a railroad track. We were told to be quiet, but I have to tell you something. We did not talk but we were not quiet. We had weapons straps clanging, ammo bandoliers knocking against each other, and the clumping of 100 sized 11 to 13 jungle boots. We


By Dennis Noah

were not exactly stealthy but we did not talk. We had been out in the field for (no surprise here) a few days before we took our hike. Our little green cans were mostly gone when we started our walking tour of Southeast Asia. They were not able to re-supply us so we had little chow. We were tired, wet, and famished. As an old friend of my father used to say on our fishing outings: “We had wet butts and hungry guts.” I was so tired that the whole event seemed like an out of body experience. I was walking in a stupor from the fatigue and hunger. Then, all of a sudden, our dreams came true. We walked into this clearing at dawn on the second morning and there were cooks, table , and on these tables were green containers with hot chow. The cooks were Army dudes but what the heck, we were desperate. We though we had died and gone to

heaven. The Marine Corps did not provide hot chow out in the field. And I mean never. I understand that the Army did supply hot chow on occasion in the field and at times beer. The only hot chow we had came in those green cans and was heated by C4. We did receive beer in the field once but it came in the form of manna from heaven like Moses in the desert. By this I mean the beer was thrown from helicopters flying at 60 knots and 300 feet. You ever had 20 cases of can beer dumped out of helicopters in the jungle on your head? Well, let me tell you, a beer can with a forward speed of 60 knots falling on you from 300 feet really hurts. This was our first and last beer run in the field and it was not particularly successful. I didn’t even like beer so why did I have to be smacked with beer cans from on high? It didn’t seem fair to me. Anyway, as luck would have it,

How would you like your cornflakes? With milk or warm halazone laden brown, muddy rice paddy water from your canteen?

Hospital Corps Quarterly

the senior Army NCO said that he did not have enough for us because he was waiting for the Army patrol to return. He apologized with sincerity. He said that he could give us some cornflakes. They were in these little cardboard boxes with the perforations you opened and poured milk into them. We gladly accepted. Of course, he had no milk to give us. He did not have any sugar either. I poured the warm halazone laden brown, muddy rice paddy water from my canteen onto my cornflakes. Man did this stuff taste awful. It literally looked like mud and tasked like, well you know what. After the scrumptious breakfast, we continued our walking tour of Vietnam or wherever we were. During the late afternoon, we cane to a large abandoned village. My platoon was sent in to occupy it and dig in for the night. We looked for McDonald’s but apparently it had not yet opened in this village. We were flat out starved. Then we heard this quacking. I mean there were ducks in this place! You can eat ducks, right? We did not wish to shoot them, as it would make big holes in them. So off we went, K-Bars and bayonets in hand. The great hunters were going to slay these ducks and live off the land like Daniel Boone. Marine should have no trouble slaying these little critters, right? Wrong! There were two-dozen Marine chasing them around for over an hour- battle-hardened warriors of our country trying to kill these ducks. It was not funny at the time as we were hungry. Now thinking back upon it, we must have looked like Keystone Kops chasing these little things. We finally killed six Spring 2010

of them. There were two others but they are probably still running and laughing. Now what? Who was going to clean and cook them? They all looked at me, the Corpsman, to prepare the feast. I was in charge of health. Food was part of health. Correct? They thought it was perfectly logical that I should be the chef. It seemed like quite a stretch to me, but I agreed. I did hunt growing up in the Ozarks and knew how to clean ducks. However, cooking them was another matter. Mom always handled this part. In the village, there was a large hut with a large cooking area and even pots and pans and a wood grill. I would not bestow upon it the respect to call in a kitchen but it would do. On the other hand, I was no Julia Child either. There was even rice. So I butchered the ducks, threw them in water and boiled them for a couple of hours. I then added some rice and made a rice soup with the pieced of duck. It smelled horrible. It even looked worse. Have you ever seen the stuff that is pumped out of a boar’s or RV’ holding tank? It looks like watery chocolate pudding. Well this is exactly what my cooking prowess had produced with the same consistency. It smelled about the same. I was going to throw it out, but there were hungry so they ate it. I id not. I would rather have eaten mud but they devoured it with enthusiasm and thanked me. Little did we know that the VC ducks had a surprise in store for us. Well about 0200 in the morning in the pitch black, I heard a moan, then another moan, then another moan, then about 20 more. Then I heard my guys puking from the

other end. The entire platoon was sicker than you can imagine. I was not sick, of course, as I refused to eat my own cooking. I had given them food poisoning. For the next two days I gave them all kinds of medications including antibiotics to heal them. They marched with their legs spread out to the side (like a cowboy who had ridden horses for 60 years), they were doubled over, and they had these anguished looks on their faces. They kept running into the brush and asking for those tiny rolls of toilet paper. We promptly ran out of the latter. The officers wanted to know what happened. With the innocence of a newborn baby, I said, “I really do not know, sir. It must have been bad water, sir.” Yeah, that was it. Bad water. They bought it and I never told them what really happened. I figured I would end up in Portsmouth [Naval Prison] for 5 years if I told the truth. I informed our leaders that I had in under control and they should not worry. Slowly, my guys began to stand upright and walk normally like humanoids again. By the third day, everyone was well again in H Company. The only good thing about this ending was that the platoon was no longer hungry. This worked out perfectly as we did not get resupplied for 2 more days. I was hungry but enduring. I was never asked to cook again. about the author

Dennis Noah is a retired Hospital Corpsman and Vietnam Veteran. This article is reprinted from The Perimeter, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 451 Inc., Baltimore, MD. Fall. 2008 5


n September 1967, the 1st Marine Division headed Operation Swift, a search-anddestroy operation the division undertook in Vietnam's Que Son Valley. The valley, a narrow strip of arable rice land bordering the South China Sea, became a battleground where the 5th Marines and at least two regiments of ferocious, well disciplined North Vietnamese Army regulars converged, resulting in 114 American deaths and approximately 380 North Vietnamese. Former Navy Hospital Man 2nd Class Dennis "Doc" Noah, a 20-year-old corpsman with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st MarDiv, found himself at the heart of the

By Lance Cpl. Lucas G. Lowe fighting the night of Sept. 10, only six days into the operation. Noah began treating wounded Marines while his platoon was within 10 meters of the enemy position. Badly wounded himself, he crawled from man to man, and used his own body for cover while he administered treatment. He quickly depleted most of his medical supplies and had to improvise tourniquets with the cloth from Marines' uniforms. When an NVA regular tried to infiltrate the platoon's perimeter, Noah shot him in the face at point-blank range with his sidearm, a .45-caliber pistol. Then he moved all the wounded away into relative safety before they were evacuated. That was 42 years ago. Today Noah is as far removed from the

Photo by Cpl Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo


former corpsman honored for heroism

Dennis “Doc� Noah stands with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent, after being awarded the Silver Star on April 7th, 2010. 6

physical stress and horror of combat as the average commercial banker, which is what he was for 39 years after his discharge from the Navy. He now lives comfortably as a professor of international business at Towson University in Maryland. Even with his considerable combat credentials, Noah was nervous when he arrived at Quantico a day before he received the Silver Star for his actions during an April 7 ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. "I'm humbled by the fact that a four-star general is going to pin a medal on me," he said as he stood in the lobby of his hotel. As far as Noah is concerned, what he did all those years ago was nothing extraordinary. "I didn't expect to get an award," he said. "The Marines I was with were doing their jobs, and I was doing mine to keep them alive." That wasn't exactly retired Lt. Col. Gene Bowers' point of view. Bowers was Noah's company commander in Vietnam, and saw what he did to save the lives of his men. Two years ago, he nominated Noah for the Silver Star. "He [Noah] was 20 years old, trained in triage and highly skilled," recalled Bowers. Bowers' memory of the day Noah helped save his company remains vivid. "When he finished treating the men, he was covered in blood - not his," said Bower. "The whole time he never realized he was wounded. He was the only guy who was movHospital Corps Quarterly

ing around the whole time." For Noah, the choice to join the military amid the chaos of Vietnam came naturally. His family immigrated to the American colonies in the 17th century, and has fought in most major conflicts throughout the country's timeline. Noah's ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, and his father, a World War II veteran, always flew an American flag at their home during Noah's childhood in St. Louis. "Going to war is kind of a family tradition," said Noah. Noah wanted to study medicine, but was admittedly too immature for college. Instead he joined the Navy. At the time, he was worried his chances of going to combat were too low. In a later talk, a recruiter assured him that Vietnam was full of corpsmen, and he was hooked. He attended training at Naval Training Center Great Lakes, Ill., and was assigned to the Fleet Marine Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif. When he got orders to Vietnam with the rest of the division, he knew he was where he needed to be. However, as the daily grind in Vietnam wore on and the casualties piled up, Noah began to feel disillusioned. "Vietnam kind of took the motivation out of me," he said. "It was a funny war. It's not the Marine Corps' fault that that particular war was fought the way it was, so I don't blame the organization." As a young corpsman, Noah was unprepared for the psychological impact of seeing so many Marines die in front of him. "I got to know these guys," he said. "A corpsman is more than Spring 2010

just a field doctor. We did preventive medicine and kept the Marines well. But when, for example, a guy got a dear john letter from home, he would talk to his corpsman. Or they'd have fears about the fighting and come talk to you." In this way, Noah became more than just the caretaker of the Marines' physical well-being. He was an anchor of emotional stability for the men under his care. "When you lost these guys, it just tore you apart," he said. "A part of you died, too." Noah said he remembers looking down at his hands after he had lost a Marine and asking himself why he couldn't have done more. "I reached a point where I didn't even want to know their names anymore, especially when a new guy came along," said Noah. "Because first you learn their names, then the names of their girlfriends or wives back home, and then they're like family. I needed to distance myself emotionally to be able to do my job." As for the day that would bring Noah to Quantico four decades later, he still remembers every move the platoon made on its patrol through the small valley in southern Vietnam. "We ran into several machine gun positions," he remembered. "These guys were well-disciplined NVA troops - not guerrilla fighters." The ceremony on April 7 was a quiet, low-key affair. There was no color guard or band on call. And only about 40 seats had been reserved for Noah's family, friends and colleagues. Having his award ceremony at Leatherneck Gallery in the museum was Noah's choice. He has

traveled there before on the occasion of its opening. "To me, the history that's in those halls - the information, the memorabilia that's there - it's just double the honor to be in such a tremendous place and in the presence of the commandant," Noah said. "It's almost hallowed ground to me."â– about the author Lance Corporal Lucas G. Howe was a photojournalist assigned to Quantico, VA. We are sad to report that this article is being published posthumously.


idc corner

corpsman helps deliver baby in Haiti


By Mark D. Faram

lthough rescues of earthquake survivors stuck in the rubble are becoming few and far between, there are other miracles happening in Haiti. Just ask Chief Hospital Corpsman (EXW/FMF/SW) Jesse Bedia, an independent duty corpsman who delivered a baby Jan. 23 just a short distance from where Navy landing craft were bringing supplies and equipment ashore. Up until that time, he had been involved with the medical evacuation of nearly 40 Haitians to the Navy ships in the Bay of

Photo by author

Port-au-Prince — 19 of them in a single day. But this was to be Bedia’s first delivery, though he did get the help and supervision of a Navy doctor who arrived just minutes before the baby was born. The 37-year-old Bedia, who was frocked to chief petty officer this year, is deployed to Haiti with Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 6, based in Portsmouth, Va. The adventure started about 45 minutes earlier when Steelworker 3rd Class (SCW) George Lefler and Equipment Operator 3rd Class (SW) Andy Lotzen were making it back to the waterfront with a dump truck of rubble to help fill in holes in the road. Their standing orders were to stop for no one, as locals would often try to get military vehicles to stop to see if they could get food or water. But then the pair of sailors saw a pregnant woman on the side of the road as they came around a bend. She was holding her pregnant belly, clearly in pain. Next to her were HMC Jesse Bedia checks on baby two women waving Dominique Louis and his mother, Sabrina.


frantically for help. “We looked at each other and agreed that we couldn’t leave her there,” Lefler said. The pair helped lift the woman into the truck and quickly got her back to their base, adjacent to the Navy’s “Red Beach” and near Neply, a little village a few miles from the larger town of Leogane, west of Port-au-Prince. Bedia was about 100 yards away at an adjacent compound, getting ready for a day out in the countryside to provide security for Navy units assessing local damage and to tend to the most critically wounded they found from the Jan. 12 earthquake. Just then, the radio crackled — it was the nearby Seabee camp asking for MESS 6’s “hotel — charlie — mike” to come and assist as two of their sailors were bringing a woman in labor to their location. “All they said is that the water had broke,” Bedia said. “So I thought we had time — though I quickly got my gear and headed over.” Arriving on scene, the Seabees were trying to take Bedia to the dump truck. Confused, he hesitated, asking again where the woman was. “The whole dump truck thing confused me, but when I finally saw her in the truck, it was quite obvious that she was a bit further along than they’d said,” Bedia said. “In fact she was crowning.” Bedia and the others got the mother, Sabrina Louis, onto a cot in Hospital Corps Quarterly

what was once an open-air picnic area with a tall tin roof. Bedia was assisted by the ACB2’s own corpsmen, HM1 (FMF) Emilio Rothschoh and HM3 (SW) David Williams. The delivery was tough, Bedia said, and during the delivery, he was worried that the mother and baby would need a higher level of care once the delivery was complete, so he radioed back to his unit. “Request a helo and medevac crew be on standby,” Bedia’s excited voice came over the radio. “She and the baby may need to be evacuated quickly.” But, in the end, that call wasn’t necessary and moments after the delivery, Bedia’s voice — much more relieved — came on the radio again saying they could stand down the helicopter. Bedia didn’t have the chance to bask in the post-natal

glow. The radio crackled again — two more casualties needed medical evacuation and would be arriving in a few seconds from a Navy-run clinic in town. One was a man who had been paralyzed from the waist down in the earthquake and another was a woman whose foot, ankle and leg were now seriously infected from deep cuts. Bedia ran the 100 yards back to his unit’s landing zone as the Humvee arrived with the two Haitians. The helicopter had already landed, its rotors turning as its aircrew stood by with a stretcher. Bedia immediately took charge of getting the paralyzed man onto the stretcher. The officer in charge, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Taggart, lifted the wounded woman and carried her to the helo. Seconds later, the helo took off and Bedia finally had a moment

to think. Gradually an ear-to-ear grin came across his face as he announced to everyone present that he had just delivered “a bouncing and health baby boy.” Again he ran back to the Seabee camp to check on the mother, Sabrina, and newborn, Dominique Louis. “Other than my own child, this is the most beautiful baby boy I’ve ever seen,” said a beaming Bedia as he held the baby. “We’ve seen a lot since we’ve been here and helped a lot of people, but I can’t say I’ve done anything quite like this before.”■ about the author Mark Faram is a Senior Staff Writer with the Navy Times and author of the book, Faces of War: The Untold Story of Edward Steichen’s World War II (2009). This article is reprinted from January 2010 Navy Times.

Composer of “Corpsmen Up!” Meets with Hospital Corpsmen

Photo by GySgt Clayton Young

Major Brian Dix, Musical Director of the Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps and Composer of “Corpsmen Up!,” stands with Corpsmen that supported 130 Marines during the Battle Color Detachment 24 day training cycle at MCAS Yuma, AZ in March 2010. Major Dix, who is an honorary Hospital Corpsman, gave each Corpsman an audio recording of the “Corpsman Up!” march. Spring 2010


squadron ops

consider swinging with the wing


re you at a career cross roads? Do you want to engage in an operational NEC? Then becoming an Aerospace Medical Technician(AVT_8406) may be just the job for you. Currently the NEC is 83% manned, and is a feeder NEC for Search and Rescue Corpsman, Aerospace Physiology Technician. AVTs assist flight surgeons in maintaining overall squadron readiness. You will assist the Flight Surgeon with physical exams, sick call, record maintenance, and aircraft mishap investigations. Typically AVT’s are assigned to Navy and Marine Corps Squadrons, aircraft carriers and large deck ships. When I entered in the Navy I knew two things, I wanted to be a Hospital Corpsman, and I wanted to do something fun and exciting, at the time there were not a lot of operational platforms for female sailors to engage in. Most ships did not have integrated crews and Aerospace Medicine was my ticket in!


By HMC(AW) Michele L. Wade As a young HM3 I reported aboard my first squadron in 1991. I immediately started seeing sick call and received training from our wing flight surgeons. I had never been stationed any where before where the physicians had such a close working relationship with the Corpsman and vested interest in our personal and professional growth. I quickly realized that our flight surgeons were too busy to see a lot of routine sick call and relied on the Corpsman to triage, assess, and make treatment recommendations for our patients. More than helping the flight surgeons out, this opportunity helped to develop relationships with in the squadron. It is imperative as a Corpsman to have an understanding of what is going on in the squadron, you are the primary liaison to the enlisted community for the flight surgeon. Duties of an AVT are not limited to doing sick call, physicals, and health records. There are so many things that need to be done in a squadron much like a ship. You will go out and inspect coffee mess’s, work closely with the safety

department, coordinate occupation health exams, work with the command fitness leader, work on the flight deck and provide information to the top leadership. AVTs are unique, important and maintain a continuous impact on Navy operations. By becoming an AVT you will have joined a community of practice that not only support diversity of an assignment, but also offers enhanced career progression. You will have the opportunity to serve on nearly every platform supported by the Hospital Corps, instructs students, and most importantly you will get to lead Sailors in an operational environment while supporting the Navy’s mission of Force Health Protection. This is why the aviation community is so rewarding that is why I have chosen to remain an AVT for my entire career. about the author HMC Wade is the Lead Chief Petty Officer in the Physical Quality Division at BUMED.

Hospital Corps Quarterly

By HM1 (FMF) Charles R. Schaefer


he publication that began in October of 1917 with a thirty page newsletter had by April of 1918 expanded to fill almost ninety pages. Invigorated by America’s entry into the First World War the Quarterly was now a true digest. The April 1918 edition was filled with information vital to forward deployed Corpsmen, especially those on their way to serve ashore in France. Sections detailing the latest techniques in field sanitation, burn care, preventive medicine, treatment for drowning, as well as operating room procedures and sterilization equipment were offered to supplement the rapid training of our rapidly expanding Corps. A full page was dedicated to the virtues of typewriting. The duties of the early Hospital Corps were primarily clerical, and it seems that in 1917 when a Corpsman was being considered for advancement his skill with a typewriter was evaluated. Promotion packages for those seeking to become Pharmacist Mate First Class or Chief Pharmacist Mate were sent to BUMED for review. These packages were required to contain “a specimen of and a statement as to the proficiency in typewriting.” A section explaining the importance Form F Cards, a simple one page morbidity and mortality report, equated its incorrect preparation with cleaning a wound with dirty hands. Every command was required to forward one of these reports to BUMED daily. Each of

Spring 2010

these cards were then individually reviewed, encoded for easy reference and stored for posterity. At the time of publication “Hooverizing,” a term that referred to a national push to conserve resources under the Hoover administration, was in full swing. Corpsmen were encouraged to reuse disposable items if possible as well as to seriously review all items they list on their commands Form B, the form used to survey or dispose of worn out or broken equipment. Given that the rest of the country was suffering through meatless, shopless, wheatless, and even heatless days in support of the mobilization, such early recycling efforts were only logical. The Quarterly contains brief

HCQ Memories

Hospital Corps Quarterly, 1918

citations for eleven Corpsmen. These sailors were each commended for their bravery during a variety of actions ranging from a munitions plant accident in the Samoan Islands to rescuing German submariners from drowning after the destruction of their submarine. Chillingly, a brief article near the end of the publication gives warning of the Germans use of primitive flamethrowers in combat on the Western Front. Little more than an alert to their existence, the one page bulletin provides a taste of the things to come for American troops when they finally reach the trenches.■

Hospital Corpsmen in the Trenches, 1918 BUMED Library and Archives


bz Commanded by Senior Chief Dana Wallace, the first female Commander of Troops for the U.S. Navy Drill Team, this hand-picked unit performs throughout the United States and around the world in support of Navy outreach. Photo by Sgt. Erica Vinyard

Chief Petty Officer Becomes First Commander of Drill Team On 11 April, 2010, Hospital Corpsman Senior Chief (Surface Warfare), Dana Wallace, the first female Commander of Troops in the history of the Navy Drill Team, led her Sailors to a second place showing at the Joint Service Drill Competition in Washington, D.C. While there are nearly 190 personnel in the Ceremonial Guard, only 18 earn spots on the drill team. The majority of the team arrives directly from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes. While not on the road or performing locally, the drill teams Sailors stand by their Shipmates in the performance of military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and play host to many Navy and Joint Service ceremonies throughout the National Capitol Region.

notable achievements On 29 April, 2010 HM1(FMF) Oluyinka Adefisan has been chosen as the 2009 Vice Chief of Naval Operations Shore Activity Sailor of the Year. Petty Officer Adefisan is currently the Leading Petty Officer of the post anesthesia care unit (PACU), and is the acting Leading Chief Petty Officer in charge of the Surgical Services Directorate at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.


HM1(SW/AW) Ingrid J. Cortez has been named the United States Fleet Forces Command Sea Sailor of the Year. She is the first female in the United States Navy to achieve this honor. Petty Officer Cortez serves as the Medical Department Leading Petty Officer on board the USS Bataan. As the result of her selection, HM1 Cortez will be meritoriously promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in a July ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C. Well done Shipmate!

Hospital Corps Quarterly

HM2 Christopher Shields, a divisional superstar, on board the Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) was meritoriously promoted to the rank of First Class Petty Officer via the command advancement program, in a ceremony held in early May. Congratulations HM1! HM1(SCW) Shalanda Brewer of Navy Expeditionary Medical Unit-10, has been selected as the 2009 Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year. She will be meritoriously promoted to Chief Petty Officer in a July ceremony to be held in Washington D.C. Congratulations Shipmate!

Via a Naval Message issued by the CNO on 19 APR 2010, 28 new Hospital Corpsmen Master Chiefs were notified of their magnificent accomplishment. Well done Master Chiefs! Spring 2010


Fa l l e nh e r oe S Zarian Wood

Petty Officer Third Class (FMF) Age 29 Petty Officer Third Class Zarian Wood, of Houston, Texas, died on 16 May 2010 of wounds inflicted by a bomb blast during a foot patrol in Helmund Province, Afghanistan. Woods had deployed previously to Iraq in 2007-2008. He was a member of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expedionary Force. HM3 Wood was preceded in death by his mother, Nellie Sue Wood. He is survived by his father, Daniel Wood, and siblings Zachary Wood, Krista Hamilton, Teresa Robertson, Victor Robertson and Micah Dixon. At the time of this publication,Funeral arrangements are pending.


Hospital Corps Quarterly

What is Staphylococcus aureus? Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria, commonly referred to simply as "staph." It is found on the skin or in the nose of healthy people.Sometimes, staph can cause an infection and illness. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics. However, staph bacteria can also cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia). What is MRSA? MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a form of staph infection where the bacteria have become resistant to some types of antibiotics. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as, penicillin, amoxicillin and oxacillin. Who gets these infections? Serious staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems. Staph and MRSA can also cause illness in persons outside of hospitals and healthcare facilities, especially in close-contact environments. Non-healthcare cases of MRSA infections have been seen in a variety of different groups including prison inmates, athletes, military members, recruit training and children at daycare centers. What do these infections look like? Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. They can occur in otherwise

Spring 2010

healthy people. People often complain of a sore that they think started as a spider or insect bite. More serious infections include pneumonia, bloodstream or surgical wound infections. What is the treatment? Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. Always seek medical attention if you develop a boil, red or inflamed skin, or have a sore that does not go away or that does not respond to antibiotics. How can I prevent MRSA infections? MRSA infections can be prevented by following good personal hygiene practices: Since 2001, the Navy and Marine Corps have reported MRSA outbreaks on surface ships, submarines and aircraft carriers. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, the Basic Underwater Demolition School and the Naval Aviation Training Center have also experienced outbreaks. 1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer throughout the day. 2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed. 3. Never touch other people’s wounds or bandages. 4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors or other toiletries. 5. Maintain excellent personal hygiene through regular showers and by keeping your living space clean, including regular laundering of bed linens. 6. Clean off recreational equipment, such as weight benches before use or use a clean barrier such as a towel or shirt between your bare skin and the exercise equipment. Can people have MRSA without symptoms? Yes, healthy people frequently carry staph bacteria, including MRSA,

red bag

staph and mrsa infections

on their skin. These individuals are “colonized” with the bacteria and are known as carriers. The organism is present in or on the body but does not cause illness and generally causes no harm. Carriers are at low risk of getting illness due to MRSA despite having MRSA colonized on their skin. Can MRSA be spread from person to person? MRSA is usually spread by direct contact with an infected or colonized person. It may also be spread through contaminated objects or surfaces. if I have a MRSA skin infection, what should I do to prevent other people from getting it from me? Your healthcare provider will discuss ways to prevent spreading

MRSA to other people. However, the general recommendations are to: 1. Keep your infected wound covered. 2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 3. Do not share personal items.

If you have additional questions or think you would like more information, contact: Navy Environmental Health Center 620 John Paul Jones Circle, Portsmouth, VA 23708 Phone: 757.953.0700 Fax: 757.953.0688 We’re on the Web! Visit us at:


What is the HCQ? The Hospital Corps Quarterly is YOUR publication. In the coming months the staff of the HCQ will be customizing the pages to fit your needs as U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen. But we need your help. We are in need of your ideas, stories, and photographs for the following sections of the HCQ: BZ (include full name, date of award, and synopsis of action): Recent awards and honors given to our fellow Hospital Corpsmen. Fallen Heroes (250-1,000 words): Stories and memories of our fallen Hospital Corpsmen. Green Side (250-500 words): News, notes, and stories about Hospital Corpsmen with Seabees and Marines. IDC Corner (250-500 words): Information for and about the IDC community (both submarine and surface). Motivation (medium to high resolution): Your photographs at work and at play. MTF (250-500 words): Highlighting the excellent work being done by our hospital corpsman at hospitals. Naval History (250-1,000 words): Stories that remind us about our proud heritage as Hospital Corpsmen. Navy Personnel Corner (250-500 words): News from PERS IRT HM Community. RED BAG (250-500 words): News and notes relating to occupational safety, environmental protection, and emergency management. Squadron Ops (250-500 words): News, notes, and stories about Hospital Corpsmen serving the aviation community.

Please send your contributions via e-mail to: Editor-in-Chief: HMC Scott Thrasher ( And please “carbon copy” our Associate Editors: HM1 Charles Schaefer ( and Mr. André B. Sobocinski (


9 Hospital Corps Quarterly



from the BUMED Library and Archives

“The Hospital Corps of the United States Navy” was a 15-page pamphlet measuring 3.5 x 5.5 inches produced by the BUMED Training Division in 1941. In its first print run over 5,000 copies were printed and distributed to recruiting centers across the United States. A subsequent edition was produced later in World War II with a distribution of 50,000. Each booklet contained a scope of Hospital Corps activities and ratings, list of opportunities and specializations, and an enclosed enlistment card that the prospective Pharmacist’s Mate could send back to the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, DC.

Spring 2010