CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Fierceful warriors from the sea. People willing to defend their country at all cost. Both could be considered good definitions of U.S. Marines.
Wherever Marines may venture, they are accompanied by an equally fearsome group of warriors committed to maintaining their brethrens health and saving lives. In all of the 20th century’s major wars and conflicts, corpsmen have distinguished themselves by fighting alongside Marines.
Corpsmen, like those with the Regimental Aid Station, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marines Logistics Group, have the substantial responsibility of keeping Marines and sailors in the regiment healthy and ready to deploy.
“The RAS provides all the basic services: routine sick calls, basic emergency care and preventive medicine services,” explained Chief Petty Officer Eliza S. Rubic, the RAS’s senior enlisted advisor. “It also provides the sailors in [the station] with training to maintain medical readiness.”
During their normal routine, the “docs” at the RAS attend to patients from all of CLR-27’s six stand alone companies and three combat logistics battalions – approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors.
“Our main goal as an aid station is to ensure the needs of all our Marines and sailors are met,” Rubic added. “We also have to make sure that we maintain at least 95 percent of the Marines and sailors on full duty status for upcoming deployments.
“It’s a big responsibility, keeping track of the medical records and making sure [members] are all up to date with their shots, annual periodic health assessments and any individual requirements.”
The sailors in the station are also required to train and support the regiment during deployments.
“Sailors at the RAS are constantly training,” said Petty Officer First Class William R. Gordon, the RAS’s leading petty officer. “We do daily training on the various aspects of a RAS, as well as our Navy required training.”
He explained that meeting the standards required by the Navy for corpsmen serving with Marine Corps units can be challenging, but a better prepared corpsman is a key asset while supporting Marines during combat operations.
“Sailors serving with Marines go to the Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Program, as well as career enhancement courses,” he continued.
“Sailors will also go through the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Course, where some can be eligible to attend the instructor and instructor trainer course.”
Gordon considers maintaining a high level of readiness while simultaneously dealing with daily medical support an arduous job.
“Pre-deployment training can be a challenge to the RAS, just like to any other section, but we manage to stay ready,” Gordon added. “The sailors participate in the advanced combat trauma training, combat lifesaver instructor course and all the non-medical pre-deployment required training to be able to operate with Marines.”
Petty Officer Third Class DeShaun L. Rucker, a corpsman with the RAS is one of five sailors in the unit preparing to deploy to Afghanistan with 2nd MLG (Fwd) in the next several months.
“This is my first time working with Marines,” Rucker said. “I just got to this unit from the Field Medical Training Battalion three months ago.
“There we learned the Marine Corps ways, basically the Marines’ life. We also learned how to operate in combat environments and we practiced our job in strenuous situations.”
The training at the battalion familiarizes sailors with Marine Corps operations and is considered by many, imperative to prepare corpsmen for life in a Marine unit.
“I come from the ‘blue side,’ the way we worked over there is totally different,” Rucker added. “We are trained to work on ships and in regular hospital environments, which is different than what we have to face over here.”
After completing the training and devoting months to learning the Marine Corps, corpsmen are considered prepared to deploy.
“I feel ready to operate with Marines,” Rucker concluded.
As the next deployment to Afghanistan nears, corpsmen with CLR-27 are preparing to deploy forward in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and continue supporting the Marines and sailors of CLR-27 as they transition to 2nd MLG (Fwd).