Corpsmen train Marine style

13 Oct 2000 | Sgt. Sharon G. Angell

Corpsmen, and one dental technician, with 2d Force Service Support Group, 2d Marine Air Wing from Beaufort, S.C., 8th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division, Naval Hospital and 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division participated in Battle Skills Training recently for the corpsmen trophy cup.
They were divided into six six-man teams, three gold teams and three blue teams, but they all competed against each other.
On the first day, the three gold teams participated in an endurance course, written test, practical application test and tent set-up races.
The endurance course started at the tree line, progressed through the woods, over and under several obstacles, including walls and concertina wire, through several mud pits and man-made trenches and ending with a low crawl/swim to the finish line, after 3.2 miles of mud and sweat, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Johnny Puac, head corpsman at BST.
"It is a tough course but if you train for it, it is good and you will get through it," said Chicago native, Seaman Ames Peters, corpsman for Medical Logistics Company, 2d Supply Battalion, 2d Force Service Support Group.
Many of the Sailors felt the course was a real motivation builder and enjoyed the challenge.
"It was just a start. It got our blood flowing," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Demeak Williams, corpsman with Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group-24. "It is just what we needed."
The teams finished the course in the early morning and were given time to shower and get ready for their afternoon competition of testing and tent set-up.
The written test was 100 questions long and covered BST knowledge and corpsman knowledge, according to Chief Petty Officer Aristides Ortiz, battalion medical chief for 8th Communication Bn., II Marine Expeditionary Force.
The practical application test was on an individual basis and covered the way to tie a Bolin knot, read a map, place a tourniquet, don and clear a gas mask, purify water, treat a heat casualty, set-up a stretcher stand and define a five paragraph order.
Following the testing, the teams prepared to set up a tent for time and score. The teams lined up about 100 yards away, with the tent laying flat on the ground with poles, stakes, and sledgehammers near it. They were instructed on the specifications of the grading process and given the cue to take off running.
The team raced to the tent, turned it facing away from the road, one to two people beat the stakes into the ground while the other four put the poles in the tent and set-it up. Once the tent was completely set-up, the team had to ensure all the windows and doors were closed and secured and then run back to the starting line. The time did not stop until the last person crossed the finish line, according to Ortiz.
"I asked my team to do their best and they did better than that," said Petty Officer 2nd Class David Voda, corpsman for MedLog, 2d FSSG.
While the gold teams were getting covered in mud and water, the three blue teams traveled down the road to the pistol range for a competition in shooting and in the disassembly and assembly of the M9 pistol. They had a timed competition on both the disassembly and assembly and then proceeded to complete their required course of fire, including timed fire and various distances.
After the six teams finished their competitions for the day, they all returned to camp, found out their team scores and began to prepare for a night of land navigation.
The next day would put the Sailors closer in the competition when the teams "switched places" and conducted the training the other teams did the day before.
By the end of day two, the corpsmen and dental technician seemed pretty tired and were looking forward to the end of the next day, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Truman Gartman, corpsman for 6th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division.
The last day would be the deciding factor in which team would be number one in the competition. The teams started with full packs and were sent out in 15-minute intervals for their 15.3 mile forced march.
There were two stops along the way for the Sailors to treat two simulated patients by assessing their injuries and deciding what the proper treatment would be.
Upon their return, each team faced two more simulated casualties, one being a medical evacuation patient who they had to treat before they crossed the finish line.
"It was a pretty tedious task but we knew we could do it," said Seaman Olisaemeka Adibuah, corpsman for MSSG-24.
There was a tie for third and fourth places and a tie for fifth and sixth places. The final team statistics were as follows:
Gold Team 1 (2d FSSG): 785 points
Blue Team 3 (2d MAW): 730 points
Blue Team 1 (8th Marines): 720 points
Blue Team 2 (Naval Hospital): 720 points
Gold Team 2 (6th Marines): 685 points
Gold Team 3 (2d FSSG(2): 685 points