What's up, 'Doc'?

7 Mar 2001 | Lance Cpl. Charles W. Palmer IV

In a combat situation there is nothing more important to a Marine than his M-16 A2 service rifle and nobody is more important then "Doc," the Navy Corpsman. The 10th Marine Regimental Aid Station is deploying to Ft. Bragg, N.C. to practice mass casualty exercises on both the battalion level and on a regimental level at Rolling Thunder."We get a lot of experience taking care of Marines. It's beyond training because we are actually caring for Marines," said seventh time Rolling Thunder veteran Petty Officer Third Class David R. Ross, a hospital corpsman of Aberdeen Miss. "Last year a tritium front sight post busted and got on a Marines hand. We deconed (decontaminated) the area, called the Fort Bragg HAZMAT (hazardous material) and the patient. It was the first time I had actually worked in an NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) environment. I'm glad I got that experience in training as opposed to real combat," he added.Rolling Thunder is an artillery exercise held twice a year by 10th Marines to use the larger ranges at Fort Bragg.The Regimental Aid Station will be providing the Medical support for the exercise by conducting regular sick call as well as emergency care.According to Lt. Cdr. Bill M. Wike, regimental surgeon, 10th Marines, this exercise will give the corpsmen real life experience."Accidents happen and people get sick in the field and that's what we're here for," said Wike.In addition to caring for Marines, corpsmen will take place in mass casualty drills to hone their medical skills and triage, which is prioritizing injuries to care for patients in an appropriate order. "You don't want to be worrying about a couple of sprained ankles when you have Marines who need chest tubes," said Wike.According to Wike, this is the best way to train for a real life scenario because it is as close as you can get without rounds flying over your head. "The only difference is there are no foreign nationals and we're not overseas."The Marines can continue to train safely because corpsmen are there to aid them medically in times of peace or war.