MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
For new Marines, the experience of Marine Combat Training can be daunting. With more than half the training taking place in the field, the possibility of injury is high, but the ribbon on the future of medical care for students and instructors at MCT was cut Oct. 15.
With years of planning out of the way and only a few months of construction, a new medical facility was opened on Camp Devil Dog in order to bridge the gap from Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune to the young Marines receiving the follow-on training.
Roughly 20,000 Marines travel through the MCT pipelines each year with 1,200 being in the field at any given time. In order to keep up with the high demand of medical personnel, a Navy corpsman is assigned to each company, but often times it is not enough.
The main objective for the facility is to provide medical care and to maintain the health of MCT instructors and students, said Petty Officer 1st Class Eddie F. Figueroalopez, an independent duty corpsman for the new facility.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very common among the students treated at MCT, said Figueroalopez, but with the new facility, instead of the majority being sent to other facilities, 99 percent of the injuries can be treated on Camp Devil Dog.
The majority of training during MCT takes place at Camp Devil Dog, and if a Marine or instructor is seriously injured, it used to be a long, hot and multi-mile trip back to the clinic, said Lt. Cmdr Daniel Clark, the department head for branch medical clinic aboard Camp Geiger.
“This facility is at least one and a half times larger than the old building and has all the state-of-the-art connectivity equipped,” said Clark. “It keeps us more connected to the hospital and branch clinic.”
The building allows corpsman and doctors to provide medical services on the spot at a much higher capacity compared to the wooden building with a single computer previously used, said Clark.
“It brings the standards we expect at the hospital out into the field,” said Clark.
With an average of 20 Marines per morning requiring medical attention during peak training periods, the new facility is staffed 24 hours a day, said Clark.
With injuries a fact of life during physically arduous times of combat training, Marines can now feel safer with MCT’s new medical facility.