‘It All Starts Here’
Field Medical Training Battalion teaches
Navy corpsmen to be ‘Doc’ to their Marines
By EDWARD LUNDQUIST, Special Correspondent
Combat Casualty Care
encompasses combat and survival
skills, tactical combat casualty care,
preventive medicine and a thorough understanding as to how the
Marines are organized and operate.
The Sailors learn about Marine
Corps rank, leadership structure and
principles, as well as tactical and
medical gear and terminology. They
receive basic martial arts, weapons
and marksmanship training, and
plenty of physical training.
Each platoon of 60 Sailors at
both FMTBs receive Marine Corps
instruction from Marine infantry staff sergeants, and
the medical training from two to three medical advisers who are senior petty officers. The advisers stay with
their platoon for the entire course.
“The biggest challenge for our students is the phys-
ical training and hikes they face in the course, and the
different style of combat leadership displayed by the
staff members,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Wright, an
FMTB-E military adviser. “We are trying to instill a
sense of urgency in all that they do here.”
“In the 28 years I spent on active duty in the Marine
Corps, I didn’t have a clue where my corpsmen came
from. They were just ‘there,’” said John Miles, a retired
Marine officer who now works at FMTB-E. “I never gave
it a second thought. I knew where my corporals came
from; I knew where my machine gunners got trained; I
knew where my officers went to school. But I didn’t know
anything about my corpsman. Now, I’m very involved.
“Between the two school houses, we train about
2,500 corpsmen every year. We run five eight-week
courses each year, with 240 to 260 Sailors in every
course. … We call Sailors who work on the Navy side
of the world — on ships, on carriers, in hospitals, in
the clinics — ‘blue-side medicine.’ Those who train
and work and live with the Marines, we call that
‘green-side medicine,’” Miles said.
Sailors with the Field Medical Training Battalion learn field medicine from veterans who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan and
landed with Marines in amphibious operations.
■ Course transitions “blue-side Sailors” to “green-side Sailors.”
■ Realistic training features live role players, mannequins and a
simulated mass casualty situation.
■ New technology is changing battlefield medicine.
The making of a Navy hospital corpsman (HM) into a first-response medical provider on the battlefield involves a lot more than eight
weeks of instruction.
“We turn them from ‘blue-side Sailors’ to ‘green-side
Sailors,’” said Capt. Roland Arellano, Medical Service
Corps, commanding officer of Field Medical Training
Battalion-East (FMTB-E) at Camp Lejeune, N.C. “They
transition from a clinical care focus to providing com-
bat casualty care.”
The Sailors graduate as Field Medical Service Tech-
nicians, with the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) of
8404. An NEC is equivalent to a Military Occupational
Specialty — or MOS — in other services.
The Navy’s initial rate training — “A” school — for
HMs recently relocated from Great Lakes, Ill., to Fort
Sam Houston in San Antonio, where the new tri-service
basic medical training has been established. This 16-
week entry-level training includes medical fundamentals, basic and emergency treatment, nursing care and
clinical procedures. Following graduation, some will
report to hospitals and clinics, others to ships and
squadrons, and some will deploy with the Marines.
Those selected for field medical training receive an
additional eight weeks at FMTB-E at Camp Lejeune or
FMTB-West at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The training