JIPO-RI RANGE, Republic of Korea — “Doc!” has been yelled at the top of the lungs of thousands of Marines from generation after generation in wars fought throughout mountains, cities, trenches, deserts, jungles and in some occasions, training accidents.
Four corpsmen demonstrated loyalty by performing exceptionally courageous duties, providing medical attention to their fellow injured servicemembers after a CH-53E Super Stallion made a hard landing carrying more than 20 service members April 16 near Jipo-ri Range, Republic of Korea during exercise Ssang Yong 13.
The Sailors and Marines are with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and are currently attached to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, as part of the Unit Deployment Program.
Petty Officer 3rd Class David L. Phan, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kris Kolodzik, Petty Officer 3rd Class Gaetano Hirshout and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Bobrick find themself surrounded by leathernecks on a daily basis.
It can sometimes be difficult for airmen, soldiers and sailors attached to a Marine infantry unit to earn the respect and loyalty of the Marines, but the corpsman constantly prove their devotion, ensuring the Marines that they will have their back no matter what, according to Johnathan L. Maggi, an infantryman with the battalion.
It is always expected of service members to respond to a conflict without hesitation, especially when they embody the skills needed to provide medical attention. During the incident not only did the corpsmen rush to the scene but the Marines on the ground ran to provide assistance to their brothers.
“After the CH-53 came to a stop I could not believe what was happening,” said Maggi. “I remember seeing one of my corporals rush to help me in the meantime while the doc was aiding a more severe injury.”
Both grunts and corpsmen embody the concept of looking out for your fellow service members and living up to the standard of always being ready at a moment’s notice to help, according to Maggi.
Regardless of the condition of the CH-53, many service members disregarded their own safety to help their brothers in the aircraft, making sure they were moved to a secure location away from the incident.
“I was just doing my job like when I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011,” said Phan. “Every other person in my shoes would have done the same. I am just glad the Marines continuously keep giving us a high level of respect and a sense of recognition for our actions.”
The corpsmen train the infantrymen in combat life-saving skills so they gain a higher level of confidence in case a corpsmen is not around, according to Phan.
“Marines should constantly keep refining their combat life-saving skills because I could have been injured severely from the landing and I would have been depending on my Marines to provide medical care for me,” said Phan, “ By being around Marines a majority of my time, it gives me plenty of opportunities to show what I am made of. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here with them– they depend on me as I depend on them.”
While corpsmen show a great amount of care for the Marines, the Marines demonstrated the same concern, as they would rather be taken care of last so that another Marine could get medical attention before them.
“When I was laying on the ground in pain the first question I asked was ‘how are the rest of my guys?’” said Cpl. Scott C. Petrie, an infantryman with the unit. “When I was in the hospital the first question again was ‘how are the rest of my guys?’ The last person I was thinking about was myself because my life means nothing without my Marines and our corpsmen.”
The expertise in the corpsmen’s craft and dedication they have for Marines is always inspiring and incredibly astonishing, according to Petrie.
“Just like our corpsmen stand right beside us through thick and thin I too will be by them in any occasion,” said Petrie.
The bond between sailors and Marines spans through history demonstrating honor, courage and commitment to one another just like it was exhibited during the helicopter accident.