Hospital Corps School, Balboa Naval Hospital, San Diego, California
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  • Attended HCS Nov-Feb 1969, CO 24-69, graduated 20 Feb 69.  Lived in the barracks at the bottom of the hill, which I understand is gone now.  Most of what was there at the time appears to be gone now.  Have not been back since I graduated, would like to see the place again.  Are there any pictures of Balboa in the 60's?  Upon graduation, transferred to Naval Medical Center, Naval Hosp, Bethesda, MD.  Worked general surgery (Ward 4C) and then went to school and became NP Tech, MOS 8485.  Transferred to NTC Orlando (NOV 69) and assigned to Recruit Evaluation unit at RTC. Transferred to Naval Hosp, Orlando in 1970 and became Senior Corpsman in 1971. Discharged from active duty Aug 72 as HM2.  Enjoyed duty in Orlando, arrived before Disney World opened.  Lived off base at the del Coronado Apts and attended Rollins College at night.  Sad to see demolition of the base  and the old hospital, lots of fond memories there.  Being a Corpsman is one of the best things to happen in my life. I have been the faculty advisor to the Veteran's Club at the college where I teach and I am still "DOC" to the Marines.  Recently had a Corpsman, two tours in Afghanistan, in my classes.  The job is pretty much the same. Miss the good old days, I'd do it again in a heart beat. Last year a student at the college had a seizure .. I've been out of the Navy for 40 years, but I rendered aid to that kid like it was yesterday.  Some skills and training you just don't forget.  I will forever be grateful to the Navy because they gave me a chance to make a difference.

    Anybody out there from Co 24-69?

    Ted Blair                                                          

  • Well Doc Hunt, you'll find them here! I  believe the Corpsmen are the type that tend to remain in the shadows and not seek out any limelight! We all share more than just a rating in common. I think the reason we all became Corpsmen is the result of something deeper in our make up! I too continued in that medical realm after the Navy and maintained my EMT for 30 years. Though I was one of the "lucky"(doesn't seem the right term) ones to have never served in Nam, after the Navy I saw things that may have fit the scenes there. From babies that died in house fires to teens that were mangled beyond recognition in accidents, they all are images I will always carry with me. For myself, I learned to balance those with the images of the newborns that couldn't wait for the hospital and the youngster that got back a life that may have ended but for my or another's actions.

    But just in case, we Corpsmen again don't just share a rating! So, you have shipmates (and shore mates) here!

    By the way, you can also go back! I did! I am the ship's Corpsman on a museum ship. Believe me, with the age and health status of her veteran crew, I am going to have to find another Corpsman soon to augment our crew!

  • Although I look for other Hospital Corpsman, I find very few remaining. Even current one'seem scarce. I am proud of having served  the USMC and the USN. The tales I tell, seem not to resonate with outsiders. One carries quiet  a bit inside, from the military end as well as the civilian side of EMS which grew directly out of my military service.  The Va has civilian professionals who were never vets, who could not relate. It is not their fault. One carries the memories inside always. One friend said  " suffering is eternal, yet it is in the way we confront it that matters." Indeed even after 36 years it remains deeply real. This makes this group important.

  • NRMC San Diego, Hosptial Corps School Graduate.... May 1977.... Hm3 USN  Veteran, Honorable Discharge 36 year medic. Civilian. Cold War Vet. Post Vietnam by about a year. Anyone remember  the Pearl Harbor survivors who taught these as well as Chief Preston Vietnam vet corpsman? Other names are Lt Shock, Napier, and Strahan who lost his school after donating his blood to save a child. He was sent direct to Jordan.

  • Terry,

      Thank you for your service to the Navy and the Marine Corps. I can relate to the feelings that you carry from your Vietnam deployment. The difference is that I have blocked so much that I don't remember and maybe I'm better off for it. I was in-country from Oct. '69 to the end of Sept.'70. I have had the opportunity to reacquaint with some of the Marines and Corpsmen that I was with, 1st Marines Charley Company. I never thought in a million years that I would ever hear from any of them again. I look at pictures and read the memories of others and it helps. Thanks for sharing yours.

                 Ernest H. Bradley HM3

  • Greetings Corpsmen, 

    ***There are some visuals here you may not want to read***

    Just some thoughts about HCS and duty from 1968-1969 that have filled in since my last post. (Warning, I am on a chemotherapy today called Decadron today and it makes me very talkative so hang on..You may not want to read this.) Our company elegible members from 27-68( I am guessing 25 of us)  went direct to FMSS at Del Mar Camp Pendleton. We had a large group and I remember there were four companies of about 60-70 members each company. Most were HM-2 and above. The barracks was right in front of the Forced Recon training barracks and of course one of my Corps School members stole the their bell brought home from Viet Nam and guarded 24 hours a day.  (Because it was there!) We got a very nice talk from the Colonel of the Forced Recon and he convinced Bennet to return the bell because he know the Hospital Corps and Marines had such a close relationship but we hadn't learned that as yet.  (We would in the near future) I respect that Colonel to this day in his approach to this issue.  No repercussions, ever.   We learned a lot in those five weeks but we were issued M-14's and I did not fire an M-16 until I was in Viet Nam.  (All of Co 27-69 went to stateside duty stations for about a year except those that went to schools.  (I still don't know how they did that and I had to go to Viet Nam) Our two highest grade members 98.2 and 98.4 spent their entire tour stateside, 29 Palms, and somewhere in Virginia. I was Sr Corpman in Urology at Camp Pendleton and about January of 1969 the hospital all at once just emptied out of Corpsmen. Extra duty for the remaining and more duty. Found out later that they all went to Da Nang Hospital in expectation of another Tet. Bennet had volunteered to go to to Viet Nam in Nov as he could not handle stateside duty. Our Senior Corpsman in Orthopedics (30-A) had gotten orders a bit earlier and in less than 5 weeks he was a patients on that same floor in a body cast complete with maggots cleaning out the devitalized tissure from the sachel charge. ( We were now starting to wake up) Arrived in Viet Nam in Aug 4, 1969 and went into the receiving area of Da Nang right after choppers had landed and taken care of the wounded. They all left with the wounded and there was one left  that I thought I would go talk to since I expected was not badly wounded.  As soon as I got close I turned on my heel and walked out quick.  (I was now fully awake). Got a C-130 ride to Vandegrift Combat Base and had incoming each day on the two days there.  Third day I was standing next to a Marine Captain and we got incoming and he was wounded.  Time to react Schiele!

    After I was discharged in 1971 I went to Nursing school and worked in Open Heart surgery for about 32 years.  I think it helped in handling the PTSD issue the next few years of my life.  One nurse even said that it seemed like I was handling being in a war zone a lot better than a lot of other people she had seen. Little did she know what the Corpmen, Army Medics, and Navy Nurses, Doctors and Army counterparts saw and lived through. We are right there with each of them.

    Got out of Viet eary in November to go to Okinawa and Japan to train for cold weather training to go to Korea.Our Colonel had a heart attack during a forced march so we did not go. Tour over I was stationed at MCAS El Toro with 5 squadrons. They are all at Miramar today. I am glad I had time to decompress at the Third Air Wing before getting out. Even diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma from Agent Orange today I would do it all over again. I am proud of the Hospital Corps and proud to have been a Hospital Corpman.  Thank you all for your service no matter what you were assigned to.  It is just the luck of the draw.


    Semper Fi and Smooth Seas,

    Terry Schiele HM-2  (RN, CNOR (Emeritus), BS)


    Smoking lamp is lit 

  • Graduated from Corps School in November of 77. Took 2 weeks leave and then came back to San Diego and was stationed at Balboa for the next four years. Balboa Hospital aka USS Never Sail.


  • HM A School from January through April 1982 was a blast!  From there it was on to Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, and then to NSHS Bethesda.  Naval Hospital Portsmouth was my last duty station before getting out in 1987.

  • Any Corpmen out there who were stationed at the Naval Hospital Beaufort South carolina in the early 70`s? Please contact martin E. Kinsey at his web site on this page!

  • A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 1959 when I attended HCS at Balboa Hospital. It was the start of a long career in the medical field as a Radiologic Technologist

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Naval Hospital Orlando

after Corpsman training in San Diego I was transferred to Naval Hosp Orlando.. Next week I am going back to the facility for a visit. I was also a Corpsman for NASA during the Space Shuttle program in the 80's and am going to visit the Space center too.  I will get to show my young songs where I was stationed..very excited about it.. Brian SkeochCorpsman   

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