navy hospital corpsmen

may 31 1956 was the day i graduated from hospital corps school great lakes. spent 18 months at the philly naval hospital working on locked ward t-18. gave electric shock treatments 3 times a week. went to argentia newfoundland, naval air station base hospital from 1958 thru 1959. best years of my life.

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  • I was 19, had two years of collge , JC. Volunteered in Mid 76. End spending three years in Twenty Palms Military Ward, Familiy, Pharmacy, field with marines, BAS, ED, Lab, mourge, even was asked to shine the shoes of an officer or two. If I had comments, it would be rotation! and there was no promotion, training, and not much time to sleep! Anyhow I remember it good and bad. There was a black market going,  and one gets an eye full of humanity. Still proud to have been Navy Corps.

    It was Post VIetnam and I guess the world was still recovering. The Grey Goast had a habit of breaking down. This was out Ambuance for off base transport to San Diego. It was suburban, The dash often fell off. One time a Marine was shot in the abdomen. He needed shiped but they would not give us a chopper. All I had was a battle dressing, Ringers and trendelenberg. 150 miles out the Ambualnce broke down with no help coming. The man stoped breathing. I baged him and forced fliuds with a BP cup , that all that could be down. Full tank of gas, not overheated, just dead ambualnce. My driver was a Ranger, by the name of Richard. A Pentacostal, He finally in desparation. Put his hands on the engine and commanded it in the name of Jesus to start! It did. We got to NRMC Balboa. I do not believe given the condition , time of transport, and what I had seen of surgery in those days that my patient lived. Later an offer recieved a closed head injury, instuctions were recieved over the phone on how to do a burr hole to relievethe preasure,  this officer got a chinook immediately... it was flustration to a young medic.  Richard and I reported to the Chief of the Day, Jesus saved us... he did not crack a smile. The Grey Goast delivered the two of us to the bell at Branch Hospital Twenty Nine Palms and promply died. All of this was typical in  that isolated station in those days. I remember my first run with the Marines there. We were in line for inspecton, so I recieved my unit one. We wore blues and a ball cap. I had my HN stripes and rate mark. Straping this on I steped out side and found an Amtrack Tank, to this was attached a long trailer, supported by tracks. There were ventilation ports along the top and a double door affair with a step. This was my first run so I remember what out hospital corps chief said and steped  in. In side was dust, and two lines of Marines in greens grasping straps. The first two looked teird , resolved, and at looking at me seemed to give tight liped grins. A green or blue corps man was amoung them just fate. . I can only relate what I remember and not what others remember. Anyway, I did a number of these.I noted that amoung us 18 year olds, it was stressfull, new, sometimes fatal place to be.   I could relate a number of stories on that era there. I have wondered at the good places and times others have related to me. Any how, it is a roll of the dice. All of life is this. In my years as a civilian medic, I can also tell such events....  I think over all my mates handled things as best as were able..  One  nicknamed Spider once told me. "Hunt, you gotta under stand we is Peons, just keep you head down and don't get noticed, an ya will do ok". There were long runs were duty was back to back for days, after which one slept, till the next run..  I nothing to compare this to.  Most of us wanted out of that desert..   Once our chow cards were canceled, and we made the best of it.  Made some friends there too.  Made mistakes too.  N.I.S. finally confronted us and said " We know you are dirty" in a meeting.  Persoanl decisons had to be made.    We enough of all of this, a book cold be written.   

    • Hey, brother!  Reading your story brought my BP up and tears to my eyes!! Have had some harry runs as an HM as well. You stood tall and made the day happen!! I salute you, brother!!

  • Happy Hospital Corps birthday, brothers and sisters.
  • Bill, Navy days were the best of all times. We were young, full of vim and vigor and soaking in life. Went in when I was 17. Went to Corps school at the Lakes. Then I worked a surgical in the Great Lakes Hosp. Then did a short tour on the Cromwell.Did not like Rhode Island or the Cromwell (or the coast of North Carolina where she stayed most of my tour.)The sea is not for me. Then went to P.T. school. Loved Chicago my first big city. Loved Bethesda, got to experience D.C.  If I had it all to do over I would be a landlubbing  lifer. Terry
    • while at argentia newfoundland bill cosby was a corpsmen there. remember him as a good guy that enjoyed life and had that great sense of humor.
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