Hospital Corpsman

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A hospital corpsman ( HM ) is a seaman in a crew or noncommissioned officer rank in the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps . They assist medical professionals to provide care and support for patients and their families. They serve as nurses, medical or dental assistants, field paramedics and medical technicians and in areas of work that correspond to those of a pharmaceutical-technical assistant or medical-technical assistant . The duties of a hospital corpsman include: a. First aid, minor surgical interventions, patient transport, patient care, laboratory work and administrative work. Similar to the medical service of the Bundeswehr .

Use of the Corpsman covers a wide variety of roles including naval hospitals and clinics, on board ships, or in joint service with US Marine Corps units as field medic. The US Navy Hospital Corps is the only command in the US Navy that consists only of crew and non-commissioned officer ranks.


The Hospital Corps has been part of the US Navy since 1799 , after the United States Congress passed a ruling that all surgical assistants aboard ships should be integrated into the fleet.

Hospital Corpsman is a usage name that is assigned after special training. Over the years, the title has changed several times, from assistant surgeon to pharmacist.

On June 17, 1898, by resolution of the US Congress, the Hospital Corps was created under that very name, so that the title of the soldiers in this command changed again and again. During the two world wars, the usage name was called Pharmacist's Mate until it was eventually changed to Hospital Corpsman.

The Hospital Corpsman "A" School was founded in July 2005 and has been training soldiers in dentistry since then ( Dentalman ( DT )). This usage name was incorporated into the Hospital Corpsman usage series on October 1, 2005.


Because of the abundance of tasks and departments, including medical care for the US Marine Corps, which does not have its own paramedics, the hospital corpsman is the most common in the US Navy.

When using the HM, the sailor can acquire various qualifications by completing various “C” schools. Each “C” school awards a Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC). The normal HM, who has completed the "A" school or the special basic training, has the NEC 0000. A "C" school offers further special training to prepare the HM for more specific uses, such as laboratory technician, radiology assistant or flight medicine specialist. The daily duty of an HM depends heavily on his training at a "C" school and which unit he is assigned to.

There are primary and secondary NECs. For example, a corpsman may have NEC 0000 (more generally HM) as the primary NEC and the 8404 (field medic) as the secondary.

Service in the US Marine Corps

US Navy Hospital Corpsman in US Marine Corps uniform

The Field Medical Service School (FMSS), with offices at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune , trains hospital corpsmen for service in units of the US Marine Corps and the Fleet Marine Force, respectively . After the training you will have the NEC 8404: Field Medical Service Technician . This training includes increasing physical fitness, handling handguns, and the basics of serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. To do this, they go through a seven-week training course.


Scenery for the photo Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal

Since the Corpsman are virtually allocated to all conceivable tasks in the US Navy and US Marine Corps, including US Navy SEALs , is to use the most of the US Navy excellent: 22 Medals of Honor (half of all by the Department of the Navy awarded Medals of Honor), 174 Navy Crosses , 31 Distinguished Service Medals , 943 Silver Stars and 1553 Bronze Stars . There are 14 ships named after HMs. One of the soldiers who hoisted the US flag on Iwo Jima was HM John Bradley.

A common description of the 8404 Corpsman during the 1960s and 1970s was: A long haired, bearded sailor who would go through the very gates of Hell to tend to a wounded Marine. (Eng. "A long-haired, bearded sailor who would go through hell to take care of a wounded Marine.") This description comes from the book "Green Side Out" by Major Gene Duncan.


Web links

Commons : Hospital corpsmen  - collection of images

Individual evidence

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