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Hospitalman Patrica Ryan cleans a Sailor's teeth in the dental office aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is underway conducting Afloat Training Group 1.4 basic phase training. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tamara Vaughn/Released)

#WARFIGHTING – Medical Community

Hospital Corpsmen give fellow servicemembers routine, preventive and emergency health care. They help care for their families back home. They take part in relief missions, providing aid for hurricane or earthquake victims. Whether they are working in a hospital or on a ship, at a clinic or in the field, Hospital Corpsmen are always ready to give top-notch medical and dental assistance to the men and women of the United States Navy.

Hospital Corpsman (HM)

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Gary Abdullah, a native of Sacramento, Cali., practices suturing on an orange in the medical triage aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). “As forward deployed Hospital Corpsmen, we are always on standby to support our Sailors and Marines,” he says. “We have to hone our skills and stay on point. The oranges were a great training tool. Not having as much elasticity as skin of course made it a bit toilsome, but that is what makes you better and keeps us ready at a time of War. With this project, we lean toward being able to efficiently get our Marines back out on the field. I think I can speak for all corpsmen, when I say we love hands-on training.” (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Morgan E. Dial/Released)

The duties performed by HMs included:

  • Assist in prevention and treatment of disease and injuries.
  • Care for sick and injured.
  • Administer immunization programs.
  • Render emergency medical treatment.
  • Instruct Sailors and Marines in first aid, self aid and personal hygiene procedures.
  • Transport the sick and injured.
  • Conduct preliminary physical examinations.
  • Perform medical administrative, supply and accounting procedures.
  • Maintain treatment records and reports.
  • Supervise shipboard and field environmental sanitation and preventive medicine programs.
  • Supervise air, water, food and habitability standards.

Dental Assistant (HMDA)

Hospitalman Patrica Ryan cleans a Sailor’s teeth in the dental office aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is underway conducting Afloat Training Group 1.4 basic phase training. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tamara Vaughn/Released)

Dental Assistant Corpsman perform duties as a general dental assistant to include dental infection control, dental treatment room management, preventive dentistry, comprehensive dental assisting, and intraoral radiography.  (Check out the video below)


Additional Opportunities

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Paul K. McNair, left, Marine Sgt. Oscar G. Crespo Gallegos, and Lance Cpl. Zachary Hornady demonstrate how to move an injured partner for Congolese service members on the flight deck of High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2. Swift is visiting several west African ports to conduct theater security cooperation as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2012. APS is an international security cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Garcia/Released)

After completion of “A” school, Hospital Corpsmen are assigned to Navy medical treatment facilities or operational Navy or Fleet Marine Force units. Follow on assignment varies, based on initial tour, but may include Dental strand or other Advanced Technical training “C” school, overseas assignment or a normal sea or shore tour. Women are assigned to most ships and field medical support units of the FMF. Women are not assigned to submarines, with the SEALs, or some units of the FMF. En route to their first permanent duty stations, most male HMs will be assigned to either Field Medical Service School, Camp Lejeune NC, or Camp Pendleton CA, for specialized training in the knowledge and skills required to perform medical services in the field with the Marine Corps and/or the “Seabees.” During a 20-year career in the Navy, HMs spend about 40 percent of their time assigned to fleet or FMF units and 60 percent to other types of duty.


Follow the conversation on Twitter – #Warfighting

Learn more about all the enlisted ratings with our Owners and Operators Manual.



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