Doc Brown (Korean War)
I was an FMF (Fleet Marine Force) Corpsman with the 5th Marines in Korea, June 1951- October 1951. I was involved in two major campaigns while with the Marine infantry. Oct. '51 I was transferred to a field hospital. My duties started on a high scale but experiences of the previous months dulled my outlook and I hit bottom with drinking and disregard for duty. Fortunately there were folks that appreciated my condition and I was treated with respect.
I requested to be a Corpsman, as I had an uncle that was a Pharmacist Mate during WW II. The Navy Corpsman was referred to as Pharmacits Mates prior to my service days. My uncle suggested I request to be a Corpsman as they had the best duty stations and food in the Navy. Much to my annoyance I learned different while eating "C" Rations out of a tin can, on top of a mountain in a country I had never heard of before.
There are different job areas for Corpsmen as well for the Army Medic. They work in X-Ray, Labs etc, etc. A doctor has completed medical school etc, and is the person all of us go to when sick. As a Corpsman I received 16 weeks training for basic hospital skills and when I was to join the FMF I received 4 weeks of low intensity combat medicine training at Camp Lejune. There were several movies, one beach landing exercise and one day on the rifle range learning (?) the M2 Carbine.
Our primary purpose was to first treat those that could continue fighting and address those more seriously injured after. But to be honest it had to be the opposite as it was difficult to overlook anyone. Wounds were of small arms fire and shrapnel.
We carried what was referred to as our "Unit One". It contained battle dressings, a small instrument kit, morphine and other related items.
The Navy Corpsman is held in very high esteem by those Marines that have needed their services or seen them help a fellow Marine. We were exposed to all the hazardous conditions as the Marines were.
I would like to think I was instrumental in saving ones life, but I always question if I did the right thing.
We were issued M2 Carbines in the states and upon arriving in Korea they were replaced with 45 automatics. ( a side arm weapon) The reason for the exchange was that too many weapons were being mislaid by Corpsmen as it was laid down when treating someone. The 45 was always on our side.
Yes we did treat POW'S
I have several remembrances of my experience in Korea and some are still hidden somewhere in that gray matter. It is very difficult to talk of those times and maybe someday I will be able to discus them.