The United States Marine Corps has many medics and field corpsmen in service in combat and battle situations. Each and every medic in the US Marine Corps are actually US Navy personnel who are tasked to serve in the US Marines but are members of the Navy. It can be a little confusing but the US Marines do not have their own medics but utilize US Navy service medics in the field. The Navy Corpsman serving in a Marine Unit is for all intents and purposes a Marine, and is treated like a Marine by other Marines and by everyone whom they have contact with.
For a Corpsman to be effective he has to earn the right to be regarded as a fellow Marine, and that can be an eye opening experience to many Navy Corpsmen unfamiliar with Marine Corps ways. The top priority for a FMSS corpsman is to learn to save Marine Corps lives, but they have to be accepted by the unit in which they work. The level of mental and physical discipline that are imposed on a Navy Corpsmen headed for the field to serve with Marine Corps units is not a trifle, but vital.
Marines and the Navy team up in training corpsmen for the Marine Force Fleet. The Marines have a saying, “Every Marine is a Rifleman,” and that extends to Navy Corpsmen serving in Marine Units, corpsmen have to learn to carry a rifle and how to use it as well. Much of this need to be a Marine is not understood by those who have not experienced it, but it is vital to the success and cohesiveness of the unit. The training serves to make the corpsman ready to handle whatever is put into their path. Candidates for Marine Fleet Corpsman have to attend a 7 week course that is much like Marine Boot camp in makeup at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. He has to be able to lay down cover fire, dig a hole, or do whatever other Marines in his unit are doing toward accomplishing the mission.
Marines need qualified medical personnel on the battlefield and that’s why the Field Medical Service School exists. For a Corpsman to be effective in a Marine Corps unit he has to be someone that the other Marines know and trust.