Talk:Hospital corpsman

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I am a retired U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman having served on active duty from 1995 to 2000 and in the drilling reserves from 2000-2003. The facts ("Hates to be called medics" and "Corpsman do most of the work") section at this end of this article is obviously opinion and violates wikipedia's policy of NPV. I frequently tell civilians that I was a "medic" in the Navy because that is the frame of reference with which they are most familiar. Furthermore, army medics with appropriate training do in fact administer IV's. In fact, both Army medics and Navy corpsman who complete advanced training schools in each of their respective branches of service can qualify as nationally registered EMT-Paramedics. Please supply real facts to this section, such as "Hospital Corpsman are trained in simple wound closure and when visiting a Navy emergency room you will most likely have your cut stitched up and your tetanus shot administered by a Hospital Corpsman." I myself performed perhaps over a thousand primary wound closure procedures while serving at the Emergency Ambulatory Care Department of the San Diego Navy Medical Center from 1995 to 1998. This particular "Facts" section was obviously written by a Corpsman with some strong but misguided opinions about his rate. Please do the credit your Corps deserves by changing this section appropriately. 18:59, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


It still is unclear about the NEC business. Don't delete a Talk comment. Just add to it if you're not going to clarify the sludge in this article.

A Naval Enlisted Code (NEC) is the same thing as a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in the United States Army and Marine Corps. When you graduate from Hospital Corpsman (HM) Class "A" school you are a given a 0000 NEC. If you go to a Class "C" school you acquire a an additional NEC. You can have a primary, a secondary, and even a thrid NEC.

  • To flesh this out, NEC stands for Navy Enlisted Code, which is how the Navy administrates the different specialties. And, having looked at the original 'talk comment', well - perhaps using 'sucks' less often would keep everyone happy. Logging in and signing your comments are also good form. :-) (To Point my friend, I had signed my comments and you edited it out, so please try to practice what you are proporting to possess as a policy, regards, Robert W. Gosney, HMC(FMF)ret). I'll work on this article some more over the course of the week; I actually have some things to add to it. --TaranRampersad 06:22, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Why doesn't this cover corpsmen in other services and countries? 12:24, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I would suggest that it does not cover other services and countries because it falls under the U.S. Navy, and that other services and countries can make their own? To make a useful international entry would be very difficult. Perhaps a parent article, though?

Not sure where the awards information should go. Any thoughts on history vs organization?

Awards should definitely go under history. As far as I know this article is only about U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen (of which I am one). Also, as far as I know, no other military organization names their medical personnel "Hospital Corpsmen." The U.S. Army and U.S. Air force call their medical personnel "Medic."


Is "pecker checker" really appropriate for an encyclopedia? If this is a direct quote, it should be put in quotations and cited, otherwise, I think it should be removed.Solenoid 18:05, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

'pecker checker' is not only appropriate but lends an historic context. it refers to the period when contracting a venereal disease was considered a military offense,and the medical department, (i.e. the corpsman on a small ship) would hold 'short arm inspections' before the crew had a chance to urinate for the first time in the morning.other terms for 'doc' that derived from this were 'penis machinist' and 'dicksmith', comparing his to other navy is also to be seen as analogous to other slang terms for enlisted specialties, 'snipe', 'deck ape' and 'airedale'.Toyokuni3 (talk) 06:45, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

The Term Pecker Checker is a derrogatory term used by other sailors to "chide" Hosptial Corpsman whose job was as expressed above to render aid and assistance to individuals who had contracted Sexually Transmitted Disease's. It serves no purpose historicly or otherwise to further use this term. It is NOT a historical item of value, and to give this status speaks poorly of the Hospital Corps as a whole, and lowers the public image of the Corps as a whole in the eyes of our fellow men and women. This whole discussion is in poor taste and liken to a bad joke in lowest, baseist form. It should not be used in reference to our Hospital Corps. Start thinking better of ourselves and we will be. - Regards Robert Gosney, HMC(FMF) ret. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:46, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

the fact remains that it WAS/IS used, and as such is factually correct. this is an encyclopedia, concerned with listing and describing facts. taste is not an issue, nor is the fact that it offends you, chief. as a matter of policy, comments on talk pages are not deleted. moreover,there is another, formally stated policy to the effect that wikipedia is not censored.for what it's worth, i wore a caduceus on my left sleeve for 4 years. personally, i never got upset over it.ya gotta get a sense of humour, chief.Toyokuni3 (talk) 17:55, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Famous Speech?[edit]

"The Hospital Corps has the distinction of being the only corps in the U.S. Navy to be singled out in a famous speech by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal after the conclusion of World War II." - You've got to be kidding me. Am I the only one left wondering what famous speech I missed? And how famous is a speech by someone I might not have heard of had I not read this article? How much of a distinction is it to be the only one singled out in a single speech by a government official in a specific timeframe? Talk about your cases of diminishing returns... in other words, this needs to be rewritten or deleted.JCSeer 04:33, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Actually, Forrestal is a pretty famous guy. There's an entire carrier class named after him, he was the chairman of the Naval Arms Committee (before it was consolidated with the Army's Dept of War into the Dept of Def), and then he was the first Secretary of Defense. Along with select admirals, he helped shaped naval aviation into what it is today. He lived during a time when the Air Force was just being born, and the tension between the Navy and AF between domination of the sky threatened the very existence of naval aviation. The article's only fault is not citing the speech, your knowledge of famous things is irrelevant here.Blusafe 00:31, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

not to mention being the only secdef to commit suicide by jumping out of a 16th story window at nnmc bethesda.Toyokuni3 (talk) 14:30, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Added a link to the commendation given by Secretary Forrestal referenced in the text. It reads as such:

"Out of every 100 men of the United States Navy and Marine Corps who were wounded in World War II, 97 recovered .

That is a record not equaled anywhere anytime.

Every individual who was thus saved from death, owes an everlasting debt to the Navy's Hospital Corps. The Navy is indebted to the corps. The entire nation is its debtor for thousands of citizens are living normal, constructive, happy and productive lives who, but for the skill and toil of the Hospital Corps, might be dead or disheartened by crippling invalidism.

So, to the 200,000 men and women of the Hospital Corps, I say on behalf of the United States Navy:

"Well Done. Well done, indeed!"

Without your service, the Navy's Medical Corps cou7ld not have achieved the life-saving record and the mind-saving record its physicians and surgeons and psychiatrists achieved. That others might live, your fellow corpsmen have given their lives; 889 of them were killed or mortally wounded. Others died as heroically from disease they were trying to combat. In all, the Corps' casualty list contains 1,724 names, an honor roll of special distinction because none among them bore arms.

The hospital corpsmen saved lives on tall the beaches that the Marines stormed. Corpsmen were at the forefront of every invasion, in all the actions at sea, on all carrier decks. You were on your own in submarines and the smaller ships of the fleet, performing emergency surgery at times when you had to take the fearsome responsibility of trying to save a life by heroic means or see the patient die. Your presence at every post of danger gave immeasurable confidence to your comrades under arms. Their bravery was fortified by the knowledge that the corpsmen, the sailor of solace, were literally at their sides with the skill and means to staunch wounds, allay pain and to carry them back, if need be, to safe shelter and the ministrations of the finest medical talent in the world.

You corpsmen performed fox-hole surgery while shell fragments clipped your clothing, shattered the plasma bottles from which you poured new life into the wounded, and sniper's bullets were aimed at the brassards on your arms. On Iwo Jima, for example, the percentage of casualties among your cops was greater than the proportion of losses among the Marines. Two of your colleagues who gave their lives in that historic battle were posthumously cited for the Medal of Honor. One of the citations reads: "By his great personal valor in saving others at the sacrifice of his own life (he) inspired his companions, although terrifically out numbered, to launch a fiercely determined attack and repulse the enemy force." All that he had in his hands were the tools of mercy, yet he won a memorable victory at the cost of his own life.

No wonder men and women are proud to wear the emblem of the Hospital Corps! It is a badge of mercy and valor, a token of unselfish service in the highest calling the saving of life in the service of your country.

Your corps' men and women toiled, often and dangerously, never less vitally, in areas remote from battle: In hospitals, on hospital ships, in airplanes, in laboratories and pharmacies and dispensaries. They helped, and are helping (for the task is far from over) in the salvage of men's broken bodies and minds that is the grim product and perennial aftermath of war. Some of you contributed skills in dental technology, some engaged in pest control to diminish unfamiliar diseases, others taught natives of distant islands the benefits of modern hygiene, even to midwifery and everyday sanitation.

Scores of corpsmen, made prisoners of war, used their skill and strength to retain life and hope in their fellow captives through long years of imprisonment and deprivation.

Whatever their duty, wherever they were, the men and women of the Hospital Corps served the Navy and served Humanity, with exemplary courage, sagacity and effort. The performance of their duties has been "in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." That, to any man or woman, is the highest of praise. The corps has earned it an continues to earn it.

For, as I said, the task is not yet completed. Thousands of the War's casualties will long need the ministrations of physicians, nurses, and the Hospital Corps before they can return to normal peacetime pursuits. Hundreds may have to be cared for as long as they live; that these unfortunates are so few is in large measure due to the prompt, skillful aid accorded our wounded and stricken, by your corps.

Illness and accident will add to these numbers, of course. There will always be the sick and injured, and there will always be need for trained personnel to help restore them. The Navy's best laboratories are forever engaging in research to combat disease, to speed the healing of torn flesh and broken bones, to devise new aids for the maimed to lead a normal life. And so I am impelled to address this message not only to the men and women of the corps who have completed their service to the Navy, but to those who are joining-or rejoining-in that inspiring career.

It is no easy profession, even in peacetime. There is danger in the test tubes and culture racks as menacing as in the guns of an unvanquished enemy. The Hospital Corps is never at peach. It is forever on the firing line in the ceaseless war against disease and premature death. That is why the corps' emblem is truly "the red badge of courage," a designation to all the world that the person who wears it has been self-dedicated to the service of humanity.

Customarily the "Well done" signal is reserved for the closing phrase of a message of congratulations, but I placed it in the forefront where, in this instance, it most fittingly belongs. I repeat it, here with the postscript that in earning its "well done" the Hospital Corps is assured no other unit in the Navy did better in the degree of essential duty inspiringly performed."

Whitney Brooks 02:58, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Abbreviation HM[edit]

How did the abbreviation HM derive from the words "Hospital Corpsman"? Intuitively one would presume "HC". Tks. --SigPig |SEND - OVER 10:58, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

There are a number of Navy ratings which end with "M." For example, "Gunner's Mate" is a GM. Presumably, the HM stands for "mate," or hospital corpsman mate. It's just a guess.Blusafe 00:27, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

HM is derived from the term "Hospitalman". HM2 Nyberg- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Hospital Corpsman in the US Maritime Service[edit]

Shouldn't this section be given it's own article (linked to this one)? It sort of messes up the flow - in my view this article should focus on what a US Navy Hospital Corpsman is - interesting anecdotes about a historically related counterpart should be hyper-linked, no?


This might be a stupid question, but: why are the enlisted personnel on M*A*S*H called "corpsmen", even though they are in the army and not the navy? Are military hospital workers generically referred to as "corpsman", or is this just a mistake of the TV show? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:02, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

I would guess: because that is a TV show and TV shows make mistakes. The equivalent of Corpsmen in the army would be "medic". --Purpleslog (talk) 03:39, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

hollywood takes no end of liberties with both medical and military details. have you ever noticed the surgical personnel scrubbing with their masks down? wrong!(if i remember correctly , mash got it right, e.r. always got it wrong.) have you ever noticed 2 parties approaching each other and the senior salutes first? wrong!junior salutes first, senior returns his/her salute.technical advisers are overruled by directors for what they see as better entertainment and authenticity suffers. c'est la guerre.Toyokuni3 (talk) 06:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Sequence of award of MoH[edit]

I just went through and grouped the MoH winners by the era they earned the award. I felt that was worthy of a little time and was very educational for me. CsikosLo (talk) 18:53, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Army DSC[edit]

a statement is made that 31 corpsmen have received the army dsc. these are NAVY corpsmen receiving an ARMY decoration, right? not saying it's wrong, just checkingToyokuni3 (talk) 04:27, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm not vouching for the accuracy of that particular statment but any service member may recieve the Service Cross of another branch, ussually while working with/under or on assigmnet with that branch. In the case of Marines they all recieve the Navy Cross as there is not a Marine Cross and they fall under the Department of the Navy. NeoFreak (talk) 05:28, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

The 31 were probably awarded during World War One. In WWI two Marine regiments - the 5th and 6th Marines made up the 4th Brigade in the 2nd Division. (The 2nd also had another brigade consisting of two Army regiments.) The created the anomally of Marines being in both an Army and a Marine chain of command.

One curiosity is the 5 Marines in WWI recieved both the Army and the Navy Medal of Honor for valorous actions during the First World War. Another Marine recieved only the Army Medal of Honor and two others only the Navy Medal of Honor. This shows that Marines can and did get Army Awards in World War One and this probably includes the Distinguished Service Cross. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:10, 27 December 2008 (UTC)


i just lower cased 'sailor' in the first paragraph. i notice that 'corpsmam' and corpsmen' are capitalized inconsistently. we need to get them all the same. any thoughts? (and no cracks about how i'm one to talk!)

Merged ratings[edit]

Perhaps its worth mentioning in the history section that the Pharmacist and Dentalman ratings were merged with Hospitalman (the latter within the last few years). bahamut0013 20:13, 19 October 2008 (UTC)


What about the Corpsman's roll in the Marine Corps? I think this might be worth expanding. Wwelles14 (talk) 04:42, 19 November 2008 (UTC)


No references to Corpsmen forming the first ranks of Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants? Ks64q2 (talk) 05:45, 19 March 2009 (UTC)


why does the article consistently use the singular form, where the context obviously refers to the plural? if this is some special rule, i was unaware of it when i was a corpsman. at that time, (and, no, the ships were not wooden), the plural of corpsman was, as you might expect, corpsmen. if this does represent some special case, note needs be made of it, lest we look like idiots who don't know that the plural of man is men. otherwise, it wants changing throughout.Toyokuni3 (talk) 17:22, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

You are undoubtedly correct, you should not have asked. The singularization of the plural in this article is atrocious. --< Nicht Nein! (talk) 18:34, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

The One Called Doc[edit]

i have to question the appropriateness of this poem appearing here at all. this is an encyclopedia, not a compendium of poetry. don't get me wrong, i have nothing against the poem. (actually that's not's pretty sappy sentimental, and not likely to win any awards for finely crafted verse, either.) but is every article in wikipedia on a topic about which poetry has been written to have said poetry included? shall we tack the 'charge of the light brigade' onto the cavalry article, the artillery article and the crimean war article? how about the entirety of 'the raven' onto the article on that species? god only knows what is to become of the articles on poets! (headline: shakespeare article expanded exponentially by inclusion of entire output of sonnets.)Toyokuni3 (talk) 14:20, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

To all who read this poem: The poem on this page is NOT my poem. It starts out as mine but then someone put in the rest AND VIOLATED MY COPYRIGHT! My poem was written and copyrighted in 1975 and has been given the Editor's Choice Award by the National Library of Poetry. Whoever did this on this page made a mockery of hospital corpsmen. The actual title of the poem is I'M THE ONE CALLED DOC AND THIS IS HOW IS GOES: "I SHALL NOT WALK IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS BUT I WILL WALK BY YOUR SIDE. I SHALL NOT WALK IN YOUR IMAGE, I'VE EARNED MY OWN TITLE OF PRIDE. WE'VE ANSWERED THE CALL TOGETHER, ON SEA AND FOREIGN LAND. WHEN THE CRY FOR HELP WAS GIVEN, I'VE BEEN THERE RIGHT AT HAND. WHETHER I AM ON THE OCEAN ON IN THE JUNGLE WEARING GREENS, GIVING AID TO MY FELLOW MAN, BE IT SAILORS OR MARINES. SO THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE A CORPSMAN AND YOU THINK OF CALLING HIM SQUID, THINK OF THE JOB HE'S DOING, AS THOSE BEFORE HIM DID. AND IF YOU EVER HAVE TO GO OUT THERE, AND YOUR LIFE IS ON THE BLOCK, LOOK AT THE ONE RIGHT NEXT TO YOU... I'M THE ONE CALLED "DOC" BY HMC HARRY D. PENNY, JR., USN (c) 1975 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Since the article contains a copyright notice for the version that's been up here, and given the objection above, I've pulled that portion out of the article. If anyone disagrees, please discuss it here, Nuujinn (talk) 21:50, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

HR- still in existence?[edit]

Wondering if Hospitalman Recruit has more than a nominal existence any more, since all sailors are now promoted to E-2 when they graduate from boot camp? Or can it happen as a result of a really bad morning at Captain's Mast? Solicitr (talk) 02:35, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Not all sailors are advanced to E-2 after bootcamp has a rule for all navy its 9-9-6. Which means nine months from E-1 to E-2, nine more to E-3 and six months before they can take the petty officer exam. Now some sailors can be advanced to E-2 or E-3 in bootcamp but thats either if they do well in the navy PRT (Physical requirement test) . did well on the tests or became EPO (Educational Petty Officer). Or lastly at the chief's discretion. Joseph Mitchell Hopitalman 8404

HR's and HA's still exist. Sailors must still perform time-in-rate in order to advance paygrades. Corpsmen graduate from METC as HR's if they have not fulfilled time in rate. -HM Student — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

In what capacity do hospital corpsmen serve?[edit]

Are they - or can they be - nurses, paramedics, physicians, first responders...? Apokrif (talk) 15:42, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Training Section[edit]

This article does not describe the basic training all US Navy Hospital Corpsmen (HM Rating) must go through (the Navy A-School). The article only described the advanced HM8404 C-School that is optional to qualified sailors after A-School.

Navy HM A-School is currently located in Fort Sam Houston, TX, Joint Base San Antonio. At METC (Medical Education Training Campus), Navy students are trained in classes combined with Air Force Medic Technician students. Air Force students become NREMT qualified EMTs while Navy students receive the same training but do not become NREMT certified.

-HM Student — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:36, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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