Special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman

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Special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman
United States Navy SARC Insignia.png
Issued byUnited States Navy
TypeEnlisted classification
SpecialtyUSSOF Medical

A special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman (SARC) is a United States Navy hospital corpsman who provides the Marine Special Operations reconnaissance teams and other USSOCOM units advanced trauma management associated with combatant diving and parachute entry. Traditionally, they are attached to the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance companies to help support the Command Element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in special reconnaissance missions. Lately however, due to a growing need for combat medics in the special operations community, SARCs are beginning to be utilized in almost all USSOCOM assets.

Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman[edit]

SARCs are trained and specialized in the same aspects of their Recon Marine and special operator counterparts: amphibious entry, deep recon and direct action. They are also capable of conducting detailed underwater ship-bottom searches. During operational status, the teams will then be dispersed evenly throughout the Marine recon platoons; usually one amphibious recon corpsman per platoon. SARCs have regularly acted as a point man, sharp shooter, radio operator, or even the team leader in the Marine recon teams/platoons. More recently, SARCs are being deployed with Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC), Naval Special Warfare and Army Special Forces units due to their highly advanced skills in combat trauma care and diving medicine.


The environments that Recon Marines and Recon Corpsmen face during a mission are usually hazardous. The Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen use their paramedic skills to provide advanced medical support and other emergency medical procedures related to the hazards of swimming, open and closed circuit SCUBA diving, and military freefall during amphibious reconnaissance operations. They also instruct and advise the recon Marines in prevention and treatment of illnesses, whether in combat or training.

The SARC has the duty of hyperbaric chamber operator: skilled in the operation of recompression chambers for hyperbaric treatment. They are also required to know laws and physics of diving, fundamentals of proper gas mixtures, theory and practice of decompression and the use of decompression tables.

  • Performs routine sick call, diagnostic patient care as well as associated operational, administrative, and logistical duties.
  • Performs basic anesthesia, minor surgical, basic clinical laboratory, basic radiology, and other routine and emergency health care procedures as required.
  • Performs advanced trauma procedures in a hostile or combat environment often independently behind enemy lines.
  • Instructs and advises junior medical and operational personnel in prevention and treatment of illness and injuries.
  • Recognizes all types of illnesses associated with diving to include oxygen toxicity and hypercapnia, nitrogen narcosis, type I and II decompression sickness and air/gas embolism.

Screening and training[edit]

As of 2015, a male hospital corpsman serving in the paygrades of E-1(Hospitalman Recruit) to E-6(Hospital Corpsman First Class) serving in any capacity may apply for candidacy. It is not required to be currently serving with a Fleet Marine unit to apply. Sailors currently attending Hospital Corpsman "A" School may enter the pipeline immediately without first serving time in the fleet by enrolling in the Special Operations Corpsman Program (SOCP), currently held at HM "A" School. This course is designed to prepare sailors for the lifestyle and training required of candidates applying for SARC, Dive Medical Technician (DMT), and Search-and-Rescue (SAR) programs. Marine Recon and the associated training pipeline is currently restricted to male applicants only as of 2015. Candidates must have a current ASVAB general technical score of 100 or higher. They also must have passed their last three physical fitness assessments and be able to achieve a first class swim qualification. A commanding officer endorsement is also required, no non-judicial punishments for 12 months and no courts-martial for 24 months. The extensive training requires a commitment to serve as a recon corpsman for a minimum of three years.

Occupational Classification[edit]

After completion of Phases 1 & 2 listed below, Corpsman will be awarded the NEC 8404. Following Phases 3-7, Corpsman will be awarded the NEC 8427, Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Corpsman. After completing the Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman (SOIDC) course, Corpsman possessing the NEC 8427 will be awarded the NEC 8403, Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Independent Duty Corpsman/SOIDC.[1]

  1. Navy Hospital Corpsman "A" School [Fort Sam Houston, TX] (19 weeks)
  2. Field Medical Training Battalion [Camp Pendleton, CA or Camp Lejeune, NC] (8 weeks)
  3. Marine Basic Reconnaissance Course [Camp Pendleton, CA and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, CA] (12 weeks)
  4. Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) [Stone Bay, North Carolina] (3 weeks) or [Naval Air Station North Island, CA] (3 weeks)
  5. USMC Combatant Diver Course [Panama City, FL] (35 Days)
  6. Army Airborne School [Fort Benning, GA] (3 weeks)
  7. Army Special Operations Combatant Medic Course (SOCM) [Fort Bragg, NC] (36 weeks)
  8. Navy Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman Course (SOIDC) (24 weeks) [Fort Bragg, NC]

Following this pipeline, corpsman will be assigned to one of the Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions, Force Reconnaissance, MARSOC, or other USSOCOM command in order to be placed with a specific unit. Upon placement, corpsman will receive specialized occupational training in order to become a more qualified component of a team. These training courses may include, but are not limited to; Scout Sniper, Breaching, Language School, Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC), and Mountaineering.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2009 AMPHIBIOUS RECONNAISSANCE CORPSMAN (ARC) CLASSES".[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]