Being a platoon medic is one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs in the military. You are expected to go above and beyond to render care to the sick and wounded troops — under some insane environmental conditions.
Through selfless sacrifices, platoon medics create a special, lifelong bond with the brave infantryman they have the pleasure of serving alongside. Being called “Doc” by the men that trust you with their lives is an absolute privilege, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. Although the occupation has tons of upsides, these 4 downsides are tough to swallow.
Here’s some Motrin for you, and don’t forget to change your socks.
Photos by Cpl. Bryan Nygaard
You never know how much gear to bring
Medical gear can weigh a freakin’ ton. Many docs in the field carry bandages of various sizes, several bags of I.V. solution, and a few sterile surgical instruments with them as they trek through the enemy’s backyard. The problem is, there’s no surefire way to predict how much of everything you’ll need to cover your troops — especially in the event of a mass-causality situation.
Showing weakness shakes confidence
Although medics and corpsmen are only human, it’s not okay for any of them to get sick or injured. You’ll come down with something eventually, and when you do, it sucks to see the rest of the boys lose a little confidence in themselves knowing their favorite “pecker checker” is going to be out of the fight for a while.
Most grunts only want their doc to work on them, not a stranger.[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FVCQxMPl8nHP1u.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=694&h=848420544ad61a6167b88751aef2a2c7d568d5fb08a8d175c7e4ded2530334ed&size=980x&c=1009388564 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FVCQxMPl8nHP1u.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D694%26h%3D848420544ad61a6167b88751aef2a2c7d568d5fb08a8d175c7e4ded2530334ed%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1009388564%22%7D” expand=1]
It is a delicious treat, though.
Your boys leaving to get “ice cream”
“Getting some ice cream” is a phrase grunts use as a nice way to reference one of their brothers- or sisters-in-arms needing to be medevaced to a hospital.
“He’ll be okay, Cpl. Jackson just left for some ice cream.”
This term became very popular after Forrest Gump offered Lt. Dan a cone while they recovered in an American hospital in Vietnam.
HM3 Christopher Hogans treats a dog bite on a local Afghan man’s hand during a security patrol in Khowst Province, Afghanistan. The Marines and sailors of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines is conducting security and stabilization operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
(Photo by Marine Cpl. James L. Yarboro)
Treating the enemy
Corpsmen are required, by The Gevena Convention, to treat everyone — even the bad guys — if they’re brought before them. You knew it was part of the job when you took the corpsman’s oath, but it stings to help the guy who might try to hurt you and your men later.