Hospital Corpsmen Aboard USNS Mercy Celebrate 114th Birthday

Hospital corpsmen aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) took time out from Pacific Partnership 2012 to join hundreds of caregivers around the world in celebrating the 114th birthday and rich history of the Hospital Corps, June 17.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Amber Bretzer said she is proud to show everyone aboard Mercy what it means to be a corpsman.

“We share similar job titles with other medical providers on the ship,” Bretzer said, “but we do not all share a common history. [Hospital corpsmen] are the most decorated corps in the [Navy], dating back to the revolutionary war.”

Bretzer said the corpsmen mission has evolved since it’s beginning.

“We haven’t always been called corpsmen,” she said, “but what we have done throughout the years has been the same. The difference is that we are able to spread care to more people and are able to work independently.”

She added that their mission has moved from just taking care of the sick and wounded in the field and on the water.

“We are also there back at home, taking care of the families of those out at sea and in the field,” Bretzer said. “It is just as important to provide them with great care, and it also lets them know who is out there for their loved ones.”

Pacific Partnership is an example of the evolution of a Navy corpsman, added Bretzer. It shows how versatile corpsmen can be.

We can work in any condition anywhere in the world,” she said. “That is what makes us what we are.”

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is a U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental agencies and international organizations designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Naval Today Staff, June 19, 2012