September 11, 2012 - Motivated to better his life and receive an
education, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ricky Lattimore, a corpsman with
3rd platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat
Team 6, enlisted in the Navy a month after graduating high school.
He is currently on his first deployment for an approximate seven
months in Afghanistan. Photo by USMC Cpl. Mark Garcia
COMBAT OUTPOST SHIR GHAZAY, Afghanistan (9/10/2012) – As a senior
in high school, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ricky Lattimore made
the decision to serve his country. One month after his May 2008
graduation, he was on his way to basic training.
corpsman with 3rd platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion,
Regimental Combat Team 6, joined the Navy in an effort to better his
life. After playing football and basketball since his sophomore
year, he did not receive a scholarship to play sports in college.
Unable to afford continuing his education, he enlisted in the Navy.
“After my senior year, I didn't get a scholarship to play
football or the chance to go to acting school,” said Lattimore, from
Dublin, Ga. “My mom couldn't afford to pay for it, so I had to
figure out a plan to get out of there. At the same time, I had to
get an education. One day I met a Navy recruiter who had stopped by
my job. He asked me if I wanted to join the Navy, and I was all for
it after that.”
Not wanting a manual labor job, Lattimore
decided to get a job in the Navy that would challenge him mentally.
“I didn't want some kind of hard labor job. Instead I was looking
for a job where I would need to work with my mind,” Lattimore said.
“When they offered me the corpsman job, I thought it
would be a challenge. I've always liked helping people out too,
so what better way to do that than providing medical care. It seemed
like the perfect job for me.”
As a corpsman, Lattimore has been able to work both as a
“blue side” and “green side” corpsman. “Blue side” corpsmen
primarily work with the Navy at military hospitals and clinics while
“green side” corpsmen work alongside Marines.
“I was ‘blue
side,' and during that time I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan,
working at the Naval hospital. I loved it out there, the environment
and the people were so nice,” Lattimore said. “After I was done, I
had the choice to go on a ship or ‘go green side.' I didn't want to
really go on a ship, and getting the chance to work with Marines
kind of intrigued me.”
Since coming over to the “green side,”
Lattimore has been working with the Marines from 2nd Tank Bn.
“I love tanks. I've gotten to learn a lot about them just from
being stationed with them,” Lattimore said. “Being with tanks on
this deployment has been very interesting. I mean, there might be a
firefight or something going on, but once the insurgents see the
tanks, they usually cease all hostile acts. I'd rather not go
anywhere else, I'd like to just stay with tanks the whole time on
I'm on the ‘green side.'”
To deal with being separated from
his loved ones, Lattimore takes time to zone out while listening to
“The best way that I've found to cope with being away
from my friends and family is just to find a nice little space where
I can listen to some music and kind of zone out for a few minutes,”
Lattimore said. “I like to just forget everything that's happening
around me, and everything is usually all right after I do that.”
Since enlisting in the Navy, Lattimore has wanted to deploy.
“I've always wanted to go to Afghanistan just so I could say I
served my country and did my part.”
Lattimore's daily tasks
include caring for and looking after the Marines in his platoon and
going on any combat operations where he might be needed.
Lattimore is pretty laid back. He knows his job real well, and he's
a great mentor. He definitely looks after us and makes sure we're
all doing alright,” said Sgt. Guensly Dorisca, 3rd platoon, Bravo
Co., 2nd Tank Bn. “In the Marine Corps community we have corpsmen,
but I've never worked with a corpsman like him before. I mean he's
part of the platoon. Everything we do, he's always a part of it.”
By USMC Cpl. Mark Garcia
Comment on this article