IWAKUNI, Japan (6/15/2012) - Navy Corpsmen and guests gathered in
celebration of their 114th birthday here at the Club Iwakuni
Ballroom June 15, 2012.
Seaman Aaron Chrostowski (left) and Petty Officer Third Class
Andrew Barr, Robert M. Casey Branch Health Clinic corpsmen, stand
solemnly behind an empty chair during the Corpsman Ball in the Club
Iwakuni Ballroom here June 15, 2012. The table honors fallen
corpsmen. Photo by U.S. Navy Pfc. Nicholas Rhoades
“The overall mission of the ball is to help us remember
what our heritage is,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Luke R.
Peet, committee president and Robert M. Casey Branch Health
Clinic preventative medical technician. “There are a lot of
junior sailors here at the clinic, so it's that one day a
year to take time from the clinic and to reflect on
everything that is related to the overall awesomeness of
The corpsmen displayed many
traditions in their ball, including the bell to represent
high ranking officers entering or exiting the deck, a
cake-cutting ceremony, an empty chair to represent fallen
corpsmen and a recitation of the Corpsman Pledge.
“When a corpsman graduates ‘A'
school, he recites the Corpsman Pledge and the pledge brings
up everything that you need to do your job correctly,” said
Peet. “Every year at the Corpsmen Ball, we renew that oath
that we took so it can remind us of what we need to do to
accomplish the mission and fill the role of being a United
States Navy corpsmen.” Corpsmen all work toward the same
goal, but perform a variety of tasks in order to complete
their mission of keeping service members healthy and mission
“The corpsmen rate is unlike any other
billet or specialties in the military. Only corpsmen are
trained to do all the different things they can do,” said
Navy Capt. Shawn Niemann, Senior Medical Officer at Branch
Health Clinic. “Being the largest rate in the Navy, they can
do a multitude of tasks, from the most junior corpsman
assisting providers in a normal outpatient call, all the way
up to being the only medical provider on a ship or out with
Marines and doing all kinds of subspecialty type of jobs.”
Some of the sub-specialty jobs corpsmen perform include
preventative medicine, pharmacist technician, radiology
technician, and other specialties depending on where a
corpsmen is stationed and his or her training skill set.
A corpsman's job will change profoundly depending on
where they are in the field, meaning aboard ships, with
Marines on the ground, or in garrison. It is the difference
between a clinic, full-sized hospital or whether they work
alone, in a group, or a full team providing one vital
mission, said Niemann.
The Corpsman Ball is an old
tradition used to pay respects for their history and what
every corpsman can accomplish on a daily basis.
ceremony truly represents the hard work that Navy corpsmen
have done in the past and all the responsibilities we have
to live up to,” said Seaman Seth B. Anderson, corpsman.
Anderson said it was great to see such a variety of people
from around base come out to show respect for what corpsmen
do. “I had an amazing time being able to celebrate another
great and successful year, not only for the clinic, but also
for all the Navy corpsmen around the world, past, present
By U.S. Navy Pfc. Nicholas Rhoades
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