CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- A group of sailors walk through the halls of a Marine battalion headquarters with their heads held high. These sailors hold the title of corpsman, a moniker of medical and combat proficiency well respected throughout the Marine Corps.
Corpsmen with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, completed a three day competition titled the “Corpsman Cup” here, Oct. 25.
The competition included all “docs” within the battalion and tested medical skills used during combat, in garrison and on ship. The competition served a dual purpose in honing the sailors’ skills under pressure and providing a fun bonding experience.
“The Corpsman Cup builds camaraderie and esprit de corps for the corpsmen throughout the battalion,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas C. Belflower, the senior line corpsman for Weapons Co., BLT 2/4, 31st MEU, and a native of Boise, Idaho. “The cup is a friendly competition among all the corpsmen, giving some of them a chance to show their worth and see where they stack up when it comes to combat medicine.”
The Corpsman Cup began with a test of marksmanship, with each sailor shooting the Navy rifle qualification with the M16A4 service rifle. The following day, the corpsmen were tested physically during the Marine Corps’ Combat Fitness Test; an event consisting of a half-mile sprint, timed ammunition can lift and a maneuver under fire course. Although proficiency with a rifle and physical fitness is important for the “docs,” the main purpose of the corpsman is to provide medical care to the Marines within their unit.
“It is our job to make sure that the Marines are provided with the best medical care we can offer, on and off the battlefield ,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon J. Lovin, the assistant lead petty officer with headquarters and service company, BLT 2/4, 31st MEU.
The final event, scored by senior corpsmen and medical officers, tested the corpsmen’s abilities to provide combat casualty care and hospital care. The first scenario required the simulated treatment of a Marine who had been struck by an improvised explosive device. The second scenario took place in a hospital setting where corpsmen were tested on diagnosing patients during sick call.
Winners for each event were selected and the scores of all three events were combined to determine an overall winner.
The corpsman who achieved the highest cumulative score for the BLT 2/4 Corpsman Cup was Lovin from Denver, Colo. He received a plaque commemorating his 1st place finish and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps force in readiness for the Asia-Pacific region and is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU.