Corpsmen serving aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) celebrated the 114th anniversary of the Hospital Corps on June 17.
The USNS Mercy is currently participating in Pacific Partnership 2012, currently in its 7th year. The Pacific Partnership is a U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission designed by the United States military, host and partner nations, non-governmental agencies, and international organizations. It hopes to build stronger relationships, as well as disaster response capabilities, in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Amber Bretzer proudly shared what it meant to be a corpsman, saying: “We share similar job titles with other medical providers on the ship, 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 went on to say: “We haven’t always been called corpsmen, 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.”
Bretzer also shared that the mission of the Hospital Corps has evolved over its 114-year history, moving from just taking care of the sick and the wounded in the field and on the water, to taking care of the families of those who are serving at sea and on the field who are left behind at home: “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.”