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Petty Officer 1st Class Michael P. Thomas raises his right hand while swearing the corpsman's oath during a ceremony celebrating the 108th Birthday of the United States Navy Hospital Corps in Al Asad, Iraq, June 17. The celebration honored the long history of the Hospital Corp's devoted ranks of sailors that provided lifesaving care to Marine and Sailor casualties in places like Iwo Jima, Vietnam and now Iraq. Thomas is the leading petty officer with Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and is a Manteca, Calif., native.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan K. Teslevich

Corpsmen celebrate 108th birthday

27 Nov 2007 | Lance Cpl. Brian J. Holloran

Navy corpsmen here were on hand to see some of their own promoted, receive their Fleet Marine Force pins and celebrate the 108th birthday of the Hospital Corps on the flight line at Al Asad, June 17.

Corpsmen Sean Aldridge and Elaine Kelly with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and Jules Degraff with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, MAG-16 (Reinforced), were promoted from the ranks of petty officer third class to petty officer second class.

They also received their Fleet Marine Force pins along with Seaman Timothy Davis, Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, MAG-16 (Reinforced); Seaman Jonathan Delaney, VMAQ-2, Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Reynolds, VMAQ-2; and Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Stauffer, VMGR-252.

"The Fleet Marine Force pin is earned by sailors who are attached with a Marine Corps unit," said Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel R. Jacobson, leading petty officer for the Medical Aid Station. "Once a sailor reports to a Marine unit, the sailor has 18 months to qualify for the pin. The process includes modules in Marine Corps history, tactical communications, field communications, weapons, land navigation, as well as nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Plus, since we are attached to the [Aviation] Combat Element, sailors need to know all about that, too."

To make the day even more memorable, the sailors conducted the promotions and pinnings on the 108th birthday of the Hospital Corps.

"Being pinned and promoted on the Hospital Corps' birthday was great just because I was with my peers," said Kelly, hospital corpsman, VMGR-352. "It showed us united in earning something we all worked so hard for. It may give those there who weren't corpsmen a little more appreciation for those named 'Doc' and what we do to be where we are."

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing