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View Full Version : Need Help with Hospital Corpsmen Character (Or something for the Military Buffs)



Emermouse
04-21-2016, 06:02 AM
I am probably fussing over this way too much, especially since only a eensy bit my research, makes it into the final product. But that's the kind of anal-retentive person I am. Spend ages researching a topic only to use maybe one percent of what I research. But it helps me construct a clear picture in my head, so the readers can parse it all out.

Anyway, I have a rough sketch for a character. Basically, he served as a hospital corpsmen in a war, was injured, and commended for his service, but eventually came home, used a G.I. Bill to go to college and later medical school and become a surgeon. Basically settled down, got married, had a kid, and more or less led a normal life. Generally says little if anything about his time in the service.

But it's the little things I'm getting tripped up on. I've been using Wikipedia as my starting place (I know it's not the most accurate source ever, but it's a good place to start), but I keep trying to figure out stuff like ranks, what jobs a person at said rank would do, and of course, what medals would he be eligible for? Because of my hippie-ish leanings, about the only one I've heard of and know the criteria for, is the Purple Heart, which is award for those hurt or killed in the line of duty. Don't want to go as far up the line as the Medal of Honor, but it'd be nice to expand my knowledge a little. Learning is always good!

Haggis
04-21-2016, 06:34 AM
I am probably fussing over this way too much, especially since only a eensy bit my research, makes it into the final product. But that's the kind of anal-retentive person I am. Spend ages researching a topic only to use maybe one percent of what I research. But it helps me construct a clear picture in my head, so the readers can parse it all out.

Anyway, I have a rough sketch for a character. Basically, he served as a hospital corpsmen in a war, was injured, and commended for his service, but eventually came home, used a G.I. Bill to go to college and later medical school and become a surgeon. Basically settled down, got married, had a kid, and more or less led a normal life. Generally says little if anything about his time in the service.

But it's the little things I'm getting tripped up on. I've been using Wikipedia as my starting place (I know it's not the most accurate source ever, but it's a good place to start), but I keep trying to figure out stuff like ranks, what jobs a person at said rank would do, and of course, what medals would he be eligible for? Because of my hippie-ish leanings, about the only one I've heard of and know the criteria for, is the Purple Heart, which is award for those hurt or killed in the line of duty. Don't want to go as far up the line as the Medal of Honor, but it'd be nice to expand my knowledge a little. Learning is always good!

I guess the first place I'd go is to make sure you know that your corpsman was actually a sailor, and not a soldier. He was likely attached to a Marine Corps unit, so whatever medals that unit might have earned, he would have as well.

Now, if your military guy was actually a soldier, then he was a medic and not a corpsman. So...it's important to make those distinctions clear. There are a lot of potential readers who know the difference.

Duncan J Macdonald
04-22-2016, 06:37 AM
Here is a reference for you -- Hospital Corpsman 3 & 2 Rate Training Manual

(http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/virtual_disk_library/index.cgi/4931363/FID2617/DATA/operationalmed/manuals/hm32/toc.htm)Please note that in order to go to war and be wounded in combat, your corpsman would have to be qualified FMF (Fleet Marine Force).

R/
Duncan (USN (ret))

GeorgeK
04-22-2016, 02:27 PM
It also might be pertinent for you to know that it is a 2 year process to get into medical school. If you wanted to speed things up maybe your character got accepted before the war and was granted a deferred enrollment. Some schools will do that. Med school will be a minimum of 4 years. There isn't a way to speed that up at least not during the last 2 years because those are based on time put in. there is no way to "test out." The same goes for Residency, which in the case of a general surgeon (the shortest surgical residency) is five years. At some institutions it will be longer because they require additional years of research. Whatever institute you mention if any, you should check with them on the length of time for that residency.

So you are realistically talking 11 years post discharge when your character is out and practicing. The time setting is also important. When I did residency we had every other night call. That is absolutely brutal and very few marriages survive having one of the partners in residency. Laws have changed things so that it's not as brutal now, but it's still pretty harsh. Taking that into consideration also understand that the residencies know how bad it is and may not accept a candidate just on the basis of age. If they think the person's age will be a factor in them being able to do the work, they won't rank them for the match.

Trebor1415
04-25-2016, 01:02 AM
If he was in the army, he'd be a medic, not a corpseman. If he was with the Marines, he'd be a Navy Hospital Corpseman attached to the Marines. |

Just clarifying as not everyone gets the difference.

Duncan J Macdonald
05-13-2016, 06:14 AM
If he was in the army, he'd be a medic, not a corpseman. If he was with the Marines, he'd be a Navy Hospital Corpseman attached to the Marines. |

Just clarifying as not everyone gets the difference.

Just remember it is "corpsman" not "corpseman".

Haggis
05-13-2016, 06:49 AM
Just remember it is "corpsman" not "corpseman".

One hopes he's not a corpseman, but we had a lot of them as well. :(

CetiAlphaVI
05-15-2016, 01:10 AM
The medals might depend heavily on the time/era he was active duty. For instance there were certain GWOT(Global War on Terrorism) medals given to everyone that served in the post 9-11 time frame(and I think they might still be giving those out). There are certain ones they no longer give out. Some are for shipboard personnel only. He'll probably have the basic marksmanship ones, and several others, maybe a NAM(Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal) or the equivalent Army medal. You'll need to pin down a real world time frame for him what service, he was in and then compare it with research on what some of the medals are for. You should be able to find a list online. I would consider building a mock ribbon/medal bar on paper, then if possible, find someone from that time frame in that service to confirm that everything jives.

As far as the medical schooling and the persons that mentioned the 11 years or so it would take... The GI Bill only covers so much and there are a couple different versions of it. You can at the most expect a 4 year degree out of any of them. If the GI Bill is pertinent to your story, you need to find another source for the other 5 or so years. I could recommend that he got his associates paid out of pocket before he went in the service. That would cover 2 years. Maybe some scholarships or Tuition Assistance from a job after his GI Bill runs out? Avoid giving him a 4 year degree before the service though, as then it would have been smarter to go in as an officer at which point you lose the whole Corpsman thing.

I got my Associates, then did 6 years in the US Navy, shipboard mostly. Then I used my GI Bill for 2 years to get my Bachelors in Graphic Design, and I'm going for my Master's in Computer info sys right now. My GI Bill will run out before I finish.