Photo Information

Hit, Al Anbar, Iraq (August 4, 2005)--Minneapolis, Minn., native, Hospitalman 3rd Class Chan Vang, 32, with Company "I", 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment gives local children candy during a patrol stop. (Official USMC Photo by Corporal Ken Melton)

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

Minneapolis, Minn., native pounds the street providing care for 3/25

18 Aug 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

While patrolling through the streets of Iraq, Marines and sailors often find themselves under the watchful eyes of the city’s residents. One corpsman seems to receive more stares than anyone else. Petty Officer 3rd Class Chan Vang is only 4 feet 11 inches tall. However, height does not interfere with his job as a “devil doc” with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. “I feel like I work twice as hard when it comes to patrolling,” the Minneapolis, Minn., native said. “Along with the extra load I have to carry, I have to take extra steps to keep up, but it’s my choice to be here and I don’t mind.” Vang joined the Navy in 1998 with hopes of seeing the world and helping people along the way. He got his chance when he deployed to the hostile environment of Iraq’s Al Anbar province in March 2005. He and other medical personnel have helped dozens of people including other sailors, Iraqi civilians, Iraqi soldiers, and Marines on numerous occasions. One such occasion that he vividly remembers occured in May 2005 when a squad with Mobile Assault Platoon-7. The unit suffered losses when insurgents used a hospital as a refuge while they attacked the unit with small-arms fire and a suicide car bomb. “It was really hard to be trying to save people who you knew on a personal level,” the 1991 North Community High School graduate said. “I knew I had to be strong for them and they knew I would do the best job I could do.” Vang was assigned to I Company in July and began conducting patrols as part of a permanent military presence in the city of Hit. Though he is often frustrated by the enemy’s cowardice, he is still happy to be here helping the Iraqi people. As the missions continue, Vang knows his contributions are not overlooked and by helping the people of Iraq, they can form an organized and stable nation. He has seen fallen comrades from both services and his job as a “devil doc” requires him to fight alongside them and try to save as many lives as he can. “They treated me like another rifleman until someone got hurt or needed help and it was my time to shine as a corpsman,” Vang said smiling. “I thank them for treating me like an equal, like a Marine, in spite of my size.”