Photo Information

050917-M-2607O-001 CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Navy Lt. Craig C. Benson, battalion medical officer, 2d Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment, checks a patients leg during a sick call visit at the Battalion Aid Station on Camp Fallujah. The corpsmen and the BAS handle almost all the medical issues for the battalion unless they need to get higher medical attention.

Photo by Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

Corpsmen with 2/2 stand by their Marines

21 Oct 2005 | Pfc. Chistopher J. Ohmen 2nd Marine Division

“Corpsman up!” is the first thing that comes to a Marine’s mind when one of his buddies is wounded. With the Navy medical personnel in the battalion spread out over the unit’s area of operation, the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, know help is close by if someone gets hurt. “Any slow days are good days at the Battalion Aid Station,” said Navy Lt. Craig C. Benson, the battalion medical officer. With a battalion of Marines to take care of, there is never a day when there isn’t at least one patient getting treated. The medical officers advise the commanding officer on all health-related issues that arise in his area, not only causalities. Dealing with everything from routine medical checkups to administering emergency care at a moment’s notice has ensured the Navy personnel here are part of the family in the battalion. “We are always doing training to make sure that we are ready for any kind of medical emergency that may come our way,” said Navy Lt. Mark G. Banks, the battalion surgeon. As part of making Iraq a sovereign and independent nation, the medical staff of the battalion are working with Iraqi Army soldiers, providing training and care so they can build their own medical staff. “It might take a while to get them up to speed, but once they can care for themselves it will be a big step toward their goals,” Banks said. If a Marine or sailor is seriously wounded in the field and needs to go to Fallujah Surgical, the patient is tracked so that the command knows exactly where the Marine is and the state of his condition. This includes patients that get transported to other medical facilities in Europe or back in the states. Until the Marine is released and returned back to the unit, the medical personnel track the patient’s medical progress and continues to apprise the command of his status. With all the different tasks the battalion aid station performs in such a large area, their work is never done. When something happens that they have never faced before, they tackle the problem and create a new standard operating procedure that includes the solution. “We are providing the best medical care possible in an always changing environment,” said Chief Petty Officer Lester M. Wellmaker, the battalion medical chief.