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Seaman Joshua Shoemake, a hospital corpsman with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, finishes taking a Marine’s blood pressure at the Headquarters Battalion Aid Station aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. July 22, 2011. The 24-year-old Shoemake hopes to use the experience he is gaining at the BAS and apply it in theater during a potential deployment to Afghanistan.

Photo by Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde

Phoenix native, motivator shines at HQ Bn. BAS

25 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde

“Motivator” is an often-used term in the military to describe individuals who relentlessly seek self-improvement – go-getters who take initiative rather than sitting on the sideline, waiting to be told what to do. These exceptional individuals distinguish themselves from their peers by giving 100 percent effort every day, doing what is best for their unit.

Seaman Joshua Shoemake, a hospital corpsman with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, is one of these special individuals – one of these motivators. He has impressed his leadership since arriving to the Headquarters Battalion Aid Station earlier this year by showing he is hard-working and reliable.

“(Hospitalman) Shoemake is one of our top sick call screeners here in the battalion,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Sheldon Rafique, the assistant leading petty officer for Headquarters Bn. “He does outstanding triage.”

Shoemake’s prowess at assessing and managing patients during sick call is even more impressive considering that he has only been working in a clinical setting since arriving to the BAS in January. Before this, Shoemake had spent the majority of his military career in training settings, first by attending the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL school and then by spending time at the Basic Reconnaissance Course.

“I’ve always wanted to be a Navy SEAL and that didn’t pan out for me so this was an excellent option for me to further my medical knowledge,” said Shoemake. “When I first got here, I had never done sick call. I had come from training commands so I never really did medical. Learning through experiences here, just seeing people with different symptoms every day, (has helped.)”

Recently, Shoemake’s command put the 24-year-old in charge of the battalion’s medical readiness while two of the BAS’ corpsmen were on leave – not a small task considering the BAS is responsible for the care of approximately 1,400 Marines.

“Without skipping a beat, (Shoemake) took charge – he got a good turnover and ran with it,” said a proud Rafique. “He kept medical readiness exactly where it needed to be without any discrepancies for the two weeks that those two gentlemen were on leave.”

In the short-term, Shoemake hopes to deploy to Afghanistan. He plans on taking the knowledge he is learning now and applying it in theater when he finally receives the call to go overseas.

“I haven’t gotten a deployment yet, but I’m working on it,” said Shoemake. “Once I get to a line company and I’m on my own, I feel like I’ll have a lot more experience from this place.”

Down the road, Shoemake aspires to return to BUD/S training to become a corpsman for the SEALS. With his training background, clinical experience, potential deployment experience and positive attitude, this motivator is positioning himself nicely to complete the required training to become one of the Navy’s elite.

“(Shoemake) is a hard-worker, eager to learn and just has a general thirst for knowledge for improving both his medical knowledge base and technical skills needed to be a corpsman,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Shepherd, the Headquarters Bn. surgeon. “From everything I’ve seen from him, he certainly could be qualified to go back there someday and serve in a medical capacity with the SEALs.”