CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul A. Haggerty came to Iraq to serve with the Marines – but now he’s making it official.
Haggerty and the other sailors with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, gathered in a formation to become the newest inductees into the Fleet Marine Force certification as their pins were placed on their chests.
In July of 2000 the Navy enlisted personnel adopted a new tradition, the FMF pin. This certification recognizes Haggerty and his fellow sailors who have taken time out of their everyday schedule on combat patrols to master 14 subjects including Marine Corps history and different weapons systems and their maintenance.
“We went to the Battalion Aid Station where they held mock boards and helped us prepare for what we would see on the official tests,” explained the Freeport, N.Y., native.
The corpsmen of every company in the battalion are an important asset to maintaining a healthy and stable work environment according to Capt. Ed. Nevgloski, Weapons Company Commander.
The pin shows they know their Marines they serve with and what it is they do on a daily basis. The corpsmen earn this pin by passing written, oral and practical exams. They go through tests on weapons handling and firing, using a field radio, and knowing how to successfully navigate themselves in different terrain.
“All of us having it (FMF pin) show our dedication to duty and it also shows the Marines that we know more than just the medical parts of our job,” Haggerty explained.
Haggerty and the other sailors spent a considerable amount of time learning the knowledge it takes to become certified. They spend time with the Marines they work with along with quizzing each other and working with the BAS training petty officer.
“We spend at least two to three hours per day working with and teaching the sailors,” explained Petty Officer 3rd Class Shandon E. Torres, BAS training petty officer. “It took me almost two years to get my pin and they have done it in five months or less.”
Haggerty is always on a busy schedule with his company as they are on the road everyday. With his collateral duties as a corpsman, the time he took paid off when he was finally able to display the pin on his uniform.
“The corpsmen is this company blend in and do what all the Marines do out there,” explained Nevgloski. “They have become force multipliers because they are an additional asset, giving us extra sets of eyes and ears.”
Time with the Marines is time well spent for Haggerty and the other corpsmen. He was able to learn what he needed to know for his qualification as well as continue learning more and more about his comrades.
The dedication of Haggerty and his fellow comrades is apparent in their sacrifice of personal time after patrolling and fighting the war against insurgency during Operation Iraqi Freedom to learn about the Marine Corps.
“The Marines have the utmost confidence that the corpsmen can take care of a wide range of injuries or casualties,” Nevgloski explained.