ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD -- In times of conflict, service members may be exposed to negativity and the very worst in people. Also in times of conflict, in the face of danger, a true American hero may be born.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Brian Thurmond, a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman with recon platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/1, was meritoriously promoted May 2 through the Navy Meritorious Combat Advancement Program for his actions while deployed to Iraq last year.
The program was created for commanders to nominate Navy personnel ranking E-1 through E-5 in recognition of extraordinary actions performed while engaged in, or in direct support of combat operations; much as a combat meritorious promotion is done for Marines.
During a Feb. 14, 2006 firefight, Thurmond rendered care to a wounded interpreter while under fire with no regard for his own safety. He continued to care for the wounded until the interpreter could be evacuated, recalls Gunnery Sgt. David Lind, Recon platoon sergeant.
“His conduct and efficiency in times when he was needed the most was impressive,” said Lind.
Thurmond, who has been a corpsman for 12 years, has been a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman for five years.
“The training is very hard and long training. It usually takes around 18 months or longer to get through all the training,” said Thurmond.
Training to become a SARC begins with Field Medical Service School followed by a Basic Reconnaissance Course, Marine Combatant Diver school and Airborne Basic school. Lastly corpsmen have to complete the Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen Course and the Special Operations Medicine Course to earn the job title of SARC.
“The training given in the courses makes it so that the corpsman in a platoon can perform all basic tasks just as the Marines would,” said Thurmond.
Thurmond’s actions and conduct while in Iraq did not go unnoticed. Lind and platoon commander Capt. Jason Armas felt Thurmond’s actions should be formally recognized.
“We felt that Thurmond was more than deserving of being recognized for the outstanding service member he is,” said Lind. “He set the example.”
The confident but humble “Devil Doc” credits his comrades for his success.
“I know that without the leadership and the fellow members of my platoon, I never would have made it this far,” said Thurmond. “We put our lives on the line for each other and there’s no greater group of guys to be doing it for.”
Thurmond is currently embarked on a Western pacific deployment with Battalion Landing Team 3/1, and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.