AL ASAD, Iraq -- Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Hall is a corpsman with the Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 explosive ordnance disposal team which is on call 24 hours a day and ready for anything at a moment’s notice.
It is essential to have corpsmen on the EOD team. They need to be around in case something doesn’t go as planned and someone needs emergency medical attention while operating here or in rural parts of the country.
“I’m attached to the team as their first line of medical care in the event something goes awry,” Hall said. “Our team is on call 24 hours a day. If we get a call at three in the morning we have to go. Our mission is vital to the safety of all service members that may come in contact with an improvised explosive device.”
The disposal team has two corpsmen attached to them so they are able to rotate shifts and calls.
“Usually just one of us goes with a portion of the team, but there have been cases when the whole team was called so both of us will accompany them on their mission,” said the 1998 graduate of Thomas C. Clark High School in San Antonio, Texas.
Hall joined the Work Horses and started preparing for this deployment in January 2005. He was selected to work with the EOD team because of his knowledge and combat experience gained when he supported of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 with 2nd Tank Battalion.
“Being an EOD corpsman is a big responsibility,” said Petty Officer 1st Class David Livesay, the assistant leading petty officer with MWSS-271. “Being a former disposal team corpsman, I was asked who I thought would be a good choice for the slot. Without hesitation I thought of Hall. He is the one I would want if I needed medical attention outside the wire.”
Working with Marines is something Hall has always enjoyed. From his time as a new corpsman at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., to serving aboard Camp Lejuene, N.C., and Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, Hall has loved the camaraderie of Marines.
“I think being a corpsman in the Fleet Marine Force is a great way to do a variety of things and advance your knowledge of the field,” Hall said. “Especially working with the explosive ordnance disposal team you get to know these Marines on a different level while fulfilling their many missions throughout the country.”
The corpsmen attached to explosive ordnance are more than just your average “doc.” When responding to a call they may assist the explosives experts in any part of the mission.
"Our corpsmen are an invaluable part of our team,” said Gunnery Sgt. Hal White, the disposal team officer-in-charge. “They have the ability to setup and operate any piece of gear we use. They lend a hand to us as well as stay alert to the entire situation in case they need to spring into action. They also carry weapons and provide extra security for our vehicles when we travel.”
While responding with the disposal team, Hall has the opportunity to interact with the local population and has noticed a change in attitude from the first time he was here.
“When I was here last time it seemed like a lot of the locals were unsure of what was going on,” Hall said. “Now more and more locals seem happy for us to be here. A surprising number of them know and understand English so we have been able to talk with them and the ones I have talked to said they support our mission and are grateful for our presence in the region.”
Having a corpsman who has experienced combat and knows how to react when the situation deteriorates is a welcome addition to any team. The knowledge and skill Hall brings to the fight are a rarity in Naval medicine. The Marines whose lives may depend on him are proud to have him alongside during every call.
*For more information about this story please contact Cpl. Herron at email@example.com*