1/23 Doc puts the Corps in corpsman

17 Oct 2004 | Cpl. Randy Bernard

Navy corpsmen are the first responders to trauma victims in the field, often saving the lives of their Marine partners.Petty Officer 2nd Class Dwayne McBryde, the platoon corpsman for scout sniper platoon, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, is more than just a medical aide for his sniper teammates. He spent 10 years as a machine gunner for the Marine Corps, and then eights years as a civilian paramedic before reenlisting in the Navy.McBryde, 39, a native of The Woodlands, Texas, was honorably discharged in 1994 as a sergeant, having served most of his time aboard ship. After his discharge, McBryde went to work with The Woodlands Fire Department. McBryde went from working as a Marine Corps machine gunner stationed out of Camp Pendleton, to a paramedic gaining several years of experience in the streets helping trauma victims and saving lives. Seeing the tragedy of September 11, McBryde decided to enter the military again."I was going back into the military to serve my country one way or another," said McBryde. "I came back into the military one month after 9/11. I felt it was my responsibility."While he was completing his entrance tests for the Marine Corps reserves, he was approached by a chief petty officer who was conducting physicals at the Military Entrance Processing Station. "He had heard that I was a paramedic and suggested the idea of becoming a corpsman for the Marines," said McBryde. "I had to think about it for a week before I was able to make my decision. "At the time I had gained lots of experience as a paramedic. It was something I was good at. I thought I could contribute more saving Marines' lives as a corpsman than being a machine gunner."McBryde reenlisted into the Navy as a petty officer second class. He was able to attain the rank due to his time in the Marine Corps and his knowledge of the medical field. He then attended field medical school at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he graduated as the platoon commander of his class."I attribute my time in the Marine Corps for the leadership skills to get that position in my class," said McBryde. "I also attribute my time as an infantryman into making me a better corpsman. (In the Marine Corps) I was a team leader, squad leader, and even a platoon sergeant. It helped me to better operate with the Marines as a corpsman."He spent two and half years in the Navy but still feels more like a Marine than a corpsman. "I am treated more like a Marine with medical skills, and they respect me more for my time in the Marine Corps," said McBryde.McBryde spent six months with Company A, 1/23, RCT-7, where his reputation as a knowledgeable corpsman led to his reassignment to the scout sniper platoon. He has been with the snipers ever since."I have attended all of their training to ensure I know how to do all of the things that they do, like spotting, range estimation and marksmanship skills, so that I could blend in with them."McBryde uses his knowledge and connection with Marines to teach them life saving skills."I have trained them medically, they are all combat trauma qualified and have received advanced first aid training," said McBryde.The team of scout snipers is grateful to have a corpsman with McBryde's vast knowledge and experience as part of the team.Because of his prior enlistment as a Marine and his civilian career as a paramedic, he has more experience than most active duty corpsmen, according to Gunnery Sgt. Timothy J. Dowd, platoon commander for the scout snipers. Having him around is very reassuring.Dowd, 39, a native of Allen, Texas, has trust in his corpsman that he will get the job done. "He is a corpsman first, and I am sure he could save lives," said Dowd. "As a former Marine, not only can he save lives, but he can take lives."For now saving lives is the focus of McBryde's career, overseas and at home."I plan on doing my time over here, and then heading back to the firehouse," said McBryde.