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Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason C. Deguzman, 24, a corpsman with Team Mustang, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, holds a magazine on his favorite hobby, surfing, at Patrol Base Rio Grande, Iraq, May 10. The corpsman, whom the Marines with 2nd LAR nicknamed "Gus," from Santa Rosa, Calif., joined the Navy in March of 2004 at age of 20. He wanted to become a 'doc' for the experience of medical care and service to Marine infantrymen. Since his first deployment of three, he has been awarded two Bronze Star Awards, one with combat distinguishing device, a Purple Heart Award and a meritorious promotion to his present rank.

Photo by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

Highly decorated corpsman continues service

11 May 2008 | Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

Navy corpsmen have provided loyal and sacrificial service towards Marines on the front lines for 234 years. They go wherever and whenever needed to ensure the safety and well-being of those they are entrusted to care for.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason C. Deguzman, a corpsman with Team Mustang, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, has gone above and beyond performing those duties.

“Being a corpsman, your job is to save the lives of the Marines in combat,” said Deguzman. “You make friends that someday you will have to care for.”

The corpsman, whom the Marines with 2nd LAR nicknamed “Gus, ” joined the Navy in March of 2004 at age of 20. He wanted to become a “doc” for the experience of medical care and service to Marine infantrymen.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse or a doctor,” said Deguzman, 24, from Sante Rosa, Calif. “I knew that becoming a Navy corpsman would be the first step for me.”

After boot camp and field medicine course, Deguzman checked into 2nd LAR to be a line corpsman for Charlie Company in the spring of 2005 and embarked on his first deployment.

While in Iraq, he experienced numerous engagements, including one week of events that would change his life forever.

“On May 13, 2005, a bus full of Iraqi civilians hit one of our light armored vehicles causing a mass casualty of more than thirty people, including two Marines and one corpsman,” said Deguzman, as he glanced at his watch realizing it was four days until the anniversary. “It’s a part of my job I wasn’t expecting, nor ever wanted.”

He, along with combat life savers, or Marines specialized in immediate treatment tactics, assisted in treating every casualty. The actions from that day earned him his first of two Bronze Star Awards. The week of events was only half way done for the brave young corpsman.

“Two days after the bus accident, we were patrolling down the road until my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device,” Deguzman said. “I received a purple heart for a broken nose and bruised up legs.”

“That deployment was hard because we were always out and I hated seeing my friends hurt,” he added after glancing at the floor.

Deguzman would move on from there to deploy on two more combat tours, including the tour he’s conducting now. Since his first deployment, he’s been awarded his second Bronze Star Award, this one with a combat distinguishing device, and meritoriously promoted to his present rank.

“I’ve known (Deguzman) since January of 2005, and so far, we’ve had a very eventful time together,” said Cpl. Jesse H. Gilmer, a scout section leader with Team Mustang. “He’s got a heart of gold and wants to help anyone who needs it.”

He added that anytime he was in trouble or needed a good friend, Deguzman would always be there.

Although Deguzman has received two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and is commonly referred to as a “war hero,” he remains extremely humble. According to Deguzman, he was just being a corpsman performing his responsibilities.

“I’ve never liked being in the spotlight,” he said. “In the military, you meet people that will protect you with their lives, and I was just doing my job to protect them.”

The highly decorated corpsman plans to leave the Navy and pursue a career as a doctor or a nurse to continue his service in what he knows best: medicine. He also desires to become more involved in his hobby, surfing along the California coast.

“I feel proud and happy because I served and protected my friends and family back home,” Deguzman said. “I love taking care of people; it feels good knowing that I helped or saved that man’s life.”


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