FORWARD OPERATING BASE PAYNE, Afghanistan -- Marines from 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion encountered multiple improvised explosive devices in Sangin District, Jan. 19. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Rogelio Saldana, a combat hospitalman for E Company, 3rd LAR, and native of El Paso, Texas, immediately assessed a Marine who complained of severe back pain after an IED blast. He was later evacuated to safety.
Combat hospitalman, like Saldana, stepped up for 3rd LAR and made a difference during the unit’s deployment, said 1st Sgt. Tony R. Murchison, E Company first sergeant and native of Raleigh, N.C.
While Marines are out seeking insurgents, their Navy brothers are right behind them ready to support them in some cases by saving their lives.
Their training shows on the battlefield, said Murchison. They provide immediate response and even pass on their knowledge to the Marines through combat life saving instructions.
The combat hospitalmen eat, sleep, and live with their fellow Marines.
“We treat our corpsman like he is one of us,” said Lance Cpl. Evan D. Mora, a scout for E Company’s headquarters platoon and native of Lubbock, Texas. “After witnessing them in action, you realize how much corpsmen care about their job and fellow Marines.”
The Marine Saldana treated in Sangin suffered fractured vertebrae. The quick response of corpsmen can be the difference between life and death, Murchison said.
“It is a pleasure to be out here serving alongside such hardworking Marines,” Saldana said. “I’m going to miss my time with them.”
Saldana, who has served with 3rd LAR since 2008, will be re-enlisting once he returns home in the hopes that he may serve alongside Marines again in the future.