Photo Information

Seaman Christian Adkins, corpsman, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, crosses a canal during Operation Gospand-Sia in the Sangin Valley District, July 11, 2012. The Afghan-led operation was scheduled for 48 hours, but ANSF destroyed several IEDs and one weapons cache and cleared all of their objectives in less than 16 hours. Adkins is from Athens, Texas.

Photo by Cpl. Mark Garcia

Texas native serves country by saving lives

17 Jul 2012 | Cpl. Mark Garcia

FORWARD OPERATING BASE JACKSON, Afghanistan – As a senior in high school, Navy Seaman Christian Adkins knew he wanted to serve his country. Two months after his graduation, he was on his way to basic training.

Adkins, corpsman, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, credits the drive to join the military to his mother and stepfather.

Adkins’ parents divorced when he was young, and after living with his father during his freshman and sophomore years in high school, he moved in with his mother and stepfather. They encouraged him to consider the military after high school.

“They knew just as well as I did that school wasn’t for me,” said Adkins, from Athens, Texas. “Not to say that they didn’t have faith in me, but they just knew I don’t do well in school. They wanted me to go into the military because they thought I would be successful in it.”

Adkins agreed that joining was right choice to make at that point in his life. He graduated from high school in June 2010 and was on his way to Navy basic training that August.

Adkins choose to become a corpsman.

“I wanted to do something in the medical field,” Adkins said. “I thought the Navy would be the best thing because there are so many options … Plus, being in the medical field is always something you can fall back on.”

Adkins said he would like to earn his nursing degree while still serving. He also wants to commission and becoming an officer in the medical field.

“There are a lot of programs in the Navy where you can go to school and get your degree,” Adkins said. ““I’ve wanted to become a nurse for a while and that provides me opportunity.”

As a corpsman, Adkins had two options who to work for. “Blue side” corpsmen primarily work with the Navy while “green side” corpsmen work alongside Marines. Adkins chose to go to the “green side.”

“The camaraderie with Marines is really cool. It’s like a close knit family,” Adkins said. “I worked as a ’blue side’ corpsman for a little bit, but the relationships you have with people are different there than here. You’ll always have life-long friends here.”

To cope from being away from his family, Adkins had his parents send him pictures of home.

“It helps me if I’m missing my parents or feeling homesick,” Adkins said.

Adkins has been on several patrols where they were fired upon by insurgents and has been in two firefights since arriving in Afghanistan. He has used his life-saving skills to help both Marine and Afghan patients.

“Here on the forward operating base, we’ve had two mass casualty events where we had to stabilize (Afghan) patients,” Adkins said. “A lot of trauma patients come in whether they are locals, Afghan Uniform Police or Afghan National Army soldiers who have stepped on improvised explosive devices or got shot. We do what we can to stabilize them.”

Adkins day-to-day tasks include looking after the Marines in his platoon and going on patrols.

“He looks after us and makes sure we’re all doing good. He’s a good corpsman. You can ask him anytime if you need any help with anything,” said Lance Cpl. Brett Sloan, team leader, 2nd platoon, from Pearland, Texas.