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Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan Jr., the commanding officer of I Marine Expeditionary Force, views a medical display at Field Medical Training Battalion West, following a graduation ceremony for Navy corpsmen at Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 22.

Photo by Cpl. Joshua Young

I MEF CG speaks at corpsmen graduation

22 Mar 2013 | Cpl. Joshua Young

Lt. General John A. Toolan Jr., the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force was a guest speaker for the newest graduating class of Navy corpsmen at Field Medical Training Battalion West, Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 22.

More than 250 corpsmen completed the eight-week corpsmen school, and were pinned with the Corpsmen Shield, which signifies they have become certified field medical technicians. Lt. Gen. Toolan spoke to the graduates and their families about the corpsmen he’s worked with over the years.

“In my 37 years in the Marine Corps I’ve come across some of the finest men wearing the corpsmen shield,” he said. “They were tough for a purpose. They served the Navy and the Marine Corps and gave of themselves constantly.”

The commanding general told stories of corpsmen he’s met or read about. He highlighted the importance and value of corpsmen with a strong upbringing.

“You’re people who are willing to serve others,” he said. “Those values don’t just naturally appear while you’re here, they start when you’re young.”

Lt. Gen. Toolan articulated the importance of the training the corpsmen have gone through. He spoke on current events and issues the military is currently involved in all over the world.

“The job you’re going to be facing and some of the crises you’re going to be enduring are going to require some tough people,” he said. “I believe the Marine Corps and the Navy have done a pretty good job of preparing you for it.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Kristopher Baskett, 27, from Mexico, Mo., an instructor with FMTB-West, was pleased his students received the opportunity to hear from the commanding general.

“I thought it was really great and inspiring for everyone to hear from someone who’s been in so long and who has worked with so many people,” Baskett said. “It’s great how fondly he thinks of corpsmen and how much respect someone at his rank and level has for someone like a corpsman. It really empowered me to think about what I can do to show these students that they’re going to make a difference and do great things.”

The commanding general met with students and instructors following the graduation ceremony. He thanked them for what they do and congratulated the new corpsmen on earning the shield.

“I wish you all the best of luck and I look forward to seeing you in the fleet,” said Lt. Gen. Toolan, at the end of his speech.