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I MEF provides the Marine Corps a globally responsive, expeditionary, and fully scalable Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), capable of generating, deploying, and employing ready forces and formations for crisis response, forward presence, major combat operations, and campaigns. 

 

7th Engineer Support Battalion Squad Competition
1st Marine Logistics Group
Sept. 10, 2021 | 0:56
7th Engineer Support Battalion Squad Competition
1st Marine Logistics Group
Sept. 10, 2021 | 0:56
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7th Engineer Support Battalion Squad Competition
7th Engineer Support Battalion Squad Competition
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Photo Information

He’s a pillar of health, literally. At 6’3” and 210 pounds, armed with six years of college and eight years of military experience, Petty Officer 2nd Class John H. Holscher is a veritable tower of care and comfort for the people here, regardless of nationality. Not that any of them have a choice, because the next nearest medic is more than 100 kilometers away. 'The biggest challenge to being out here is being the only doc. (Iraqi) medics depend on me to train them, Iraqis patients depend on me, taking care of the Marines, going on every patrol, and then the villagers, I can’t take care of them all,' said Holscher, corpsman, Border Transition Team 4222.

Photo by Cpl. GP Ingersoll

Navy ‘Doc’ only medic for miles in remote western Anbar

28 Oct 2008 | Cpl. G.P. Ingersoll

He can be an intimidating sight to his patients, but as the Border Tansition Team 4222 corpsman, he’s always there to help.

At 6’3” and 210 pounds, Petty Officer 2nd Class John H. Holscher is a veritable tower of care and comfort for the people here, Iraqi and American.

Not that any of them have a choice, because the next nearest medic is more than 100 kilometers away.

“The biggest challenge to being out here is being the only doc. (Iraqi) medics depend on me to train them, Iraqis patients depend on me, taking care of the Marines, going on every patrol, and then the villagers, I can’t take care of them all,” said Holscher.

With a squad of Marines, a handful of interpreters, hundreds of Iraqis and countless civilians to care for, it’s a surprise ‘Doc’ Holscher doesn’t crack under the pressure. His cool demeanor and “can do” attitude were forged from his first deployment.

He wasn’t yet a petty officer when he deployed aboard the USS Comfort.

“It was the opening day of (the invasion into) Iraq, the USS Comfort was there for the first casualties of the war,” said Holscher, 28, New London, N.C.

Holscher said his team treated 75 patients in 20 minutes. He said it seemed like service members flying on the casevac helicopters had only enough time to pass casualties into the arms of corpsmen and take off again, due to the sheer volume of incoming calls for help.

 "It was an intense learning experience,” said Holscher

 Holscher’s life experience aboard ship complements his educational experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health science, and spends much of his downtime at Border Fort Nine reading field medical manuals.

 He’s not just a good student of health, the combination of study smarts and street smarts has made Holscher a good teacher, Marines here said.

 “He spent extra hours training us in (combat lifesavers), so if he wasn’t around we would know how to treat multiple things, or if he went down,” said Capt. Will D. Whaley, operations officer, Border Transition Team 4222.

 Whaley said there was a memorable moment in training when Holscher “went down.”

 “During our (pre-deployment training), we had an index of all our medical training,” remembered Whaley. He said the team was conducting a training patrol through a mock city when they took ‘contact’ from instructors posing as insurgents.

 “And of course, the corpsman is the first one to go down,” said Whaley, 32, Phoenix, Az.. Holscher had been pegged as a “casualty” in order to test the team’s medical knowhow.

 “All I remember is fireman’s carrying his big (body), and running him into doorways, he was hard to get through doors,” Whaley said, laughing.

 That’s not the only time the Marines tested Holscher’s mettle. It was also during pre-deployment training that the Marines tested his marksmanship.

 He and the team’s commanding officer went toe-to-toe for rifle competition with a Russian Dragonov sniper rifle, said Gunnery Sgt. Rob T. Mantilla, operations chief, BTT 4222.

 Of all the other navy corpsmen who took part in the training, Doc was one of the best shooters, said Mantilla. “He could tear the center out of a target.”

 Mantilla said the competition was tight, but in the end Holscher took the prize: a can of sardines.

 “What kind of prize is that? A can of sardines? And to top it off, they stunk up the hooch that night eating them,” Mantilla said.

 Marksmanship isn’t the only reason Marines here describe him as a straight shooter. Straightforwardness, patience and knowledge are a few of the traits Mantilla said Holscher displays out here.

 “Of all the docs in (advisers training group), he has the most experience, he’s a straight shooter and I trust him,” said Mantilla. “It’s got to be hard being the only sailor out here with a bunch of Marines, but he’s earned his right to be here, they didn’t just hand it to him.”

 A tight knit unit of Marines, far away from the forward operating base, can be a hard group to get along with, said Mantilla.

 The respect and brotherhood also have something to do with Holscher’s ‘never say die’ attitude.

 “I bring the experience that the human body can endure a lot, it can take a beating and it can survive, and there’s always hope, there’s always one more thing you can do for that person, there’s never ‘I quit,’” Holscher said.

 That’s why the Marines here love him.

 It’s not just because he can shoot. It’s not just because he’s straightforward or knowledgeable.

 It’s because they know if their lives are ever in his hands, he’ll never quit.


I MEF Leaders

George W. Smith Jr.
Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force

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Brig. Gen. Ryan S. “Chick” Rideout
Deputy Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Brigadier General Rideout assumed duties as Deputy Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force in July 2021. His previous assignment was serving as Director, Military Advisor Group, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation INHERENT RESOLVE based in Baghdad, Iraq from June of 2020 to June 2021. Fleet Marine Force assignments include: Commanding

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Colonel Brian Rideout
Chief of Staff, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Colonel Rideout holds a baccalaureate degree in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Master of Science in Information Technology Management from the Naval Postgraduate School, a Master of Military Studies from Marine Corps University and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.  He is a graduate

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Sgt. Maj. Terrence C. Whitcomb
Sergeant Major, I Marine Expeditionary Force

Sergeant Major Whitcomb began Marine Corps Recruit Training on 14 September 1993 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California with Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion.  He was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class and graduated Recruit Training on 10 December 1993. Following graduation from Recruit Training, Private First

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CMDCM(FMF/SW/AW/IW) Toby A. Ruiz
Command Master Chief

 Though a native of Montebello, California, Master Chief Ruiz calls Monte Vista, Colorado home.  He enlisted in the Navy in March 1991, reported to basic training at RTC Great Lakes, Illinois and completed Signalman “A” School at NTC Orlando, Florida.  After serving two tours as a collateral-duty Command Career Counselor in 2000 and 2003, he became

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