I Marine Expeditionary Force
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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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Photo Information

Students of the Field Medical Service Technician Course set off on a 6-mile hike aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 1, 2015. The hike is one of three hikes that every student must complete on their journey to becoming a “greenside” corpsman, working side- by-side and caring for Marines. (Photo by Pvt. Robert Bliss/Released)

Photo by Pvt. Robert Bliss

Corpsmen face an uphill battle

3 Sep 2015 | Pvt. Robert Bliss I Marine Expeditionary Force

The sun has yet to peak its head above the tall hillsides surrounding Camp Pendleton, but the students of the Field Medical Service Technician Course are poised and ready. In a few moments, the class will kick off its 6-mile hike around the winding hills. Their packs weigh 60 pounds each and the trail is an uphill climb, yet smiles can be seen creeping upon the faces of the students.

“We’re still getting them used to hiking to the standards of the Marine Corps,” says Staff Sgt. Keith Harris, an instructor with Field Medical Training Battalion West and an infantry platoon sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

“These are future corpsmen for Marine units, so we get them used to long hikes.”

During the course, students are required to complete three hikes: a 4-mile, today’s 6-mile, and finally, an 8-mile hike. The 6-mile stretch on Sept. 1, 2015, was their second of a series that supports their journey to become a greenside corpsman, working alongside Marines. The day’s trail itself is difficult. It is six miles of rocky terrain with changes in elevation. It is the same as what corpsmen might traverse in the field.

“These corpsmen are coming from a hospital environment to being in the field,” says Harris, a native of Dallas. “It’s a completely different mentality, hospital work and field work are equally important but being in the field is much more intense.”

This type of training enforces the concept that someday the students may have to trek several miles of terrain to render aid to a wounded service member.

“It means becoming the best,” said Hospitalman Martyn Duckett, a corpsman and student with FMTB West. “I’ve wanted to become a greenside corpsman since I joined the Navy.”

The training may seem grueling, but for the students it means getting to put on the Marine Corps uniform and possibly save lives on the battlefield.
 
“Out here, you’re in the field; it’s way different than being in a nice air-conditioned hospital,” said Harris. “We got these guys in the dirt and sleeping in tents. Their mind has to be strong for that.”

Suddenly the expressions of grim determination and steely resolve give way to the light-hearted smiles they wore before they stepped out this morning. They have succeeded. Two hikes down, one to go.

“This type of training is crucial,” said Harris. “Corpsmen with Marine units are first responders. When a Marine goes down and we don’t have a properly trained corpsman there, that Marine might not get up again. It makes the training we do out here all the more important.”


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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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