Naval Branch Health Clinic Port Hueneme celebrated the 114th birthday of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman in a ceremony at the clinic at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) June 15.
The ceremony included the recitation of the Sailor’s Creed and the Hospital Corpsman’s Pledge as well as a wreath-laying dedicated to fallen corpsmen, whose names were solemnly read to the gathered crowd.
A traditional cake-cutting, with the oldest and youngest corpsmen present using a saber to slice the first piece, finished off the birthday ceremony. In a nod to the corpsmen, the cake was brought in on a stretcher carried by military members representing several branches of the Armed Forces.
Retired Navy Capt. Jim McHugh, former commanding officer of NBVC, served as the guest speaker for the birthday celebration.
“I’m an aviator,” McHugh said. “We traditionally stay as far away from the clinic as possible.”
However, McHugh said he became well-acquainted with the clinic’s staff during the final months before his retirement when finalizing his physical and medical clearances. He praised the corpsmen highly for their professionalism.
“The call of ‘Corpsman Up!’ conjures the image of the U.S. Navy hospital corpsman, medical bag in hand, disregarding his own safety and racing, usually under fire, to aid his brothers in arms,” McHugh said. He credited this selfless service with the fact that hospital corpsmen have been awarded more than 20 Medals of Honor and nearly 200 Navy Crosses.
“They have earned the eternal gratitude of the countless numbers of Sailors and Marines they’ve bandaged, tended and saved,” McHugh said.