CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan -- Hospital Corpsmen First Class Jose Marrero Dejesus and Ricardo Alonsolopez stuck true to the oath they swore upon when becoming Hospital Corpsmen in the Navy.
“I dedicate my heart, mind, and strength to the work before me. I shall do all within my power to show myself an example of all that is honorable and good.”
Marrero and Alonsolopez are both with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines on unit deployment program on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. They were on their way to the Palms on Camp Hansen for breakfast when they saw a distraught Marine running a physical fitness test.
“I was a passenger with HM1 Alonsolopez when we saw the Marine,” said Marrero, “To us, it clearly looked like he was in distress, so we pulled over to the side, began to render aid, and got him out of there as quickly as possible.”
With Okinawa’s climate being different from what most service members are used to, it takes time to acclimate to the area.
“We get trained to give help when help is needed,” said Alonsolopez, “The Marine was not running a straight path; he was kind of staggering back and forth. We identified the Marine needed to head over to medical. We tried to expedite the process and told him he needed to go to the heat-deck. We put him in my vehicle and drove him there.”
Someone who isn’t trained to recognize symptoms of a heat casualty may not be able to see how severe a case may be.
“There were other Marines that were there,” said Marrero, “I don’t think the Marines initially realized how serious his condition was. We knew that the only course of action was to get him to a higher echelon of care. The biggest thing was getting him into the vehicle and getting him over to the heat deck as quickly as possible.” The advice given by Marrero was "Don't push yourself too much. Stay hydrated and be smart".
Marrero and Alonsolopez’s work did not go unnoticed. Their command was informed about what they have done and recognized them by awarding them with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
Marines protect those to their left and right, but they also need to take care of themselves. As Marrero said, "Stay hydrated and be smart."