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III Marine Expeditionary Force triage corpsman strives to help others during Cobra Gold 2011

By Lance Cpl. Kris B. Daberkoe | | January 26, 2011

Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Smith is one of many service members travelling to rural communities in the Kingdom of Thailand to treat locals unable to travel to distant hospitals as part of the medical civic actions programs taking place during Exercise Cobra Gold 2011.

Smith, with Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, is a triage corpsman.

As a triage corpsman, Smith categorizes patients by the severity of their conditions. This sorting process begins with observation of any wounds patients have. Triage corpsmen then ask patients to describe any pain or discomfort. Next, patients' heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature are checked. Triage corpsmen then list which patients should be treated first and direct patients to the appropriate doctors or dentists fro treatment.

Smith said his job appeals to his charitable nature, a nature he attributes to his father, a Marine, and his mother who works for an adoption agency.

Smith, a Jacksonville, N.C., said he joined the Navy in 2008 with the hope of having a tangible effect on people suffering from medical ailments.

"In high school, I was a lifeguard," Smith said. "I was very proud, knowing that if there was ever a crisis, I would have the ability to help."

Smith said his desire to help people in need continued while attending college at North Carolina State University by working as a camp counselor and guide for white-water rafting.

"Part of what drew me to the medical line of work was being on scene keeping people safe while experiencing something that I enjoy as well," Smith said.

Being a counselor and guide allowed him to fulfill his desire to help others while doing outdoor activities he enjoys such as canoeing, rock climbing and hiking, he said.

Smith said he strives to find better opportunities to help others.

"I can always count on (Petty Officer 2nd Class) Smith to search for new tasks to accomplish, said Chief Petty Officer Mercedes Hargrove, a Jersey City, N.J., native and chief petty officer-in-charge with the medical civic actions program here.

"He believes that a high standard for patient treatment will prevent those patients from needing to return for additional medical care," she said.

According to Hargrove, Smith played an important role in the planning and development of Marines and sailors attached to the MEDCAP team here.

"I look forward to expanding my medical and leadership skills during Cobra Gold," said Smith. "Working with the people in their communities is the fruit of our hard work."

For more information about Cobra Gold 2011, visit the web site www.marines.mil/cobragold2011 or the Facebook page www.facebook.com/ExerciseCobraGold.  

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