Saturday, October 28, 2006

Medical needs more bodies

I’ve been watching on how the military I beefing up the numbers of people to handle the wartime workload. On paper it’s looking good, everybody but the Navy Reserve is meeting their recruiting goals (they’re 1500 down). Being at the tip of the spear and going into harms way the way, the Army and Marine Corps are staying ahead. They’re offering huge bonus’s to their service people and bonus’s for people to cross from blue to green without losing rank.

Meanwhile the Navy and Air Force are getting smaller and smaller chunks of that financial pie because we’re not on the front lines and all of our gear isn't being revamped. And since the Navy isn’t at the tip of that proverbial spear, do you know who’s suffering the most?

Navy medicine.

While the Army medics who are doing basically the same job as we do are getting huge bonuses, us corpsman aren’t getting squat (at least the Fleet Marine Force corpsman), even the Marines we go with getting good bonuses. On paper our numbers look good, in some cases we’re above what’s required but there doesn’t seem to be a change in actual numbers from no to the numbers used before the war. In reality we’re sending close to one in a half times the medical people forward per unit then they get in peace time. Where are these extra people coming from? We’re borrowing people from the hospitals and the non deployed units to fill in those deployed holes and leaving their coworkers to take up the slack. Which tasks us as individuals to be deployed forward more then the people we actually cover.

This sticks out more when you get a large group of sailors an Marines in the same room in the post deployment briefs. When the chaplain asked who had been over 3 times or more, most of the medical people raised their hands with a handful of Marines in a group of 200 or so. The Corpsman who replaced me? It’s his forth time.

Of course you could say, “Hey, why don’t you cross over and go green?”

That’s not the answer either; I’ve hung out with some of those Striker guys who have been extended. They’re not happy campers, there’s a reason why they’re getting the huge bonuses and there are some things that money can’t buy, that is if you’re smart.

What I’m saying is that there is something broke in the system that I’m working for. Navy Medicine is goes everywhere the Marines go and we’re going forward and getting shot up as much as our brothers. We’re doing a extra large workload with fewer bodies. Our piece time numbers are being used for a wartime mission and we’re hurting. When we come back to the states, we’re working harder then ever, there’s more training taskers and we’re losing corpsman who only have a few years to retire because they can’t handle the high Op tempo and having such a high work load. I’m not one of them because I actually like my job (most of the time) but I see the signs all around me. Work isn't fun anymore.

The medical department is scarred and I think there are going to have to make some huge changes before we’re back in shape.

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