Part II First-person history of “Tinker, Tailor. Surgeon-Sailor”
The medical school graduation Speaker said that I should need  the heart of a lion,  the eye of an eagle, and  the hand of a woman, to be a good doctor.
When I examined “sick bay” on the LST 901, I found that those three things were most of the resources I could count on to repair broken sailors on this “boat”.
“Sick Bay” on an LST was a “walk-in” FIRST-AID BOX”. I’ve known several grandmothers whose pantries were better prepared for injuries than that “Sick Bay” seemed to me. My mind kept flashing back to the “helicopter crash’ scene in Part I.
LST “Sick Bay & Operating Room”
There was not even a decent light to see what I might be operating on! I would have rather been assigned to a M.A.S.H. unit!
The Hospital Corpsman:
[The U S Navy is 90% enlisted; when I was in the Navy, 90% of enlisted medical care was performed by (enlisted) Hospital Corpsmen which are the cream of the enlisted-cf. Nurse Practitioners.]
When Dr. “Hi” Nordstrom
gave me my orders, he said that the LST usually did not carry a doctor but because of that, they carried a highly trained Hospital Corpsman, high ranking, probably a Chief Petty Officer who would know everything and would be my surgical assistant.
I had worked with Chief Petty Officers and First Class Petty Officer Hospital Corpsmen for eight months and quite frankly, they ran the Dispensary.
At my dispensary, sailors at sick call were always seen first by corpsmen; and the majority were treated and not seen by doctors.
[OK, I could count on The Hospital Corpsman to get my first “Surgeon-Sailor” sea-legs.]
” The hospital corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical care-giver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.
They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Force, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.”[*]
After one glance at the visible surgical resources, I ran to the Ships Captain: “Captain, I need to meet with the Ship’s Hospital Corpsman immediately.”
The Ship’s Captain, (a younger-than-me- I was 27) Annapolis grad on his first Command looked at me with surprise.
He told me quite casually that the Hospital Corpsman was due shore leave and the Captain figured since I was a doctor on board, that this would be a good time to let the Corpsman go on leave! And that is what the Captain had done.
To be continued
Charles Clanton Rogers, [once] LT, MC, USN January 9, 2016