It has been very difficult to get a good picture of a typical medic, however there are few pictures here of soldiers wearing various bits of medical gear. Mostly consisting of the M5 medical bag.
In the picture above, amongst the group of soldiers is a medic with his bag turned to us. He has the earlier waterproofed canvas M3 bag secured to the back of his lightweight rucksack frame. It rests on his sleeping gear of poncho liner rolled in a poncho. Note the machette sticking out the left hand side of the pack. Other than his M3 bag you would not know otherwise his role within the platoon.
This picture is of a medic in the rear echelons of the platoon. You can clearly see his distinctive M5 medical bag bulked out with medical supplies.
In this picture, the medic is attending a wounded soldier. Not visible in this picture, he has his M3 bag open. Besides the M5 bag on his back, he carries a M1911A1 pistol in leather holster, which the medical corpsman were allowed to wear. In fact they were given the choice of either a pistol or M16, most chose to carry the M16.
This picture shows the M5 bag from the back being worn with the M1956 buttpack. Notice it interferes slightly with the wearing of a buttpack.
Here is listed what you should have in your collection to display a typical Medical Corpsman or ‘Medic’ in the US Army in Vietnam.
Along with the basic rifleman’s equipment load the medic would have the M3 or M5 field medical kit as well as an M1911A1 .45 automatic pistol or an M16
M3 Aid bag
M5 Aid bag
4 M1956 Canteens
List of Contents:
SURGICAL SHEET WITH THE MEDICAL CADUCEUS
JACKSON SIZE 3 TRACHEOTOMY CANNULA
1 MINOR SURGERY FIELD INSTRUMENT
8 GAUZE PETROLATUM DRESSINGS
2 – 11 3/4 INCH SQUARE DYED FIRST AID FIELD DRESSINGS
1 FIELD EYE DRESSING KIT
2 ARMY TOURNIQUETS
1 BOX OF COTTON SWABS ON A WOODEN STICK
1 TIN OF REXALL SURGICAL POWDER
2 BOTTLES OF WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS
1 TIN OF SUNBURN PREVENTITIVE CREAM
4 TONGUE DEPRESSORS
1- 4 INCH COTTON ELASTIC BANDAGE
2- 3 INCH COTTON ELASTIC BANDAGES
1- 3 INCH X 10 YARDS CAMOUFLAGED GAUZE BANDAGE
3 TRIANGULAR BANDAGES
4 ROUND CONTAINERS OF 1 INCH X 6 YARDS GAUZE ROLLER
1- 24 X 72 INCH GAUZE COMPRESS
1 INDIVIDUAL FIRST AID FIELD DRESSING
1- 3 INCH X 6 YARDS CAMOUFLAGED GAUZE BANDAGE
3 BOXES OF FIELD BAND-AIDS
1 TIN OF REXALL QUIK-BANDS BAND-AIDS
2 BOXES OF 1 INCH X 6 YARDS GAUZE
1 BOX OF 3 INCH X 10 YARDS GAUZE ROLLER PLAIN
1 BOX OF 10 MERTHIOLATE SWABS
1 BOX OF 10 AMMONIA INHALANTS
1 TUBE OF TANNIC ACID JELLY BURN COMPOUND
1 FIELD DRESSING IN A BROWN WRAPPER
1 TUBE OF PETROLINE BACITRACIN OINTMENT
1 TUBE OF OPTHALMIC OINTMENT FOR EYE INFECTIONS
1 PACKAGE OF 4 – 2X2 CAMOUFLAGED COMPRESS AND BANDAGE
35 responses to “Medical Corpsman”
I was a Corpsman with the Marine Corps in Vietnam. I was in Nam from 1965 to 1966. We weren’t given the option of carrying an M-16. We all carried 45 Remington hand guns.
I never had the time or inclination to be a combat warrior. I was too busy doing my job as a Combat Corpsman instead. I pulled my pistol only one time in Vietnam, and that was because of a bad situation. I figured that if the Marines couldn’t protect me then I wasn’t going to make it out of country – alive, that is.
Thanks for this opportunity to comment on something that means so much to me. I wish the American public knew how dedicated so many of us were over there.
Dr. William Rohr, PharmD
Thank you for your service and dedication.
If a .45 was to be found… I carried a “unit one”… in field. Marines we very carful to keep me down and in the center…or out of sight.. Great guys. at least in the field.
Well said. USN as well, 8404. Proudly served overseas Gulf War with Delta Tanks 1/7 and Somalia with Bravo Co. 1/7. Semper Fi!
Thank you for such a nice website.
Please let me know if I am oberbearing in my comments.
I served in Vietnam as a Corpsman in the field. I was attached to the Marine Corps. This was something new to me because when I went into the service I was guilty of thinking “I’m too smart to be a ground pounder.” Well, God has a very good sense of humor and soon slapped me into shape – along with the Navy and the Marine Corps.
I became a Navy Corpsman and was soon attached to the Marine Corps because I was sort of a rebel and The Corps was better equipped to deal with me. Anyway, I was trained and then sent to Vietnam – and that’s where I grew up.
I learned to appreciate my job as a Corpsman because I got to help people and I never had to shoot at anyone during my entire 13 month tour in Nam.
I carried a 45 Remington sidearm. I did not carry an M-16. In fact, the Marine Corps did not allow us to carry an M-16. My job was to take care of the Marines anyway, so I depended on them to take care of me. If it got to the point that I needed to use an M-16 then I figured that I wouldn’t be returning, anyway.
I became very passionate about my work while in Nam. I hope people that read this post will feel the same way, and have the same pride that I did while there. I am so thankful that God put me in the position that he did so that I could help people in need.
Thanks for allowing me to enter this post.
I served with 3rd Recon for 2 plus years-1965-1967 did not leave one Marine behind. Patched up many of my friends and I still talk with them. We sometimes talk about what we went through. It is difficult if not impossible to comprehend what we all experienced. I consider myself a Marin. They took care of me and I took care of them.
Semper Fi–“Doc” Morris
Served as a grunt Corpsman with 5th Marines in RVN ’68-’69. In my unit, we carried long-arms (M-16, shotgun, etc) to avoid being targeted by snipers. It
was my privilege to have served, and served with those grunt Marines.
I was a medic with Recon Platoon 2/47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam 1968-1969. I carried 45 cal and an AR-15. I carried two M-3 medical aidbags attached to an Alice frame.
I missed VN by a year and a half. I was a medic in Germany of the Czech border with the 2nd ACR, on recon teams for the 4thID, and as an infantry medic in the OKARNG. I was a 91B20 and a 19D20. I carried a M3 bag when on foot unless I was going out for days, then I carried the M5 bag. We always had a .45 and most of the time an M16. Most of the time the rifle was in the way and I ussually just chain-locked it under the radio rack in my tracked M113 ambulance. I did, however, carriy that rifle through recon exercises in Panama, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, upstate New York, Germany, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.
Medic with 3rd Plt, F Trp, 2/11th ACR Viet Nam Nov 69- Nov70. If you care to learn what supplies I had on hand, where I kept those supplies and what I did, email@example.com. Willing to share experience with your members..
I was a grunt corpsman with 1/8 Camp Geiger in the 70’s. was first issued a tattered canvas Unit 1 (as it was called then) and was excited when it was replaced with a new vinyl bag. Over the years nastalgia got the best of me and longed to find another canvas bag. My research, and infi here, call the bag an M3. After years of looking i stumbled across a mint condition original canvas in an antique shop. I love it. Slowly trying to stock with original gear. I just can’t seem to find more info in regard to where to find supplies or info/value of bag. Not for sale, just curious. Also, does anyone else call it a unit 1 or is it an M3? Any help is appreciated.
Bruce L Ribistow, FACHE
US Navy Hopital Corpsman in 1969-1970 Viet Nam with CAP 3-5-1 Third MAF out of Phu Bia. 12 Marines and myself, carried M16 and used it often. Carried M1 bag and traded it after 3 mo with an Army Medic for M5 bag. Spent 9 1/2 months in Field and 2 1/2 mo at 1st Med Batt in DaNang
l was assigned to the British Submarine Service in 1970 operating off the Vietnam coast. During operations l was assigned to an American Marine unit operating in the Delta area when the Marine corpseman was drowned during a transfer from our Submarine. l was trained by the British Navy in Emergency medicine, l was only to operate with the Marine unit for two weeks but supported them for the next 7 months. l was not prepared for what l experienced during my time in the jungle with the Marines but they looked after me and l looked after them. l was not armed most of the time and relied on their care, this was something l shall never forget, to be a medic is one of the most forefilling positions in the field and l saved many of my brothers as they cared for me – life is so short but so important!
looking for 1/3 corpsman co d nov 22,1965 loss of amtrac 4 kias danang ao. chaplain geoffrey steiner 2/9 3rd 67 68 dmz tet battles camp jj carroll our rear,firstname.lastname@example.org
I was a medic with recon platoon 2/35, 3rd Brigade 25th inf div in the Central Highlands in 1966 and 67, I carried a 45 and for a time a shotgun. Medic bag was the smaller m3 (?) until I got a large NVA medic bag after a fire fight. The small issued bag was not very good. Neither was my training at Fort Sam. Much too basic training and a real lack of needed supplies. I am sure that lots of soldiers wounds were made worse because of poor training and supplies. On the other hand, any training and aid was better than none.
David A. Carrico, HM2
I served as a Hospital Corpsman in Viet Nam starting the first day of Tet 1968. I was issued a Unit 1 and a Remington 1911 45 cal. pistol as my T.O. weapon. We were not to carry m-16’s or any other long rifle. As a civilian I shot for score with the junior NRA. The Marines of my unit I was attached to: 1st Mar Div, 3 Bat, 7th Marines company L knew I Knew one end of the M-16 from the other, so when a Marine was injured and med evacuated the weapon was given to me. We never sent weapons back with the injured because it would be lost from inventory. Geneva Convention disallowed use also to carry any weapon but the 45 cal pistol. I am proud of my service with the U.S. Marines to this day. I am looking for a unit one for my military collection. ‘ Hats off to all of you for your service. Who could ever be prepared enough for what we saw and did in that war! We just did our best to save lives. Long after the war for me I ran into a guy would called out to me saying “Doc”. I asked him how he knew I was a Corpsman and he said I saved his life and he remembered me by my eyes…shook me to meet him again. I went into the hospital many years later and the male nurse approached me and said: “Doc” it is my turn to care for you. You cared for me in 1968. Enough said.
Thank you for your service and your post! Welcome home Doc!!
Thank you for your service to our country dad. You have always been my go to medic. I love you.
The above post is from my father. He served in a way few in our society have, let alone understand. In all the years since, he focuses everything on living a good life and loving his family 110%. Being a Corpsman in Vietnam in 1968 was a nearly certain way to encounter terrible outcomes, both during service and after (if you were lucky enough to survive). Despite that, my dad never complained, never even really mentioned it. My dad, the men he served with and the others on this page deserve the highest honor in American military history, present, and future. His service represents the best of what we as Americans and human beings could ever strive for – resilience, selflessness, and bravery. May the love you showed on the battlefield pay you back the rest of your days, dad. God knows you earned it.
David Carrico Jr.
LTC, US Army
Thank you children, always remain faithful to our country and each other.
Buck McCarty HM2 MCB5 66/67 HQ near Marble Mountain
Carried the unit ! armed with 1911 and Remington 870. Proud to have been a United States Navy Corpsman. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES, YOUR MOTHER THE NAVY LOVES YOU! God Bless the men and women manning the wall!!! Thank you for your service.
i was a 91A10 medic stationed at fort ord cali from aug 1969 to dec 1969 where i worked in the hospital and took care of many rvn returnees. then they shipped me off to germany ( west germany at the time ) where i spent the next 14 months and became a 91B20 drove an m113 never carried a weapon, as i went in as a non combatant. i worked 90 days tdy at 30th field hospital in the ER and drove the ambulance, but was assigned to 1/26 hhq. big red one. i spent more time with C co. though then i did hq. carried the m1? aid bag in the co. area but on week or more trips carried the m5. enjoyed the service, mostly. btw, i was in the army.
I was attached to C Company 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry 4th ID. 1967-68. I carried the M3 not attached to the rucksack. I carried a claymore bag packed with bandages. I carried an M 16 that I had no use for. I was too busy being a medic during firefights. I carried my share of M 60 ammo and claymores. Not for me but I didn’t want the M60 to run out of ammo.
I was a FMF Corpsman (8404) attached to Bravo Company, 8th Eng. Support Battalion out of Camp Lejeune, NC 1988-1996. Gulf War Veteran. I carried the M5 Medic Bag and the Beretta 92 was my sidearm.
Thank you for your service
I can send you a photo of my carrying two medical aidbags in Vietnam
That would be great. Thank you!
I need email address
You forgot the quinine tabs, and importantly, the atropine and morphine shots. Whenever I got to an aid station I also grabbed up any penicillin V bottles and syringes.
i have a request to the M5 Medicbag . What is the reason or function for the Strapes with Carabine Hookes on the right side ?
Thank you for answer
with best regards Mathew
I do not know. I have spent a good bit of time trying to find out what they are specifically are for and have not been able to find an answer.
My understanding is they were used to carry the bag as more of a shoulder bag/satchel bag (on its side). Carried like that the 2 smaller external pockets face upward for faster access.
My dad, Dave Diamond, served as a Hospital Corpsman with an amtrack unit in Chuy Lai. He told me he was issued a 1911 which was stolen. They were going to make him pay for a replacement, so he bought a sawed off shotgun and that’s what he carried along with a Ka-Bar. He passed away in 2013 and handed down the Ka-Bar to me when I was in the Navy. I was issued a smaller survival knife as part of my flight gear, but my dad’s Ka-Bar was much better.
Like many Vietnam vets, he didn’t talk much about his time there.
Thanks for building this site!
David D. Diamond
My Unit 5 bag served me well!! HOOYA!!