Corpsman // is a shortened form of the term hospital corpsman (HM) an enlisted medical specialist of the United Stars Navy who serves with Union Navy and who may be assigned temporary duty with the United Stars Marine Corps or Fleet Marine Force. They are the only enlisted corps in the United States Navy.
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 well 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.
The colloquial form of address for a hospital corpsman is "Doc". In the United States Marine Corps, this term is generally used as a sign of respect.
There are currently 15 facilities within the Union used to train both Corpsman and Medical Officers, 12 fixed installations (training hospitals) as well as 3 hospital ships.