ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines assigned to the Medical department aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) held a celebration in the hangar bay to commemorate the 118th birthday of the Navy hospital corpsman, June 17.
The ceremony was hosted by hospital corpsmen and officers assigned to Boxer, who presented speeches and personal testimonies of their careers, describing what it means to be a member of the hospital corpsman community.
"Corpsmen are the backbone of Navy medicine," said Lt. Keith Freeman, a nurse embarked with Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 3. "No matter what the job is, or where it needs to be done, there's always a corpsman there ready to help."
Speakers at the birthday ceremony displayed pride in their profession and expertise, with each person expressing their motivation to provide quality care to others.
"When we are awarded our Caduceus, we are tasked with a responsibility to care for those around us," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Nikolas Ross, a ceremony speaker. "We do everything we can to help our patients and our friends when they need us most."
Ross also spoke about the origins of the rating. He said not many people outside the Navy's medical community can tell you when, or how, the Navy Hospital Corps was born or how the rate of hospital corpsman came to exist.
"The Hospital Corps is a bold and storied corps," said Ross. "It was born out of the need for medical personnel in the looming Spanish-American war."
With 22 Medals of Honor, 174 Navy Crosses, 31 Distinguished Service Medals, 946 Silver Stars, and 1,582 Bronze Stars, the hospital corpsman enlisted rating is the most decorated rate in the Navy.
"I'm very proud to be a hospital corpsman," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Noheapukalani Leckey. "The corpsmen who have gone before me have left a great legacy to follow."
After the ceremony, Boxer crew members attended a cake cutting ceremony on the mess decks.
"The speeches and stories that the leadership and my fellow corpsmen shared were very inspiring," said Leckey, reflecting on the ceremony. "They made me want to do all I can to better myself and further my career as a corpsman."
Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil/, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy/, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy/.
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.