USS GUNSTON HALL, OFF THE COAST OF N.C. -- Seaman Scott Blanchard had a change of heart, and now trains to keep them beating.
The Milwaukee Wis., native serves as a hospital corpsman with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. His job in the Marine Corps entails serving as a medical first responder for Marines. Blanchard, 28, has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and spent five years working in private security. He said his decision to join the Navy stems from a childhood desire to travel and a desire to take his life in a new direction. “I need something different to do,” he said. “I wanted to see the world since I was a little kid, and I was at a point in my life where I could make a new change.” Blanchard enlisted in the Navy on May 19, 2010, and chose to go the enlisted route vice becoming an officer because he wanted to gain a new technical skill he could use after serving in the Navy. “I figure when I get out, I could always go EMT paramedic or go back to school and get a medical degree,” he said. Currently, he is working with other corpsmen to instruct Marines at sea aboard the USS Gunston Hall to be combat life savers. This course is meant to make the Marines on ship more versatile in responding to combat related injuries. “There’s a lot of Marines and we can’t be everywhere at the same time,” he said. “This way they can do basic airway management, breathing, check out circulation, hemorrhage control, stopping the bleeding, splints, basic first stages of medical care.” The training is part of the 24th MEU’s Certification Exercise (CERTEX) with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group scheduled Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, which includes a series of missions intended to evaluate and certify the unit for their upcoming deployment.