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Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman
US Navy SARC Insignia.jpg
Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman
Active 19 June 1957 - present
Country United States
Allegiance United States Department of Defense
United States Department of the Navy
Branch United States Navy
Type Special Operations Force
Size <150
Part of

Fleet Marine Force


"Dive Doc"

Motto(s) "The difficult Anytime, the 'Impossible' by appointment only!"

Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen are United States Navy Hospital Corpsmen that provide the Marine Special Operations reconnaissance teams and other USSOCOM units advanced trauma management associated with combatant diving and parachute entry. Traditionally, Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen (SARCs) are attached to the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance companies to help support the Command Element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in special reconnaissance missions. Lately however, due to a growing need for combat medics in the special operations community, SARCs are beginning to be utilized in almost all USSOCOM assets.

Special Amphibious Reconnaissance CorpsmanEdit

The SARCs are a team trained and specialized in the same aspects of their Recon Marine and special operator counterparts, in amphibious entry, deep recon and direct action. They are also capable of conducting detailed underwater ship-bottom searches. During operational status, the teams will then be dispersed evenly throughout the Marine recon platoons; usually one amphibious recon corpsman per platoon. SARCs have regularly acted as a point man, sharp shooter, radio operator, or even the team leader in the Marine recon teams/platoons. More recently, SARCs are being deployed with Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC), Naval Special Warfare and Army Special Forces units due to their highly advanced skills in combat trauma care and diving medicine. SARCs have also been known to have been assigned to platoons in the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (formally known as SEAL Team Six) and have worked alongside Air Force Pararescuemen in combat rescue operations.


The environments that Recon Marines and Recon Corpsmen face during a mission are usually hazardous. The Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen use their paramedic skills to provide advanced medical support and other emergency medical procedures related to the hazards of swimming, open and closed circuit SCUBA diving, and military freefall during amphibious reconnaissance operations. They also instruct and advise the recon Marines in prevention and treatment of illnesses, whether in combat or training.

The SARC has the duty of hyperbaric chamber operator: skilled in the operation of recompression chambers for hyperbaric treatment. They are also required to know laws and physics of diving, fundamentals of proper gas mixtures, theory and practice of decompression and the use of decompression tables.

  • Performs routine sick call, diagnostic patient care as well as associated operational, administrative, and logistical duties.
  • Performs basic anesthesia, minor surgical, basic clinical laboratory, basic radiology, and other routine and emergency health care procedures as required.
  • Performs advanced trauma procedures in a hostile or combat environment often independently behind enemy lines.
  • Instructs and advises junior medical and operational personnel in prevention and treatment of illness and injuries.
  • Recognizes all types of illnesses associated with diving to include oxygen toxicity and hypercapnia, nitrogen narcosis, type I and II decompression sickness and air/gas embolism.

Screening and trainingEdit

Male Hospital Corpsman serving in the paygrades of E-1(Hospitalman Recruit) to E-6(Hospital Corpsman First Class) serving in any capacity may apply for candidacy. It is not required to be currently serving with a Fleet Marine unit to apply. Sailors currently attending Hospital Corpsman "A" School may enter the pipeline immediately without first serving time in the fleet by enrolling in the Special Operations Corpsman Program (SOCP), currently held at HM "A" School. This course is designed to prepare sailors for the lifestyle and training required of candidates applying for SARC, Dive Medical Technician (DMT), and Search-and-Rescue (SAR) programs. Marine Recon and the associated training pipeline is currently restricted to male applicants only. Candidates must have a current ASVAB general technical score of 100 or higher, the last three physical fitness assessments and be able to achieve a first class swim qualification. A commanding officer endorsement is also required, no non-judicial punishments for 12 months and no courts-martial for 24 months. The extensive training requires a commitment to serve as a recon corpsman for a minimum of three years.

Occupational ClassificationEdit

After completion of Phases 1 & 2 listed below, corpsman will be awarded the NEC 8404. Following Phases 3-7 corpsman will be awarded the NEC 8427, Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Corpsman. After completing the SOIDC course corpsman possessing the NEC 8427 will be awarded the NEC 8403, Fleet Marine Force Independent Duty Corpsman.[1]

  1. Navy Hospital Corpsman "A" School [Fort Sam Houston, TX] (14 weeks)
  2. Fleet Medical Training Battalion [Camp Pendleton, CA or Camp Lejeune, NC] (8 weeks)
  3. Marine Basic Reconnaissance Course [Camp Pendleton, CA and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, CA] (12 weeks)
  4. Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) [Naval Air Station North Island, CA] (3 weeks)
  5. Marine Combatant Diver School [Panama City, FL] (8 weeks)
  6. Army Basic Airborne Course [Fort Benning, GA] (3 weeks)
  7. Army Special Operations Combatant Medic Course (SOCM) [Fort Bragg, NC] (26 weeks)
  8. Navy Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman Course (SOIDC) [Fort Bragg, NC] (24 weeks)

Following this pipeline, corpsman will be assigned to a MARSOC or other USSOCOM command in order to be placed with a specific unit. Upon placement, corpsman will receive specialized occupational training in order to become a more qualified component of a team. These training courses may include, but are not limited to; Scout Sniper, Breaching, Language School, Joint Traffic Air Traffic Control (JTAC), and Mountaineering.

Traditionally, corpsman have been placed with MARSOC units including Battalion and Force Recon, and most recently, Marine Special Operation Battalions (MSOB). But recently, due to manning levels and the superior quality of SOIDCs, corpsman have also been attached to US Army Special Forces and US Navy Special Warfare commands.

See alsoEdit


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