MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- It was after 3 p.m. when a search and rescue crew with Marine
Transport Squadron 1 got a call to respond to a logger in the Croatan
National Forest who was trapped under a tree and sustained injuries.
Although the call came in as though it were an actual emergency, the
Marines and Sailors knew that it was part of annual training designed
to keep their skills sharp for the real deal. The speed and intensity
of their response, however, was 100 percent real.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Woolley, a hospital corpsman with VMR-1,
said he felt nervous with good reason. The exercise evaluated his
proficiency at providing medical treatment during search and rescue
“When I came up with the scenario, I wanted Woolley to be challenged
mentally,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class John H. Nelson, a hospital
corpsman with VMR-1.
Once on the scene, the corpsman noticed Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph
Rivera, a fellow corpsman with the unit, who was role-playing the part
of a victim with several injuries, trapped under a tree. Woolley
rappelled from an HH-46E Sea Knight, and got right to work performing
lifesaving steps and techniques he had rehearsed so many times in the
“I did my best, and tried not to rush what I was doing,” said Woolley.
“Once you get into a scenario, it gets easier to manage because you
are acting on sheer muscle memory.”
Nelson was on the ground beside him, evaluating his performance every
step of the way.
“I was looking to see if he was giving the proper medicine, applying
the right treatments and thinking outside of the box,” Nelson said.
Nelson said Woolley did well at handling the pressure of a situation
they don’t often encounter and he could see that his fellow corpsman
learned from the experience.
“I definitely learned from my mistakes,” said Woolley. “Not only did
the training benefit me, other crew members were able to learn from my
mistakes as well.”
Woolley, who has been saving lives for a little over six years, said
he doesn’t take his job for granted because he is able to experience
things that a lot of military members don’t.
“I love every second of it,” he said.