FMC Honor Graduate Comes From Humble Beginning

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Story by PO2 Michael Lieberknecht on 10/05/2018
PENSACOLA, Fla. (Oct. 2, 2018) The recent honor graduate of the Flight Medic Course (FMC) at Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) is no stranger to accomplishing his goals.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Scott Barder, a Grand Terrace, California native, began his Naval career as an undesignated Seaman assigned to USS Ross (DDG 71). Soon after settling in, Barder requested to attend the Surface Rescue Swimmer course in Jacksonville, Florida. After becoming a Search and Rescue swimmer (SAR) and returning to the Ross, Barder was responsible for continuing emergency medical training. It was here when he met Chief Hospital Corpsman Mercedes Sawin, the ship's Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC).

"This is where Barder came to shine," said Sawin. "His ease with medicine and complicated scenarios prompted me to ask him if he would like to strike' to become a Corpsman."

At the first available chance, Barder struck', or acquired the rating of Yeoman, emphatically explaining to Sawin "Chief I will never be a Navy Corpsman." Barder continued to practice his emergency medical training and even taught junior Sailors assigned to the ship's battle dressing stations before moving onto his next command as a Yeoman 3rd Class.

"It just so happened that Chief Sawin, my IDC mentor, had transferred to the same command a few months prior," said Barder. "I continued working with her hoping to cross-rate into the Corpsman rating once my two-year time-in-rate requirement was up."

"I never expected to walk into Military Sealift Command and see YN3 Barder check in and immediately state his interest in finally going to Corps school'.

Sawin explained to Barder when it was time to apply that he would have about a 1% chance to strike Corpsman.

"So you're saying there's a chance," said Barder.

In order to increase his chances, Barder completed 20 Navy Knowledge Online courses, CPR provider courses, an EMT course and anything else he hoped would help his submission. Following a few attempts and some discouraging responses, Sawin sent a letter of recommendation with Barder's package on the very last attempt he was allowed.

"I was disappointed he hadn't been selected at this point. He was a good Sailor and would make a phenomenal Corpsman if they would just give him a chance," said Sawin.

After a review process, Barder was notified that he would soon be attending A' school in San Antonio, Texas before moving on to Field Medical Training Battalion and ultimately 1st Medical Battalion.

He was now a Navy Hospital Corpsman.

"It takes fortitude and aptitude to be a Corpsman," said Sawin. "When you know someone who possess those qualities, you work for them to get there."

Barder continued to further his medical knowledge shortly after arriving at his first command in his new rating.

"I heard about Flight Medic Course and decided to volunteer," said Barder.

FMC is where SAR corpsmen will receive their required flight medical training. The course teaches students the foundations of international trauma life support, pediatric education for prehospital professionals, and advanced cardiovascular life support classes.

"This course has been an amazing experience to say the least," said Barder. I have learned a lot about medicine and a lot about myself."

Barder was named the honor graduate of his class. He explained how his confidence in treating patients raised significantly after graduation and he would highly recommend any Corpsman who is looking to take that next step' in their medical career to apply now.

"Barder has become an integral part of Navy Medicine for the majority of his enlistment," said Sawin. "Although his self-actualization of becoming a Hospital Corpsman came much later, he has been my Sailor on multiple platforms and is who I consider my progeny and legacy as an IDC."

NAMI is a detachment of Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC), whose mission is to provide operational medical and aviation survival training. NMOTC is part of the network of Navy medicine professionals who support Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea, and on the battlefield.

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