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  1. #1
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    Default Medical observations of SG-1

    I finally got around to watching the show from the beginning a few weeks back. I'd always caught random episodes, but I really think this the kind of show that's hard to watch casually, since it builds on previous knowledge a lot.

    That being said, I noticed something that made me smile a bit. In several scenes, Dr. Frasier is carrying around medical records for the team as they get banged up in their adventures. Every one I can recall so far has been yellow. The military uses something called the Terminal Digit Filing System for medical records. They are color-coded to match the second-to-last number of the servicemember's Social Security Number to assist with accuracy in filing. Yellow is for the number 2, so I guess they all have the number 2 as their second-to last number in their SSN? I'm sure that was something that wasn't even considered, and it's not like it really matters. I just like catching things like that in shows.

    I just finished the episode "Allegiance" and Dr. Frasier is calling triage orders to a "corpsman" in the beginning, which is odd, because corpsmen are specific to the Navy; the other branches refer to their enlisted medical personnel as "medics". I was a Navy corpsman for ten years, and we tend to get prickly about the distinction, TBH. We go through additional training pipelines such as Field Medical Training Battalion and are integrated into USMC platoons and squadrons. The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy (hence, no Secretary like the other branches; rather a Commandant), and doesn't have it's own medical assets, so the Navy supplies them. Next time you watch a war movie and a Marine calls out for "doc", the character is actually depicting a sailor, as odd as it seems to people not familiar with the Navy/USMC structure. The Navy's Hospital Corps (from where the term "corpman" comes) is the most distinguish enlisted corps in the military, with 23 Medal of Honor recipients, and numerous other awards. At smaller commands, like submarines, a corspman may be the acting Chief Medical Officer (that requires another year of training as an Independent Duty Corpsman) and be the sole medical asset to look after the whole crew. Navy corpsmen were also the first group of students to get trained to become Physician Assistants when the position was first created.

    Anyway, just some observations and history that many probably don't know. Overall, the way medical problems are depicted and handled in this show is pretty good; much better than average for sci-fi shows.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Medical observations of SG-1

    Quote Originally Posted by tfa1980 View Post
    I just finished the episode "Allegiance" and Dr. Frasier is calling triage orders to a "corpsman" in the beginning, which is odd, because corpsmen are specific to the Navy; the other branches refer to their enlisted medical personnel as "medics". I was a Navy corpsman for ten years, and we tend to get prickly about the distinction, TBH. We go through additional training pipelines such as Field Medical Training Battalion and are integrated into USMC platoons and squadrons. The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy (hence, no Secretary like the other branches; rather a Commandant), and doesn't have it's own medical assets, so the Navy supplies them. Next time you watch a war movie and a Marine calls out for "doc", the character is actually depicting a sailor, as odd as it seems to people not familiar with the Navy/USMC structure. The Navy's Hospital Corps (from where the term "corpman" comes) is the most distinguish enlisted corps in the military, with 23 Medal of Honor recipients, and numerous other awards. At smaller commands, like submarines, a corspman may be the acting Chief Medical Officer (that requires another year of training as an Independent Duty Corpsman) and be the sole medical asset to look after the whole crew. Navy corpsmen were also the first group of students to get trained to become Physician Assistants when the position was first created.
    The show never explains this, but it's clear that the Air Force has some sort of arrangement with the USMC as marines are stationed in the SGC. They're often used as red shirts in SG-1, but they're main characters on Atlantis (Aiden Ford) and SGU (Ronald Greer). If the USMC is sending marines to work in the SGC, would it be that unusual that there would also be corpsman on base? Navy corpsman often serve with marine units since, as you mentioned, the USMC doesn't have its own medical department. Perhaps a marine unit brought a corpsman along and while not in the field, he assists in medical?

    I can't watch the episode at the moment to check; was there any visual indicator that the person Frasier called to was Air Force personnel?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Medical observations of SG-1

    That makes sense that they were working with other branches of the military as you said. Yes, where there are Marines, there are Navy Corpsman. I can't think of any Navy/USMC command that has zero corpsmen. I didn't see any visual clues to tip me off. I couldn't see any rank insignia, etc. The opening shot is pretty tight on Dr. Frasier; we just see glimpses of people moving around in the background.

    It was just something that kind of jumped out at me, since you don't hear the word that much in media that isn't specifically about corpsmen. The last time I remember hearing someone use the word (outside of the military, of course) was when President Obama mispronounced it as "corpse man".

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