The standard to become Corpsman in the Marine Corps is a little confusing, as the Marines use Navy Corpsmen for their missions. But the Navy Corpsman serving in a Marine Unit is for all intents and purposes a Marine and is treated like a Marine by other Marines and by everyone whom they have contact with. So the Marines and the Navy Team up in training corpsmen for the Marine Force Fleet. Candidates for Marine Fleet Corpsman have to attend a 7-week course that is much like Marine Boot camp in makeup at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.
The Marines have a saying, Every Marine is a Rifleman, and that extends to Navy Corpsmen serving in Marine Units, corpsmen have to learn to carry a rifle and how to use it as well. Marines need qualified medical personnel on the battlefield and that’s why the Field Medical Service School exists. For a Corpsman to be effective he has to earn the right to be regarded as a fellow Marine, and that can be an eye-opening experience to many Navy Corpsmen unfamiliar with Marine Corps ways. For a Corpsman to be effective in a Marine Corps unit he has to be someone that the other Marines know and trust. He has to be able to lay down cover fire, dig a hole, or do whatever other Marines in his unit are doing toward accomplishing the mission.
The top priority for an FMSS corpsman is to learn to save Marine Corps lives, but they have to be accepted by the unit in which they work. They learn to look like Marines, act like and function just as other Marine Corps personnel function, despite in reality being Navy Corpsmen assigned to a Marine Corps Unit. Much of this need to be a Marine is not understood by those who have not experienced it, but it is vital to the success and cohesiveness of the unit.
The FMSS field school teaches the tactics, methods, and procedures it takes to be a Marine Corpsman in the field. It also gives the new Navy Corpsman self-confidence, and the ability to experience real-life conditions before being thrust into the field. The level of mental and physical discipline that is imposed on a Navy Corpsmen headed for the field to serve with Marine Corps units is not a trifle, but vital. The training serves to make the corpsman ready to handle whatever is put into their path.