Proud to serve overseas as Navy corpsman
When Ernesto Argueta enlisted in the Navy in 2003, he didn't know deployment meant moving troops into position for military action. The native of Pasadena has since become very familiar with the term.
Since his earlier days in the military, Argueta has completed deployments to Iraq, in the Atlantic and currently is on his second tour in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Once his seven-month stint is finished in Afghanistan, Argueta will return to his duty station in Okinawa, Japan.
"That's another place I never thought I’d see in my life," Argueta says of the island in southern Japan.
Seeing the world is not uncommon for service people, and that certainly holds true for Petty Officer 2nd Class Argueta, a corpsman whose mission in Afghanistan is to serve as a combat medic to Support Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
The Marine Corps does not have medical personnel and instead relies on Navy corpsmen to fill the combat medic role.
Argueta is known to the Marines he serves with as "Doc."
Argueta takes pride in his role, which is to be never far from his Marines' side so he's able to provide medical care ranging from handing out foot powder to performing battlefield surgery with only the equipment he can carry. Argueta clearly relishes the role he fulfills.
"I have no regrets joining the Navy," Argueta says long distance from Afghanistan. "I just reenlisted for another five years five days ago."
Argueta says he intends to remain in the Navy for 20 years to earn his military retirement and provide his 6-year-old son, Ernesto Argueta III, with an education. For the time being, Argueta says he has a needed purpose to fulfill.
"I'd rather be doing this out in the field," he says, "helping the Marines make it back home."
Although it’s difficult to be thousands of miles away from his son and family members, Argueta says he keeps his eyes on the prize.
"A lot of us are here for them," says Argueta, referring to family back home. "We're sacrificing a lot of liberty and time to be with our families to make sure people are still able to read the newspaper back home."
ABOUT ERNESTO ARGUETA
OCCUPATION: Navy corpsman, Petty Officer 2nd Class
CONNECTION: Native of Pasadena
FAST FACT: Argueta is serving his fourth deployment overseas since enlisting in the Navy in 2003.
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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