Thursday, January 11, 2007

Caduceus: The HM Rating Symbol

In July 2005, the Hospital Corpsman "A" school began instructing students in dental medicine, and effective 01 October 2005 the Dentalman (DT) rating was merged with the Hospital Corpsman rating. Former Dentalmen may opt to continue to wear the DT rating insignia on their uniform until 01 October 2007 at which time they must begin wearing the HM rating insignia. Sailors in both ratings are required to complete "difference training" which will familiarize them with the specifics of the other rating.
  • Did you have to complete difference training, Doc Duty?
  • How much "difference training" is there, and why did they decide to combine them, I wonder. Dentistry seems so different than medicine.


A caduceus (/kəˈduːsiəs/, -ʃəs, -ˈdjuː-; kerykeion in Greek; Unicode U+2624 (☤) on the Miscellaneous Symbols table) is a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it. It was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce and is associated with the Greek god Hermes the messenger for the gods, conductor of the dead and protector of merchants and thieves. It was originally a herald's staff, sometimes with wings, with two white ribbons attached. The ribbons eventually evolved into snakes.

The symbol's origins are thought to date to as early as
2600 BC in Mesopotamia, and there are several references to a caduceus-like symbol in the Bible, namely in Numbers 21:4–9, and 2 Kings 18:4. During the Exodus, Moses was instructed by God to fashion a pole upon which he was to position a serpent made of bronze; when looked upon, this Nehushtan, as it was called in Hebrew, would spare the lives of the Israelites

stricken by venomous snake bites. The intent was that people would look upward and be reminded to pray to God, but eventually the meaning was forgotten and this symbol was apparently worshiped by the Hebrew people until the reign of Hezekiah as described in 2 Kings 18:4.



Doc Duty said...

Yes I did have to complete differnce training while I was an Instructor at Corps School. The training consisted of classes we had to attend plus the manuals from dental tech school we had to complete on our own time. The dcision was based on "old Navy" where a corpsman did both jobs and personnel downsizing. now they train all in both and they can cut ouit some of the jobs.

De'on Miller said...

I see. I'd wondered if that was what it was for.

Before I left the army (during downsizing) they combined my job with 5 other MOS's

aunt karen said...

Amazing how you are trained to do it all, and then do it in combat. This has been great, De'on and Doc Duty. Thank you, Doc, for giving everything you have given to us and our troops.