CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The medical tent erupted with noise as patients flooded in during a mass casualty exercise. Amid the chaos, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali N. Adams, an administrative clerk with the Advisory Training Group, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, calmly observed and advised corpsmen as they did their work.
Adams, a St. Louis native, is part of a select group of corpsmen who have deployment experience and are considered the best in their field. Their mission is to teach real-world techniques to less-experienced sailors.
“The Advisory Training Group staff are proven sailors and Marines that have been battle tested,” said Navy Lt. Paul B. Dalangpan, company commander for Bravo Surgical Company, 1st Medical Battalion. “They are staff specialists who are certified in what they do.”
Adams’ personality is a perfect fit for the ATG, which demands leadership and teaching skills from its staff.
“I love to teach,” Adams said. “It’s really fulfilling when you see somebody learn and apply what you taught them.”
Despite the prestige that comes with being an ATG member, Adams is humble and gives credit to those around him, such as his mother, who fostered his passion for teaching.
As a young adult, Adams said, he found an avenue for his skills.
“I used to coach a basketball team in my early 20s,” he said. “Seeing that process of a young mind not knowing something and then becoming a master at whatever they’re doing is very fulfilling.”
Perhaps the main reason for Adams’ success as a teacher is because he was also a good student during his deployment. Adams attributes his technical proficiency to his mentors, Navy Chief Petty Officer Ralph Solon and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class David Levya, during his time as a shock-trauma platoon member in Afghanistan.
Adams learned fast, and his success in the field led to his meritorious promotion from seaman to petty officer 3rd class. Now, as an experienced 28-year-old corpsman, Adams takes pride in passing on knowledge to new sailors.
“For Marines to know that [corpsmen are] there really helps their confidence and morale,” he said. “They know that if something happens to them in the battle space, they can and will survive.”
Whether he is teaching new sailors as a member of the ATG or learning new techniques, Adams said, he understands the value of being a corpsman and strives toward excellence.