Who Attends the Special Operations Combat Medics (SOCM) Course?


The Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center (JSOMTC) is an Army run medical school with a Navy Special Warfare component located at Fort Bragg, NC, home of Army Special Operations. Army Combat Medics, Ranger, SOAR flight medics, Civil Affairs medics, Special Forces medics, and Navy SARC, SEAL, and SWCC medics all attend the Special Operations Combat Medic Course (SOCM) of instruction for their next level training to becoming a Special Operations Combat Medic. The Navy detachment component of the JSOMTC is called the Navy Special Operations Medical Institute (NSOMI).

Who Attends SOCM?

Army Combat Medics - Army Combat Medics (68W) who have also completed Army Basic Airborne Course and Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) and become members of Ranger Battalions will attend SOCM. SOCM qualified medics are assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment (Ranger Medic), 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR Flight Medic), 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (CA-Med SGT), Special Operations Support Command, and in direct support positions of these United States Army Special Operation Command (USASOC) positions.

Army Special Forces Medic (18D) - The SOCM course is the trauma portion and is 6 months long and trains trauma. The second half that 18D's go to is another 5 months and trains on medical problems. For a total of 322 days the 18D is learning the advanced skills of the trade. Navy Special Warfare and SARC / MarSOC SOCM qualified medics as advancement to their training can also attend the final stage of the 18D course.

Navy SEAL and SWCC Medics – Courses available for Navy personnel is the Special Operations Combat Medic for Navy Corpsman (HM) and medically trained designated Special Operators (SO) and Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen (SB). Now all SEALs and SWCC are SO or SB ratings. However, those interested in becoming medically qualified are eligible for the SOCM course of instruction. The SEALs and SWCCs will keep their SO and Sb ratings, but operate in the units as the combat medic.

RECON Corpsman – Also known as SARC (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman). SARCs are beginning to be utilized in almost all USSOCOM assets when the need for a SOCM qualified combat medic is required. SARCs are Recon Marine trained having attended the Basic RECON Course, SERE Training, Special Operations Dive School, Jump School, Military Free Fall, and other Special Operations schools / training on their resume. SARCs are very much an integral part of the USMC RECON Platoons.  

The Force Reconnaissance Corpsman receives NEC-8427 upon completion of SOCM. As their career advances, they may also select to become an Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) after completing the Special Operations IDC course and be awarded the NEC 8403, Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Independent Duty Corpsman.

MarSOC Hospital Corpsman – Should a Navy Corpsman complete MarSOC Assessment and Selection, they will also be deployed with Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC). SARCs will also augment into Naval Special Warfare and Army Special Forces units when medical assistance is needed due to their highly advanced skills in combat trauma care and diving medicine.

What Do You Learn at SOCM?

SOCM Course is a 36-week course of instruction that focuses on training enlisted Army medics (68W) and Navy Corpsman (HM) and other Special Operations medically designated members for the sole purchase of advancing their skillset to be used in various Special Operations Communities. The SOCM Course is designed to teach the Special Operations Combat Medic the knowledge of Combat Trauma Management as well as Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) which enables the medics with the skills to handle combat wounded from initial point of injury through evacuation. Often the SOCM trained medic will be the closest thing to a doctor or dentist rural villages around the world have ever seen. The SOCM also learns skills which enable him to prescribe appropriate treatments for diagnosed disease. Completing the SOCM course certifies students as National Registry EMTs. They are also qualified in Basic Life Support, Pediatric Education for Pre-Hospital Providers and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

How is SOCM different from 18D Special Operations Medics Course?

The SOCM course is the first half of the 18D training pipeline. Army Special Forces 18D medics get additional training to the SOCM course. The second half of the 18D Training Pipeline covers significant amounts of formal training in:

-Dive medicine -Altitude physiology -Large Animal Veterinary care -Holistic medicine -Ritualistic and herbal remedy -Superstition and cultural peculiarity -Dental extraction -Orthopedics -Advanced Trauma Life Support (ACLS)

From the Army Special Forces Recruitment pages:  The Army Special Forces 18D Medical sergeants specialize in trauma management, infectious diseases, cardiac life support and surgical procedures, with a basic understanding of veterinary and dental medicine. Both general healthcare and emergency healthcare are stressed in training. Medical sergeants provide emergency, routine and long-term medical care for detachment members, associated allied members and host-nation personnel; establish field medical facilities to support unconventional warfare operations; provide veterinary care; prepare the medical portion of area studies, brief backs, and operation plans and orders.


Provide initial medical screening and evaluation of allied and indigenous personnel Provide examination and care to detachment members Supervise medical care and treatment during missions Operate a combat laboratory and treat emergency and trauma patients Develop and provide medical intelligence as required

Special forces medical sergeants are some of the finest first-response/trauma medical technicians in the world. Though they are primarily trained with an emphasis on combat / trauma medicine, they also have a working knowledge of dentistry, veterinary care, public sanitation, water quality, and optometry.

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