HUMANS OF THE U: CRAIG L. HANSON

“When I first came to the U, I didn’t have much discipline or respect for myself or others. I was fortunate enough to find both in the Navy and Marine Corps. After a year I realized I wasn’t quite ready for college even though I was a pretty good student in high school. So, I left.

I was looking for a challenge and became a certified commercial diver and a diver medic. I didn’t know then the combination of deep water and medicine was foreshadowing my future and what would make me who I am today. I joined the Navy in 2010 and became a corpsman. I really engaged with my training and became a distinguished graduate from both the Navy Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Illinois, and Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton, California.

In 2011, I was assigned to Golf Company “Joker” Second Platoon in 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment–The Magnificent Bastards–at Camp Pendleton. A month later I was deployed to Afghanistan. My Marines—who I miss all the time—called me “Doc.” We were assigned to an isolated Forward Operating Base in a notoriously dangerous area of operation in the mountainous area of the Helmand Province.

My platoon and I conducted hundreds of dismounted patrols over a seven-month period. In that time, I treated both wounded Marines and countless local nationals-even saving the life of a wounded enemy combatant. And I had the privilege of teaching first aid techniques to Afghan soldiers. Passing my knowledge on to them.

After my two-and-a-half-year tour I realized I had found my passion for medicine. I returned to the U in 2015 and majored in biology with minor in chemistry. Because of my background in emergency medicine, I’ve looked largely at continuing that training and would like to become a trauma surgeon. That being said, I know enough about medicine to know that I’ve barely grazed the surface and am still keeping an open mind about the exact course in medicine I’ll be taking.”

—Craig L. Hanson, hospital corpsman second class, U.S. Navy, premed student

We’ll be featuring Humans of the U and sharing their stories throughout the year with the university community. If you know someone with a compelling story, let us know at ThisWeek@utah.edu.