Face of Defense: Urge to Help Motivates Deployed Sailor
By Marine Corps Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
Regional Command Southwest
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan, Jan. 7, 2013 Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class George Felli’s personal journey started in Accai, Ghana, took him to the hustle and commotion of Brooklyn, N.Y., and now finds him in a different type of city: Sangin, Afghanistan.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class George Felli works in the battalion aid station and volunteers to help prepare and serve meals at Forward Operating Base Sabit Qadam, Afghanistan. The Accai, Ghana, native said he became a hospital corpsman because he wanted to help others. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy Lenzo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
He has learned many things in his life, he said, but two things stick out: he wants to help people and to appreciate what he has earned.
As the hospital corpsman assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7, Felli is responsible for the health and safety of 26 service members. He takes care of everything from their medical records and basic first aid to their physicals and periodic health assessments.
“I wanted to work with Marines and volunteered for it,” Felli said. “I wanted to help people, and the Marines never go anywhere without a corpsman.”
Felli’s responsibilities extend beyond the 26 Marines here. He volunteered to help prepare and serve meals and works in the battalion aid station.
“[Felli] operates the next pay grade above him,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Fitzgerald, a corpsman and training petty officer with the battalion. “He’s a very hard worker. He can work on a team, but he can also work independently. I wish there were more people like him.”
Felli worked on a vast array of injuries during his time in Afghanistan. He is called in for emergencies to the battalion aid station.
Many of Felli’s patients have not been Marines. Afghans bring wounded people to the aid station if there are no other options. On one occasion, he treated children who suffered burns from an enemy roadside bomb.
“We’ve worked together on the table with some of the mass casualties,” said Fitzgerald, from Yucca Valley, Calif. “He did a great job in those situations and helped stop the bleeding so we could take the casualties to surgery.”
Felli said living the first half of his life in Ghana helped to prepare him for his deployment to Afghanistan. He does not mind the long hours and hard work.
“I came to the United States when I was about 14,” he said.
“I’ve seen the rough parts of life,” he added. “Coming from Ghana gives me a different perspective. In the [United States], we have everything. In Ghana, we have to fight or work for everything.”
Having to work hard made him more appreciative of what he has earned, Felli said. This helps while deployed thousands of miles from his wife, Amber, and 2-year-old son, Daniel.
“I take a deep breath, and I remember everything is going to be OK,” he said. “For me, I have more than I could ever ask for right now.”
Felli still has extended family in Ghana. He tries to visit as much as possible.
“My whole family is very proud of me,” he said. “They sent me some Christmas emails with their prayers and support. I’d like to take my family to visit them once my son is older.”
Felli said he plans on re-enlisting next month. For now, he added, he continues to support the people who need his help in Afghanistan.