To help better prepare U.S. Navy medical corpsmen for the stress and danger of deployments in Afghanistan when accompanying Marine Corps teams on the battlefield, scientists at RTI International collaborated with the Naval Health Research Center to develop a 200-page graphic novel.
The Docs is designed to psychologically prepare corpsmen by realistically portraying common concerns faced in war zones. RTI staff worked closely with Naval Health Research Center personnel on the storyline, text, illustration, and production of the novel.
The story follows four fictional corpsmen as they deploy to Iraq with the Marine Corps and encounter insurgent attacks and roadside bombs, as well as deal with the emotional turmoil of treating the wounded and family issues at home. The Docs is intended to prepare corpsmen for their first and subsequent deployments to Afghanistan, as well as help inactive serviceman still wrestling with post-combat issues.
The emphasis is on storytelling and realism. The novel includes drawings of the battlefield and seriously wounded servicemen. The format and genre is appealing to the target audience of 18- to 24-year olds and includes thought-provoking content for discussion in training sessions.
The Navy distributed thousands of copies of the graphic novel at sites where corpsmen are being trained and animated the story for viewing on portable phones and computers.