Life is unpredictable; always taking different turns and shifting life into new opportunities. Accepting new opportunities, in result, shapes who we are and the lives we live.
This is the story of Richard Rosca, an ACTCM Student and US Navy Veteran.
In 1994, a young man from New Jersey was determined to head out West. Without an initial plan on how to do so, he envisioned himself where he wanted to go and who he wanted to be. Currently attending college part-time for his undergraduate studies at Kean University, his manifestation stumbled upon him without the knowledge of how it would shape the rest of his life.
One day while attending college, a friend of Richard’s needed a ride to a military recruitment office. After he dropped his friend off, Richard waited outside for him to return while snacking on a bag of chips to pass the time. As he was eating, a recruiter noticed him and asked if he could have a word. Being in the right place at the right time made all the difference in what occurred next in Richard’s life.
The recruiter spoke to Richard about all the different opportunities the military provides, and the places it could take him. A spark ignited in Richard, knowing that this could be his one shot to living the life he had always dreamed of, and that’s exactly what he did. This unintentional conversation turned into an idea, and that idea turned into action. Before he knew it, Richard was signing a contract with the US Navy to enlist in basic training.
Upon completion of the initial Navy boot camp, Richard began searching for a particular trade to learn and craft into a long-term profession. Originally, he signed up to be an aviation rescue swimmer; but ended up not making the final cut. This was a blessing in disguise, because it switched his focus to becoming a medic Corpsman. A “Corpsman” in the US Navy performs assistant duties in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury to assist health care professionals in providing medical care to members of the Navy and Marine Corps.
It takes nine-months to become a Corpsman in the US Navy, and Richard described it as a “compressed medical school.” This formal education set a strong foundation including the completion of multiple anatomy courses, labs, and most importantly learning the language of medicine. Richard continued to become specialized in the field of medicine and trauma which allocated him to work with infantry units in the Marine Corps and Special Operations Commands.
Training was rigorous but prepared Richard for real life situations including how to dress wounds under stress, with no lighting, while in bad austere environments. Everyone was taught to work under pressure with other medics and teams. It was a very progressive training, and each phase to follow became more specialized. The “on the job training” was as intense as it could be, but Corpsman had the opportunity to work with some of the best medics in the world.
Throughout Richard’s experience, he became a Master Training Specialist in survival, evasion, resistance, escape, and joint personnel recovery. Additionally; he was an expeditionary warfare specialist and worked with the Fleet Marine Force and Navy SEAL Teams. During this time in the military, Richard trained in Eishin-ryu laido and Iwama Aikido. Living on military bases for almost 8 years, he had the opportunity to live and travel to different countries across the world.
Richard dedicated two decades of his life to his career as a Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman and retired in 2015. During the last two years of his service, a mentor of Richard’s helped push him to complete his bachelor’s degree. Knowing that leaving the military would be an enormous shift in reality, his mentor knew it would benefit him once he became a civilian again. Looking back; it’s ironic to ponder that after 20 years of active service, it was all initiated through one simple accidental conversation. An entire life worth of experiences derived from one initial act.
Already knowing it would be a difficult transition, Richard felt as if he was in a state of limbo after his retirement from the US Navy. He thought of returning to school to become a Physician’s Assistant through Stanford University, but knew his heart was pointing towards a different direction. Then a voice of reason, his mother, one day reminded him of the values he held dear to his heart. She told him of a story of when he was a child, and how he would love to go to China Town in New York with her. His favorite part of visiting China Town was to see acupuncturists working with needles. Richard was always excited and intrigued on how treating people with needles helped fix their problems.
The fire was ignited once again within Richard, and he finally knew what his next phase of life would be. In 2016, Richard Rosca enrolled in the DACM Program at ACTCM, and will be leaving as a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine this December 2020. He said, “this was his new life-purpose waiting for him”.
Upon graduation, Richard will stay and work with two local mentors in California while gaining additional experience. His long-term goals are to head Southwest between Arizona and New Mexico to work with the Navajo Communities. A few years from now, Richard will have his own retreat center for patients to learn about health and to receive care. His journey is far from over.
“Act without doing;
Work without effort.
Think of the small as large
And the few as many.
Confront the difficult
While it is still easy;
Accomplish the great task
By a series of small acts.”
– Lao Tzu
About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.