When I went on training exercises with the Marines, the unit CO had my name, rank, etc., and a brief idea of my mission. We wore Marine dungarees and basic equipment. During training, I did not carry a weapon, because motion picture cameras are heavy. But if I had been sent into combat, I would have been assigned a pistol, carbine, or shotgun, or some combination thereof! While not expected to fight except in dire circumstances, I did not have the alleged protection of a Hospital Corpsman ssigned permanently to the Marines. I say alleged because Navy Corpsmen are as apt to get killed or wounded as any Marine. John Bradley, one of the raisers of the second flag on Iwo Jima, was a Hospital Corpsman Second Class (E5). He was later wounded treating a Marine who had been wounded.
I was a Sailor as much as a Gunners' Mate or Boatswains' Mate, and my job may at times have had more strategic value than their tactical contributions. I documented the sea trials of Nuclear Carriers and Submarines, to prove out their worth and functions. My definition of soldier may be broader than most, but I agree it would not have included slaves, though they certainly were in danger at times. Stan