Sgt. 1st Class Jason Trumbull, a court reporter for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, was the first Soldier to attend the Marine Corps court reporter course at the Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I.
Jeremiah Scheler, a paralegal specialist for the Middle East District, said the organization previously used contractors for court reporting services, which is more expensive and time-consuming.
“We estimate that bringing Sgt. 1st Class Trumbull on board will save the government over $100,000 per year,” Scheler said. “And that includes the cost of purchasing the equipment he needs.”
Trumbull attended the Marine Corps’ course because, at the time of scheduling, the Army’s school didn’t have any openings. Rather than have him work for months without training, he attended the Marine’s training.
Trumbull learned the verbatim, or voice writing, method of court reporting, rather than stenography, which is typing. The court reporter uses a closed microphone which covers the mouth and is soundproof to prevent interrupting the court process. The court reporter repeats all words spoken during the proceedings, and the words are transcribed onto a computer screen.
The course taught skills beyond just using the computer equipment.
“We’re trained to speak at least 240 words per minute,” Trumbull said. “The average friendly conversation spoken in American English is about 110 to 150 words per minute.”
Trumbull said nearly half the class was spent on English – grammar and punctuation skills, because the court reporter needs to edit the transcript after it is created.
Originally a paralegal, Trumbull became a medic and served in that capacity for over 10 years before deploying as a paralegal in 2012. When he returned stateside, he worked again in a medical capacity, serving as a clinic chief at Walter Reed Military Medical Center before attending the court reporter training.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Gallaher, the Naval Justice School’s court reporting course chief, said not only was Trumbull known as one of the most committed students in the course but he also made a difference in a young Marine’s life.
Trumbull noticed a Marine classmate was showing signs of depression, and brought his concerns to Gallaher. He credits his Army training and his medical training with showing him how to recognize the warning signs.
All Soldiers attend a one-hour suicide awareness training each year. The Army’s suicide prevention training is based on the ACE model. Ask, Care, Escort are the three steps to identifying and assisting somebody who may be at risk of suicide. Ask the question directly “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Care for your buddy by listening without judgment, and keeping the situation calm and controlled. And Escort your buddy to the chain of command, chaplain or healthcare provider without ever leaving him or her alone.
“As a medic, I’m trained to notice the signs of depression and when to intervene,” he said. “I noticed this bright young Marine who seemed extremely sleepy and low energy, and wasn’t doing well in class.”
Gallaher was able to get the corporal the help he needed, and weeks later, he finished the course with honors.
“His involvement with getting a young corporal help during the course revealed a depth of character and concern that defines the model service member,” Gallaher said. “The SFC may have saved that Marine’s life.”