By: Chief Hospital Corpsman Javier Cortes, U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, Spain
I became a hospital corpsman because I wanted the opportunity to serve, to repay the country that’s given my family so much opportunity to succeed.
I am from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and enlisted in the Navy 18 years ago. Ten years ago I became an independent duty corpsman (IDC) and it has been one of the most rewarding choices I have made.
My first duty station was 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan – this is where I learned how rewarding it is to treat patients. In 2001, I received orders to Naval Hospital Cherry Point, North Carolina where I was assigned to the emergency department.
I have deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism to Guantanamo Bay and Iraq. After those deployments, I was stationed at Naval Branch Health Clinic Bahrain – it was at this duty station that I was selected for Surface Force IDC School.
My first assignment as an IDC was to the Foreign Military Training Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command where I had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout South America and Southeast Asia to train partner nations in combatting terrorism.
In 2010, I transferred to SEAL Team Two in Little Creek, Virginia where I deployed to U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Northern Command as the senior medical department representative.
Aside from combat deployment, one of the most adventurous things I have done was jumping from a helicopter into the Amazon River. I have also taught Tactical Combat Casualty Care in several different countries. The most rewarding part of teaching was when someone would come up to me and share how the skills I taught them helped save someone’s life.
I am currently stationed at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota as the senior enlisted leader for the directorate for administration. As a primary care manager, I also see patients about four days a week in our primary care clinic as part of our Medical Home Port approach to care. It was at this command that I was honored to be selected as the 2016 Shore IDC of the Year.
I enjoy being able to see patients, especially here, where I am able to see a diverse population that I may not otherwise see in the fleet. The reason I became a corpsman was to help people. I am extremely proud of the hospital corpsman heritage, of being given the opportunity to care for people in their time of need – whether that’s in a clinic, on a battlefield or on a ship.
I am Hospital Corpsman Chief Javier Cortes, and I am Navy Medicine.