#240NavyBday: Navy Medicine Reserves Celebrate 100 Years of Readiness

By Capt. Patricia K. McCafferty, executive officer, Operation Health Support Unit

Lt. Anthony Gomez, a registered nurse from Tampa, Fla., assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Tampa, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Norma Lane, from Imperial Beach, Calif., assigned to NOSC San Diego, calibrate a ventilator at the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit (MMU), located at Train, Advise and Assist Command – South, Kandahar Airfield. Approximately 90 Navy Reserve and activity-duty Sailors and officers work at the MMU which is the primary trauma receiving and referral center for all combat casualties in Southern Afghanistan and is manned largely by individual augmentee personnel serving on the NATO-led mission Resolute Support.

For 100 years, Navy Medicine Reservists have supported Sailors and Marines.Today, the Navy Medicine Reserve supports the entire U.S. Navy as it celebrates 240 years of naval presence around the globe, around the clock.

Trained and ready, Navy Medicine Reservists have been mobilized in times of crisis, whether it’s to support humanitarian operations or boots on the ground conflict. In 1991, Operation Desert Shield saw over 2,000 Navy Medicine Reservists deploy, and an additional 4,000 recalled to replace deployed personnel.

Our Reservists also provided operational support of deployed Navy and Marine Corps units; augmented active duty crews of two hospital ships (USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy); enabled the Navy to maintain the quality of health care for its beneficiaries; and provided staffs for 500 bed fleet hospitals deployed to Saudi Arabia.

Navy Medicine Reservists are ready, relevant, and responsive to the nation’s needs. Recently Navy Reserve Medicine teams offered their time and talent to underserved populations in the US during their Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) in Alabama. IRTs like this one occur yearly, and Navy Medicine Reserve support is critical to mission success.

Navy Medicine Reservists also attend to service members and their families in the same capacity as civilian doctors. We are part of a talented group of people dedicated to Sailors, Marines and their families around the globe.

Being a part of the Navy Medicine Reserve community provides the opportunity for an accelerated career track, and gives you the ability to participate in humanitarian relief opportunities, such as the recent partnership missions aboard the Navy’s two hospital ships. Navy Medicine Reservists also work in the top military medical facilities, receive advanced training and utilize progressive technology to provide world-class care.

In an era of a volunteer force, Navy Medicine Reservists continue to play a significant role both in war and peacetime. 70,000 Navy Reservists have been mobilized in the last decade, providing both ready units and individual augmentees in support of combat operations, humanitarian and disaster relief missions.

As I reflect on my career as a Navy Medicine Reservist on the Navy’s 240th birthday, I am so very proud When I see our flag I know that I am part of something special: a group of folks who have dual careers, dual lives and dual responsibilities. It is the most fulfilling job in the world. Happy birthday, U.S. Navy!