HM1 Smith at an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) in Kauai, Hawaii where they saw more than 10,000 locals in a joint effort with the Air National Guards and United States Air Force.

I am Navy Medicine: Navy Medicine Reservist Hospital Corpsman 1st class Ailyn Smith – Torres

By Hospital corpsman 1st class Ailyn Smith-Torres

HM1 Smith at an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) in Kauai, Hawaii where they saw more than 10,000 locals in a joint effort with the Air National Guards and United States Air Force.
HM1 Smith at an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) in Kauai, Hawaii where
they saw more than 10,000 locals in a joint effort with the Air National
Guards and United States Air Force.

In 2001, I was attending nursing school and working as a certified medical assistant, a position I had held for more than seven years. One day, as I was driving down 32nd street in San Diego, California, I saw an advertisement for the U.S. Navy Reserve.  I wrote down the number and called the recruiter right away. I told him that I was 32 years old, a single parent, and a full-time student, and would like to be in a position where I can take care of others. He told me that the Navy accepts applicants up to 40 years-of-age and that I could be a hospital corpsman (HM) with my background.  I didn’t know what an HM was so I told the recruiter I would do my research.  When I read about HMs and why the Marines call them ‘Doc’, I told my recruiter I was ready to sign up.  He came by my office the next day with my contract and here I am 14 years later.

As an HM in the Navy Reserve, I stayed in the medical field and was able to care for others.

I was mobilized for the first time at Naval Medical Center San Diego in September 2006 for one year. There I utilized my medical assistant skills and the skills I learned during drill training as a reserve corpsman.  NMCSD has one of the largest wounded warrior care facilities in the country and I was assigned to the MedSurge department where I worked directly with wounded warriors. It was a very fulfilling to know I made a difference by being there, talking to them and taking care of their families.

Today, I get to mobilize Navy Reserve Medicine members whenever and wherever the Navy needs them.  Being able to give our reservists the opportunity and excitement that I experienced on my first deployment is priceless.  You always have to be ready when it comes to the Navy Medicine mission, whether it’s a two week, 30-day or a yearlong tour.  When I mobilize my Navy Medicine reservists I make sure they are ready in that moment to fit the billet.

Being a part of Navy Medicine’s readiness mission has truly been my box of chocolate.

I am Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ailyn Smith-Torres. I am Navy Medicine.