I am Navy Medicine: Capt. Alison Eagleton

By Capt. Alison Eagleton, reserve affairs officer, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

I’m the reserve affairs officer for the Medical Corps at the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. I’m also the interim reserve affairs officer for the Nurse Corps, which means I’m responsible for 1,700 Medical Corps and Nurse Corps officers worldwide.

When I started with Navy Medicine, I never imagined what I could accomplish and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my Navy and Marine Corps family.

Capt. Alison Eagleton (left) joins Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joel Negranza, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Donald Kern, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bradley Murphy and Capt. Charles Pasque at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital during Oklahoma City Navy Week 2016.

I am here because I am meant to be here. The Navy truly saved my life. I was an athlete growing up and everything was very predictable, structured and scheduled. When I went off on my own as a young adult I lacked purpose. I had no structure and felt I was losing my way. When I joined the Navy it gave me the greater sense of purpose I missed.

Joining the Navy was something I always wanted to do, but didn’t have the guts to do for a long time. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I reached a soul-searching point in my life when I ran into a Navy Medicine recruiter, Lt. Cmdr. Eve Cushing. I’ll never forget her. I joined the Navy and the rest is history. It allowed me to give back and serve my country in a way I would never thought I could.

As I look back on my 25 years in the Navy, the most rewarding experiences were when I was able to reach out and touch someone’s life. For me, that’s when I deployed with Pacific Partnership in 2008.

 DA NANG, Vietnam (July 28, 2016) Hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sits anchored off the coast of Da Nang, during its third mission stop of Pacific Partnership 2016. Mercy is joined in Da Nang by JS Shimokita (LST-4002) and Vietnam People's Navy ship Khánh Hóa for Pacific Partnership. Partner nations are working side-by-side with local organizations to conduct cooperative health engagements, community relation events and subject matter expert exchanges to better prepare for natural disaster or crisis. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)
‘The big white ship’ – USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) sits anchored during Pacific Partnership 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)

You don’t realize the impact you have on lives when you’re forward deployed. I recently came in contact with a Navy hospital corpsman (an enlisted medical specialist) and she told a story of the ‘big white ship’ that came to her home country, Benin, in 2008. Everything she described happened to coincide with the memories I had of my deployment. She was nine years old at the time and now she is a hospital corpsman in the Navy. She said our visit was one of the main reasons she joined the Navy. It’s amazing the affect your actions and presence can have on people.

I have such a passion for this aspect of Navy service. It is part of my soul. I want to make the world a better place. I enjoy serving my country and providing Sailors, Marines and their families the best health care possible. Ensuring the success of my Sailors, my physicians and my nurses in their careers is important to me and I strive to make a difference.

My youngest son is now a Marine and it really brings home how my job impacts the care of Sailors and Marines. It reminds me how important my work is and how it affects the lives of our service members, our families, and our Nation.

I am Capt. Alison Eagleton and I am Navy Medicine.