During my 37 years of service, I have served with extraordinary Sailors whose stories will never earn the recognition they deserve. Stories that are considered “routine” and “ordinary” to all but those of us who serve in uniform. Last week, I had the unique privilege to visit some of our Sailors who have been through unimaginable and life-changing injuries; but whose shear will and determination have inspired each other to overcome what seemed to be life-threatening for many of them. Despite their circumstances, these shipmates continue to wear the uniform and serve our Navy with deep pride. I have never been so proud to be in our Navy than when I listened to the achievements of our shipmates at Brooke Army Medical Center. They are fighting and recovering from stage 3 cancer, amputations, a broken neck, severe burns, steam-burned lungs, brain tumors, shattered legs. I was inspired to learn that many of them not only want to recover, but they are actively helping each other study to make rate and assisting the staff with the transition of new patients. ENC Peter Johns, MMC Robert Bruce, AM2 Andrew Johnson, CTT2 Melissa Watson, EN3 Eric Turner, BM3 James McMillian, AO3 Marian Jackson are not just patients; they are leaders with a profound sense of duty. The staff led by HMC Timothy Alonzo, HMC David Sisk and HM1 Anthony Reyes are professionals in their field who serve not only as care providers, but multi-task as career counselors, administrators and mentors.
All the best, JCHjr