Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman
Senior Enlisted Leader for Nursing Services
National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.
all the rates in the Navy, which was
As a physical therapy technician,
I worked with stroke patients and
burn patients. One day you see
stroke patients not walking and the
next day you get them up gradually
and you’re leaning them, sitting on
the side of the bed, the next day
standing them. The next day, they’re
taking one step, until you start seeing them walking. With burn
patients, it’s seeing the pain they go
through and, after cleaning them
up, seeing how their skin grows
back. It’s just phenomenal how individuals are so recuperative.
It’s tough to see individuals your
age coming from Iraq or
Afghanistan with missing limbs.
Whatever we do every day helps
these individuals. I keep a positive
attitude, talking with my Sailors, asking them how
they’re doing to keep their spirits up.
I volunteered for duty in Iraq and served for 13
months as senior medical representative of 500 Sailors
with the Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion at Camp
Bucca. I worked in physical therapy for Iraqi detainees,
mostly amputees, providing ambulation and range-of-motion therapy. I think they were very appreciative. A lot
of the detainees never had dental work or medical care in
their lives. We also treated many who never knew they
were diabetic. The medication we gave them is prolonging their lives. I think we made a big difference.
Next year, I’ll graduate from Southern Illinois
University with a bachelor’s degree in hospital management. Maybe one day, when I retire, I’ll run a nursing
home with what I’ve learned from my physical therapy
Ijoined the Navy to see the world. I hadn’t seen much
besides Green Bay, Wis., where I’m from. I wanted to
get out on my own a little bit and journey, to see what’s
out there. I was interested in sports and in learning physical therapy, so after boot camp I chose the hospital corpsman rating, which was the path to physical therapy
school in San Antonio, Texas, and Camp Pendleton, Calif.
I’ve been in the Navy more than 22 years, with service in such overseas places as the Philippines, Guam,
Okinawa and Sicily. Because my specialty is concentrated in only a few locations, I never served on a ship
until I had 17 years in.
In 2003, when aircraft carriers were opened up to
assignment for physical therapy technicians, I joined
the crew of the USS George Washington. That tour had
the biggest impact on my career. We were in the
Persian Gulf almost the whole time. I got to work with
“With burn patients, it’s seeing the pain they go through and, after cleaning
them up, seeing how their skin grows back. It’s just phenomenal how