JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Navy Medicine Training Support Center (NMTSC) and Navy Medicine Education, Training and Logistics Command (NMETLC) hosted 42 Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) cadets from Richmond, Texas, for a Navy Medicine orientation visit in early December at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
The George Bush High School students visited Jaenke Hall, one of two hospital corps student dormitories, where they received a Navy Medicine overview from Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Gentry, a Navy nurse serving as NMTSC’s Hospital Corpsman Basic Course department head and public affairs officer.
Gentry’s “Navy Medicine 101” presentation included brief video clips of Navy Medicine enlisted and officers describing their job.
A Navy Medicine video introduced students to expeditionary medicine, garrison health care, wounded warrior care, research and development, global health engagement, and medical education, training and logistics. Another showed life on a hospital ship during global health engagement.
Gentry was followed by several NMTSC officer and enlisted staff who described their career field and answered student questions.
“The presenters did a fantastic job representing not only Navy Medicine but also the other important functions the Navy has to offer young people in both the commissioned and enlisted fields,” said retired Navy Capt. Scott Evertson, George Bush High School NJROTC senior naval science instructor.
NMTSC staff members described several hospital corps specialties and the multitude of job assignments and locations Hospital Corpsmen may be assigned. The students heard from NMTSC Navy nurses and the Medical Service Corps. They listened intently as NMTSC Sailors described their career in the Master At Arms, Culinary Specialist and Personnel Specialist, all followed by questions and answers about their career and Navy life.
“It was a good experience learning about the Navy and what I can do in the Navy,” said Cadet Seaman Recruit Elvis Mosquera, a freshman. “It influenced me and my decision to stay in NJROTC and become a corpsman.”
The cadets were in San Antonio to represent the more than 200-member George Bush High School NJROTC unit in the Sea Dragon Classic Drill Meet at Southwest High School and to receive a basic orientation to the Navy.
“The cadets have limited exposure to the Navy in the Houston area,” Evertson said. “They were able to interact with active duty Sailors from multiple career paths.”
The students benefitted from asking questions and learning more about the Navy mission from those living it. Evertson said the Navy benefitted because the cadets know more about the Navy, and in turn, some will want to pursue careers in areas they had not considered.
Cadet Seaman Recruit Stanley Akujor, a junior, was one such student.
“My visit was great because it exposed me to the type of medical careers that the Navy offers,” Akujor said. “The best part of the visit was hearing how our guides believed that they have the best job in the Navy. It showed me that I can receive the greatest joy from any career I choose. Free education sounds very tempting, even if I have to serve. I just want to help people, and I think that possibly joining the Navy could be a good start.”
Gentry was one of the “guides” Akujor referenced and said she always enjoys promoting the medical profession and the Navy.
“Being a Navy nurse has afforded me many amazing opportunities,” Gentry said. “It's a great feeling to think that I could be a part of motivating someone to achieve their goals of pursuing a career in medicine, the Navy or both.”
Gentry said Sailors are ambassadors with duties that go beyond patient care or preparing meals for the crew.
“We are responsible for helping to promote the Navy,” Gentry said. “Students who are in NJROTC are already highly motivated individuals, and these are the types of individuals we want serving our country.”
Cadet Commander Beatriz Socorro-Fuentes, a senior and the cadet commanding officer, is one of the highly motivated individuals Gentry described and influenced. She said the visit expanded her understanding of the Navy and the variety of career opportunities available.
“The presentations further encouraged me to pursue a career as a military doctor,” Socorro-Fuentes said. “This route was one that I had already planned taking, but after the presentations, those plans became more concrete.”