JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Lt. Cmdr. Veronica White, assigned to the operations department of Naval Medical Forces Support Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, received the Joint Service Achievement Medal for her deployment in support of COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
White deployed with U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command to execute medical planning, information flow, and the responsiveness of USNORTHCOM Defense Support of Civil Authorities requirements in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s COVID-19 vaccination operations.
Specifically, she completed six site surveys in Boston, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Atlanta, Georgia, visiting U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps assets, delineating requirements for medical and non-medical Department of Defense personnel. Along with site visits, White processed 723 credentials and redeployment of 1,778 Department of the Navy service members and aided 13 Vaccination Support Teams in administering 1.44 million shots across the USNORTHCOM area of responsibility.
“I’m honored and humbled to be receiving this award,” White said. “I was just one person in a huge effort and to experience first-hand the level of commitment that our joint forces had to help their fellow man on our soil, it amplifies the meaning behind ‘for love and country.’”
Col. Ray Jablonka, U.S. Army North Surgeon and JFLCC surgeon for COVID-19, complemented White on her outstanding efforts during the ceremony.
“I just want to relay my sincerest appreciation to the team, specifically Veronica White, for her dedication and volunteerism to support our operation,” Jablonka said. “This was clearly a joint operation, deploying medical teams in support of the state and municipalities, with no higher interest than assisting our own citizens in need.
“In a joint environment while deploying Navy personnel and integrating them into these civilian hospitals and vaccination centers, we needed a subject matter expert that understood how to speak the language of the Navy,” Jablonka said. “We greatly appreciated her assistance.”
A big part of the deployment was getting to talk to Sailors around the country.
“While at one of the sites, a hospital corpsman came up to me and asked if I had any recommendations for him as this was his first 'deployment,'” White said. “I was awestruck. Here is a fresh Hospital Corpsman asking how to be the best at his job. These little moments get lost in the chaos but it’s a great reminder that amid all the uncertainty, we still give it 110%.”