News: Medical officer of Marine Corps visits Okinawa
Story by Lance Cpl. Alyssa N. Gunton
CAMP FOSTER, Japan - The medical officer of the Marine Corps, Rear Adm. Michael H. Anderson, and deputy medical officer of the Marine Corps, Rear Adm. Charles Harr, visited medical personnel and conducted briefings Jan. 14-17 throughout Okinawa.
Anderson and Harr toured medical clinics and met with service members to see the work III Marine Expeditionary Force does on a daily basis. Navy Capt. Russell C. Gilbert, the Marine Corps Forces Pacific surgeon, and Navy Capt. John P. LaBanc, the III MEF surgeon, accompanied the admirals during their visit.
The distinguished guests visited 3rd Medical Battalion’s simulated trauma and advanced training center. The battalion is part of Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF.
The center is III MEF’s first medical predeployment training facility of its kind, according to Lt. Eva Reed, the officer in charge of the center, which was designed to provide corpsmen realistic combat care training. Corpsmen with combat experience were handpicked to serve as instructors at the center.
“This is going to be immensely beneficial to corpsmen and providers because it’s an integration of our experience from combat,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Brendan D. Tran, an instructor at the center and corpsman with the battalion. “This visit is great because it gives (Rear Adm. Anderson the chance) to observe the effective training we conduct here.”
Anderson and Harr also briefed medical personnel and sailors throughout the island during their visit.
“You all do a phenomenal job,” said Anderson. “I’m here to recognize the good work you’re doing. You have all earned your reputations due to the work that you do every day.”
Anderson spoke about the crucial role of corpsmen for III MEF and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
“I often talk about the good things that you’re doing to (ensure) you have the resources (needed) to continue to be the tip of spear, deliver care to Marines and sailors, and be part of the fighting machine that’s known as America’s 911 force in readiness,” said Anderson. “The commandant talks on a regular basis about the expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps. As I stand here and look out at this crowd, I know he’s talking about you, III MEF, being prepared to go execute any mission that may be tasked.”
Harr spoke about how caring for service members is vital to more than just the Marine Corps’ and Navy’s missions.
“What’s important is my son. These Marines and sailors you look after are someone’s sons and daughters,” Harr continued. “You all have been given the gift of looking after them. Not only can you fight and defend yourself, but you can restore life – you can bring it back. We do it better than anyone else. You guys can provide care on the ground, put them on a helicopter, whether it is in the dark or in the cold. That’s really important.”
Anderson and Harr agreed that the work of medical personnel is necessary for III MEF to accomplish its mission.
“What you do on a daily basis is appreciated and recognized at every level of our military and government,” said Anderson. “When the president says ‘turn your eyes toward the Pacific,’ it means your countrymen are turning their eyes to you and what you do in an extremely busy (environment) through exercises and partnership building.
“Keep up the good work. I thank you for what you do. We appreciate the sacrifices that you make wearing your uniform, whether it’s blue or green.”