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    From Security to Social Work: CFAO Security Department Chief Petty Officer Commissioned into Medical Service Corps

    KADENA, Japan (Jun. 17, 2021) On Jun. 15, 2021, Chief Master-at-Arms Frederick Joshua, assigned to Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa, took his oath of office and was sworn in as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps. His path was unusual in that he had no direct ties to the medical service but he chose this difficult and unusual path to better serve others.
    According to the American Board of Clinical Social Work, clinical social work is a healthcare profession based on theories and methods of prevention and treatment in providing mental-health/healthcare services, with a special focus on behavioral and bio-psychosocial problems and disorders. With a quarter-million practitioners, they are the largest group of mental health care providers in the U.S.
    “The core of social work is to provide a service to the people, advocate against social injustice, respecting the dignity and worth of a person, and communicate the importance of human relationships all while practicing integrity and competence,” said Frederick. “I believe I embody common traits all social workers share and at the very foundation is my selfless act to help someone in need or create a sense of worth in a person as a preventive measure against mental and behavioral illness.”

    Before the Navy, the Baltimore native worked at a fast food restaurant where he saw no potential for promotion. He was influenced to join the military and work in law enforcement by his family; his parents were Army veterans, and his grandmother, mother and father-figure worked for the Maryland State Correctional Facility. He joined the Navy in November 2002 as a master-at-arms seaman recruit. Master-at-arms Sailors provide security and perform law enforcement duties in the Navy, though through his naval service he found there was something else he wanted to do and the Navy could help him do it.

    “When I found out the Navy had active duty social workers, my mind frame changed,” he said.  “I discovered my passion early on in my career when I had the chance to be a career counselor for the security division.”  
    This led to his involvement with the Drug and Alcohol Program and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program as he realized the importance of advocating for people in need.  “Combining both, helping people recover and being able to provide career resources, fueled my ambitions,” he said.
    Having gone far in his enlisted career field he set his sights on becoming a naval officer so he could do more on a larger scale and to become an active duty clinical social worker. To do so he took advantage of the Medical Service Corps In-service Procurement Program (MSC-IPP).   MSC IPP allows Sailors in paygrades E-5 through E-9 who meet the eligibility criteria to directly commission into the medical service corps and attend fully funded training to complete a qualifying degree with no break in service. It offers a range of undergraduate and graduate training opportunities in medical specialties.
    “It was difficult for me because I wanted to be a part of the medical service corps (MSC) with no medical background nor contacts within the Medical Service Corps,” he said. Through his persistence he met and built rapport with medical officers who could help him begin working towards meeting the MSC IPP requirements for commissioning.
    Juggling current and future career requirements, he was simultaneously the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach harbor division leading petty officer, interning as a community counselor at Mariposa, and attending the University of Central Florida. He said he was able to overcome these challenges and maintain balance in his life by keeping active communication with his command leadership, school professors, and supervisor.
    “It took a tremendous amount of meticulous planning, scheduling, and studying,” he said. “Finding time for self-care helped me keep a focused mind and push forward towards my goal.” 
    To achieve the necessary degrees from an associates to a masters of social work, Joshua took advantage of the Navy’s tuition assistance program, government grants and the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
    His perseverance paid off and after four years he earned his commission. Commissioning isn’t the end of the process as his next step is completing a two-year fellowship to become a licensed clinical social worker.
    He credits his success in part to the support of a large number of people, beginning with his wife and family. His NWS Seal Beach command leadership, chief’s mess, and Sailors, and the 2017 Summer Cohort of the University of Central Florida were also encouraging. He said many Medical Service Corps officers were pivotal in providing mentorship and guiding him through the application process.
    He advises other Sailors interested in becoming officers to first focus on their careers and be the best they can be.
    “Create a road map using the “Sailor of the Year” format to create a well-rounded Sailor performing at an optimum level,” he said. “Learn and study what you want to be as an officer and remain focused on the goal.  Build rapport with the officer community respectfully, and voice your goals and aspirations every opportunity you get.  There are officers and enlisted Sailors who are willing to step out of their comfort zone to provide help, so you must be willing to do the same to accomplish your goals.”



    Date Taken: 06.17.2021
    Date Posted: 06.17.2021 02:54
    Story ID: 399129
    Location: OKINAWA, JP
    Hometown: BALTIMORE, MD, US

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