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    I Am Navy Medicine, Senior Sailor of the Quarter, Cambodian Immigrant – HM1 Danny Varath

    I Am Navy Medicine, Senior Sailor of the Quarter, Cambodian Immigrant – HM1 Danny Varath

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | An unexpected surprise…Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Danny Varath, Naval Hospital/Navy...... read more read more

    After a childhood spent in post war-torn Cambodia, making the decision to join the military in his adopted nation was not met with overwhelming acceptance by family.

    Yet for Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Danny Varath, his career choice has resulted in gradual approval at home, professional development in his preferred field, and personal appreciation for being part of the U.S. Navy.

    “I have always been interested in the military since I was a little kid in Cambodia. Growing up, military and political violent was part of life. It was normal to hear gun fire and grenades going off,” said Varath, born in Phnom Penh before relocating to the U.S. in 1999, living in Philadelphia, Pa., and graduating from Samuel Fels High School in 2006.

    It was at Samuel Fels that he initially became aware of the Navy.

    “My interest started when two guys who graduated that year came in wearing their service white uniform with a recruiter. That is when I found out about all the opportunity the Navy has to offer. I saw that as a way out of poverty, gang and drug infested city. The Navy slogan back then was ‘Accelerate your life.’ That was what I needed,” Varath said.

    After high school, Varath got accepted into the Nursing Program at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where his sister achieved her PhD. However, he decided to put college on hold and instead opted to seek employment.

    “The 2006 to 2009 housing crisis was a tough time for the economy and job market. I was unemployed half of the time. I was very dissatisfied with the direction that my life was going. I finally decided to start a new journey and join the military,” related Varath, choosing to become a hospital corpsmen based upon his passion to be in the medical field.

    Still, the hardest part of his decision was departing from his family into a military career which brought back echoes of war from being raised in the aftermath of the horrors from a protracted civil war and the genocidal terror of the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge years.

    “It wasn`t easy for my parents to accept my decision. They both lost siblings in the military and they do not want to go through that again. In a war-torn nation, being in the military is a death sentence. Growing up, four of my cousins didn`t have their parents. I understand how they feel. It was one of the hardest decision I had to make. My mom broke down and cried on the day I shipped out to the boot camp,” explained Varath.

    Fast forward from that day a dozen years ago. Varath is far from the killing fields. He’s an x-ray technician and leading petty officer of Naval Hospital Bremerton’s Radiology department after previous assignment at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point, USS George Washington (CVN 73), and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

    His work – and ability – as an x-ray tech has not gone unnoticed. Varath was recently recognized as the command’s Senior Sailor of the Quarter.

    “I was very surprised. I didn`t think I had what it take to be SSOQ,” shared Varath. “The competition was tough and it has always been that way. Being selected means that I represent my department, my chain of command, all the staff and junior sailors` accomplishment well. No one can make it on their own in the Navy. I learned that early on.”

    Varath and his Radiology Department team provide crucial services in supporting the Navy surgeon general priorities of operational readiness and the core mission of ensuring force medical readiness with a ready medical force.

    “We provide clinical supports for the providers to help them diagnose patients with imaging. With proper diagnoses, we can reduce medical error, provide better treatment plan, and reduce recovery time,” said Varath.

    NHB’s Radiology Department conducted approximately 23,000 total diagnostic exams during the ongoing pandemic in 2021, along with 1,300 diagnostic CT exams, over 100 cone beam CT scans, nearly 1,650 mammograms, over 1,550 MRIs, approximately 2,500 ultrasounds and more than 180 nuclear medicine bone density scans. Additionally, the branch health clinics located on Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Naval Station Everett and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard each performed hundreds of x-ray requests, along with NHB Radiology also assisting x-ray needs for 92d Medical Group, Fairchild Air Force Base.

    “During the whole pandemic, we stayed open every day to assist our Urgent Care team and clinics to help diagnose patient with positive COVID and disease progression,” noted Varath.

    Varath’s nomination as Senior Sailor of the Quarter correlates with the annual Department of Defense observation of May as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This year’s theme, “Advancing Leaders through Collaboration” recognizes the collective benefits resulting from a spirit of community, cooperation and cultural engagement and thoroughly resonates with Varath.

    “Diversity and inclusion are the main reason I stay in the Navy. From my experience in the civilian work force the Navy is very fair for promotion and pay opportunities. If you put forth your best effort and work hard every day, someone will notice it. You will get recognized,” Varath said, adding that the best part(s) of his Navy career have been meeting new people, building new friendships, and being able to travel.

    When asked to sum up his experience being part of Navy Medicine Varath replied, “I wish I could had joined sooner. I would do it over and over again. I will have stories to tell my grandkids someday.”



    Date Taken: 05.20.2022
    Date Posted: 05.20.2022 14:06
    Story ID: 421194

    Web Views: 392
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