Medical Service Corps director visits students during San Antonio Navy Week
From Navy Medicine Support Command Public Affairs
SAN ANTONIO - The Navy's Medical Service Corps (MSC) director, who is also the director of Navy Medicine Support Command, visited nearly 100 high school students Oct. 26 as part of the Navy's largest community outreach program in southeast Texas.
Rear Adm. Eleanor Valentin met with John Marshall High School students during San Antonio Navy Week, a community outreach effort she said can significantly impact a community with an ever-increasing Navy footprint.
"We are in San Antonio to show San Antonio their Navy," she said. "The visit here to John Marshall gives the Navy a chance to increase awareness of the Navy and Navy Medicine among the students."
Valentin visited with health careers, Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students.
"The Army and Air Force have had a large presence in San Antonio for many years," she said. "This gave me a chance to talk about how the Navy is a global force for good, and how Navy Medicine plays an important role as part of that global force with our work in humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian assistance is a key element of the nation's maritime strategy."
Valentin also emphasized the importance of including STEM classes in their studies, whether they decide to join the Navy or work outside military service.
"The primary mission of Navy Medicine is to maintain a fit and healthy force," Valentin told students. "We depend on science and technology to perform our mission. We need scientists in medical research, we need engineers who can develop the highly technical equipment we depend on, and a foundation in math is essential in any of these areas. This is true in the Navy, Navy Medicine or in the private sector."
Valentin also described the Navy's role as the branch of the military that fights on, under and even over the water.
"This is very important because the water covers about 70 percent of the earth's surface, about 80 percent of the world's population lives near the ocean, and about 90 percent of all international trade travels by sea," she said.
Valentin also talked about the work Navy Medicine is doing in San Antonio.
"Navy Medicine makes up the majority of Navy personnel serving in San Antonio," Valentin said. "Our commands are doing work in medical education and training, medical research, and in medical information systems. The work Navy Medicine is doing in San Antonio directly impacts the Navy and the rest of the world."
San Antonio, historically home to numerous Army and Air Force commands and bases, now boasts the Navy's largest 'A' School - which is part of the Medical Education Training Campus (METC), a tri-service training facility opened as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure initiative.
"Our work in San Antonio is having a global impact," she said. "Medical researchers are working in a variety of areas ranging from combat casualty care to the effects lasers have on humans.
She added, "Our people working in education and training are part of the largest consolidation of enlisted education in the history of the Department of Defense. Working side by side with their sister services - the Army and Air Force - they teach over 9,000 enlisted medical students each day. Navy Medicine's medical information technology personnel here in San Antonio support Navy Medicine globally by processing over a million emails each week and managing more than 74,000 user accounts each day. You could say that the information technology people are the one group that could shut down Navy Medicine with the flip of a switch."
San Antonio Navy Week, scheduled Oct. 24-30, coincides this year with the Randolph Air Force Base Air Show, and the 100th birthday celebration of Naval Aviation. Events during the week-long outreach are scheduled to include demonstrations from the Blue Angels, as well as Navy Band performances and visits to area from Sailors stationed aboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS Texas (SSN 775).
Valentin oversees operations at NMSC, Navy Medicine's single point of accountability for all medical education and training, and public health and resources for Sailors and Marines.