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Pharmacy tech fills medical capability aboard USS Arleigh Burke

25 July 2023

From Bobbie A. Camp, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Public Affairs and Outreach

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Travis Billow, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Rota, supported a 65-day temporary assigned duty (TAD) aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51).
The Bend, Oregon native, who works in the pharmacy department at the Naval Hospital Rota military treatment facility (MTF), expressed that the TAD experience allowed him to pursue opportunities for professional growth.

“This TAD allowed me to truly understand the role of a corpsman, from enduring demanding workdays to handling critical situations, like a man overboard incident,” said Billow. “By immersing myself in unfamiliar environments, I acquired new knowledge and honed my critical thinking and decisive action skills.”

From April 20 to June 23, Billow was able to use his skillsets in an operational setting, where he provided Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) instruction and medical care for over 161 crew members during the ship’s deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet area of operations.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of this journey was the chance to experience the environment and lifestyle of a Sailor on a smaller ship, fostering friendships and providing care to a tight-knit group,” explained Billow.

Billow used this time on the ship to learn from the ship’s independent duty corpsman (IDC), Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Lael Fernandez, who is also the fiscal year 2022 Naval Air Forces IDC of the Year.

“Learning from an exemplary IDC like HM1 Fernandez was invaluable,” described Billow. “I appreciated the opportunity to expand my skills beyond the pharmacy setting.”

Billow hopes that others will also take advantage of underway requests when they become available.

“I encourage all NMRTC Rota medical staff to consider requesting TAD ship time, as it has the potential to broaden horizons and enhance individual capabilities,” concluded Billow.

NMRTC Rota serves as a force multiplier in Navy Medicine’s strategic global medical support mission throughout Europe and Africa, while also supporting operational readiness and maintaining a strategic repository of expertise at the Naval Hospital Rota MTF within the Iberian Peninsula.
Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (NMFL), headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet, Marine and Joint Force requirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combat operations and public health crises. NMFL provides oversight for 21 NMRTCs, logistics, and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf Coast, Cuba, Europe, and the Middle East.

Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.

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