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HMCM Palacios: Balance for Success

02 May 2024

From Kieshia Savage

Serving in the military is an experience which encourages and enhances enlightenment, courage, growth and versatility. It is a space where individuality can see to be suppressed. Finding that balance, can be an everyday challenge, but when mastered, can make a person’s life so much more rewarding.Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Genena Palacios,
Serving in the military is an experience which encourages and enhances enlightenment, courage, growth and versatility. It is a space where individuality can see to be suppressed. Finding that balance, can be an everyday challenge, but when mastered, can make a person’s life so much more rewarding.

Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Genena Palacios, directorate for administration senior enlisted leader (DFA SEL) at Naval Hospital Jacksonville (NH Jacksonville), has mastered the art of staying true to herself while serving in the U.S. Navy. She was born and raised in Leyte, Philippines. Her family migrated to the states when she was 19 years old and settled in San Francisco, California.

With close family ties to the military, Palacios knew, she too, wanted to be a servicemember. “I come from a military family. My grandfather served in the U.S. Navy and my father was in the U.S. Marines so growing up I knew I wanted to serve,” says Palacios. “Once I got to the age when I could become a U.S. citizen, after getting to the states, I joined the U.S. Navy,” she adds.

Palacios began her military career in 1999 as a hospital corpsman (HM) lab technician. Shortly after enlisting, she decided to take advantage of the military’s tuition assistance (TA) program. By 2006, Palacios earned her Associate of General Studies degree, a Bachelor of Clinical Laboratory Science degree by 2011, and a Master of Human Relations and International Relations degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2018.

Palacios’ 24.5 years of service includes a diverse mixture of experiences. To name a few, she says, “I have served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on the USS Boxer (LHD-4), Combat Logistics Battalion 7 in Twenty-Nine Palms, California, Naval Branch Health Clinic Oceana in Virginia, NH Yokosuka in Japan and NH Naples in Italy.”

In Palacios’ current position as DFA SEL, she has a broad array of responsibilities that encompasses support services for NH Jacksonville. “My daily duties include galley functionality, materials management, human resources, Military Information Division (MID), facilities management and housekeeping,” she says.

Leading a structured life filled with accomplishments that only some can dream of requires discipline, perseverance and fearlessness. But do not be fooled! Upon entering Palacios’ office, you can truly see her personality shine. Blanketed in pink décor and embellished with colorful trinkets, her visitors are introduced to her playful and lighter side. She is affectionately known as “The Pink Lady” around the hospital.

“I just really like pink,” Palacios says. “Being in the military, people can lose themselves, so I always tell people to stay true to who they are. Take advantage of your best traits and don’t lose yourself,” says Palacios.

Even with such a busy professional life, Palacios manages to lead a personal lifestyle that is just as fulfilling. She says, “I love to travel. I’ve traveled to almost 50 countries in my off time. I also like exploring, hiking and anything outdoorsy.”

Palacios plans to complete her military career in five and half more years, giving her 30 years of active-duty service. Cultivating relationships is one of the qualities she finds important while serving. “My favorite thing in the military are the relationships you build, the comradery, and the people you connect with because we are all coming from such diverse backgrounds. I think that’s the beauty of the military-the diversity,” she says.

Palacios leaves her pearls of wisdom for servicemembers coming up through the ranks by saying, “Take advantage of the opportunities that are offered. Don’t wait for things to happen TO you, make them happen FOR you!”

Story originally posted on DVIDS: 
HMCM Palacios: Balance for Success 

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