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When Stars Align at NMRTC Bremerton

24 May 2024

From Douglas Stutz

When command approval was timely needed for a Sailor, Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Eric Morgan went and got it.Even it took traveling a long distance to get the signature.Such a scenario – and others similar - help exemplify Morgan’s commitment to his Sailors. That dedication did not go unnoticed, either by his Sailors or the powers that be.When
When command approval was timely needed for a Sailor, Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Eric Morgan went and got it.

Even it took traveling a long distance to get the signature.

Such a scenario – and others similar - help exemplify Morgan’s commitment to his Sailors. That dedication did not go unnoticed, either by his Sailors or the powers that be.

When Navy enlisted advancement results for pay grades E8 and E9 were announced May 22, 2024, it was readily apparent to Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton staff members that quality took precedence over quantity.

Two new master chief hospital corpsmen–Morgan and Walter Sladek II - and one new senior chief hospital corpsman – Michael Devito - were announced at the military treatment facility.

“Those of you who know these Sailors are aware of the quality of their character, strong work ethic, and their dedication in caring for Sailors at the deckplate. They represent the absolute best of Navy Medicine’s senior enlisted leadership. Bravo Zulu,” said Capt. Patrick Fitzpatrick, NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer and Naval Hospital Bremerton director.

Morgan and Sladek will be promoted into their next rank connected to a billet when they accept their next assignment. Devito selection as meritoriously screened reorders his seniority into the top ten percent range of all those selected for senior chief. “That’s a very big deal,” stated Fitzpatrick.

Echoes of applause and shouts of acknowledgement filled the command suite hallway.

“We knew the results were coming out with long odds on being selected. It was a surprise. A really nice surprise,” exclaimed America Morgan, command ombudsman and medical record technician.

For Eric Morgan, a Otsego, Michigan native, his tenure as NMRTC Bremerton’s interim command master chief has provided not only a foundation of senior enlisted advisor insight, but it’s now anticipated – and expected - that the interim will be officially removed upon reaching his new command.

After enlisting in May 1999, Morgan has been assigned to Surveillance and Target Acquisition platoon, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and two years later transferred to Heavy Combined Arms Assault Team platoon, completing a four-year tour there with unit deployment programs to Okinawa, Japan, Operation Crocodile in Australia, and Joint Task Force 510 in Zamboanga, Philippines during which he earned his Fleet Marine Force Warfare qualification. He then transferred to Branch Medical Clinic Naval Air Station North Island and deployed on hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in support of Operation Unified Assistance for the Indonesian Tsunami Relief effort.

In 2006, Morgan attended the Naval School of Health Sciences, San Diego for Advanced X-Ray School which lead to being assigned to Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms. It was then back across the Pacific. He reported to Branch Health Annex Camp Fuji, Japan in 2010. In Spring of 2011 he led Camp Fuji Marine in providing critical support during Operation Tomodachi. He served as the senior medical department representative at Sendai Airport, handling sick-call and preventive medicine needs. He also conducted clean-up efforts, personnel recovery, and food, fuel, and water supply delivery to over 30,000 displaced Japanese citizens. After Operation Tomodachi, he took an Individual Augmented deployment to Bahrain in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from August 2011 to March 2012.

His next two years were spent down range in Afghanistan, primarily in volatile Helmand Province before transferring to the 1st Marine Logistics Group where he was selected to chief petty officer in 2015. After that it was to Naval Medical Center San Diego which included back on USNS Mercy for Pacific Partnership 2018. His next assignment was USS Nimitz (CVN 68) before arriving at his current duty station.

When Sladek was informed of his selection to master chief, he immediately shared the news with Ada, his wife of 22 years. “Who is a former Sailor and hospital corpsman,” mentioned Sladek, acknowledging that his rank is both a privilege and a responsibility.

“It means reaching the pinnacle and highest enlisted paygrade attainable and being able to continue to help guide the next generation of leaders in our field. It requires selflessness, as it is not just about personal achievement but about making a positive impact on the mission and others,” stated Sladek.

His promotion also adds to a familial legacy of service.

“As a third generational U.S Navy Sailor, I am able to serve with my youngest brother who was just promoted to chief hospital corpsman this last summer,” Sladek said, noting that he will continue to add to his Navy career of 25 years. “This will extend my career and allow me to continue doing what I love which is helping others and building and guiding the future of the Navy and of Navy Medicine.”

Added Sladek, “There’s three principles that has helped me through my career; be present, take care of your people and control what you own.”

Devito was on leave when he was told the news of being selected.

“Received a nice phone call from my commanding officer while on leave. It has been an interesting couple of years. I am truly humbled and grateful to have been able to work for an amazing group of Sailors. Thank you to my mentors and the [Chiefs] Mess for continually challenging me to be better,” shared Devito, readily identifying Sara Kircher-Devito, “none of this would be possible without you and the boys support and patience.”

Story originally posted on DVIDS: When Stars Align at NMRTC Bremerton 

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