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12th MLR Medical Officer Receives Fleet Marine Forces Pin on Mt. Suribachi

24 June 2024

From Lance Cpl. Evelyn Doherty

CAMP COURTNEY, OKINAWA, JAPAN- On May 24, 2024, Marines and Sailors with the 12th Marine Littoral
CAMP COURTNEY, OKINAWA, JAPAN- On May 24, 2024, Marines and Sailors with the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment embarked on a professional military education trip to Iwo To, Japan. Among the personnel was U.S. Navy Cmdr. Julia Savitz, who was scheduled to receive her Fleet Marine Force pin at the top of Mt. Suribachi.

During the ascent of Mt. Suribachi, Savitz reflected on the acts of valor and sacrifices made there during the famous Battle of Iwo Jima.

“Thinking about what everyone went through during the battle is what kept me going. I kept thinking ‘I can do this,’” said Savitz.

As the medical officer, her responsibilities extended beyond just attending the trip. Savitz was responsible for the safety and well-being of all Marines and Sailors throughout the challenging hike in the summer sun.

For Savitz, the Fleet Marine Force pinning marked the culmination of her time with the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment, from her first operational tour with the Marine Corps, learning operational medicine in support of small and large-scale exercises, practicing in allergen specialties, to qualifying on the pistol range and the gas chamber.

“Being with the Marines for a while helped deepen my understanding of customs and traditions,” Savitz said.

Highlighting her experience, Savitz reflected, “It took a lot of preparation for the Fleet Marine Force board, especially since it was focused on being in a ground combat unit. It really is an amazing experience to be able to do all these things most people would never dream of doing.”

Savitz intends to apply the lessons learned at 12th MLR to both her medical practice and cultural understanding.

“I had to learn a lot, considering what I knew the first day to now, it was like learning a different language,” said Savitz. “You have to go outside of your comfort zone, and when you do that, you grow and feel like you’ve actually accomplished something difficult.”

Looking ahead, Savitz will transition to a new role as a Chief Medical Officer at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa. While she will miss her time with the Marines at 12th MLR, she feels well prepared for her next chapter.

“I think having an understanding of the Marine Corps mission and what they need from medical benefitted me greatly,” said Savitz.

Story originally posted on DVIDS: 12th MLR Medical Officer Receives Fleet Marine Forces Pin on Mt. Suribachi

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