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Lieutenant Commander Ken Meehan Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy Physician Assistant

Lt. Cmdr. Ken Meehan is a Naval Hospital Jacksonville orthopedic physician assistant (PA). He was the first PA assigned to the combat theater and the first to take on the role of battalion surgeon.

Shortly after arriving at NH Jax, he volunteered for an Individual Augmentee assignment to Kandahar, Afghanistan where he cared for the Marines. This came after three deployments to Iraq.

In his journal from September 2010, Lt. Cmdr. Meehan wrote: “In just seven days we treated 98 casualties—75 percent were United States Forces. The orthopedic team completed two triple amputations, four double amputations and three single amputations. We transfused 400 units of blood—almost 100 gallons—and performed 178 procedures on 42 patients in the operating room. In addition to the wounded, we had 12 U.S. forces killed in action and lost another four U.S. members who died from injuries while they were being treated in our facility.”

Commander Karen Reilly-Follin Nurse Corps, U.S. Navy Emergency Room Nurse

Cmdr. Karen Reilly-Follin is an emergency room nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville where she and her ER colleagues see an average of 125 patients a day.

About three days after her arrival here, Cmdr. Reilly-Follin was deployed to the Joint Theater Trauma System (JTTS) at Camp Bastion Army Base in Afghanistan from September 2010 to April 2011. There, she was a trauma nurse coordinator focusing on the entire trauma continuum, from point of injury to patients’ return to their final destination—whether that was in the U.S. or in Afghanistan for locals.

As an active trauma team member within the JTTS, Cmdr. Reilly-Follin and her joint service/joint country colleagues saw an average of 200 trauma level patients a month—along with hundreds of other causalities and patients with less severe conditions.

Cmdr. Reilly-Follin was also very involved in working with the Afghanistan government to help establish a foundation for healthcare there.

Commander Carlos Godinez Medical Corps, U.S. Navy General Surgery physician

Cmdr. Carlos Godinez is a general surgeon who performs minimally invasive surgery—his passion—at Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

Shortly after arriving at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, he deployed to Afghanistan in August 2010. There, he was the officer in charge of a team of 27. He and team were the first Navy surgical team mission to that area of Afghanistan—eastern part near Pakistan border—Kabul Province.

While highly skilled and experienced surgeons, nurses and medical technicians, most of the team was inexperienced in combat trauma.

Under Cmdr. Godinez’s leadership, the team trained so high-level trauma care could be provided. They experienced many mass casualty events involving 11, 14 and 18 patients at a time. One mass casualty involved all children. While the experiences come with physically and emotional tolls he said it was very gratifying.

He never envisioned being a trauma doc in Afghanistan, but was there and connected to his patients.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Theddy Mukandwa Hospital Corps, U.S. Navy Same Day Surgery Corpsman

In 2009, HM3 Mukandwa was assigned to the Multi Service Unit at Naval Hospital Jacksonville where he helps care for 12 inpatients each day. He headed out on his first Individual Assignment (a Sailor sent to the war while permanently assigned to another command) on January 2010 with India Company where he deployed to Afghanistan from March to mid-August.

Based on his previous three-year assignment to Camp Lejeune and his passion to care for the Marines, he was asked to again support the Marines—this time as an IA.

On June 21, HM3 Mukandwa and the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment walked into an ambush. Minutes later a bullet embedded into his helmet. After regaining consciousness, he cared for a Marine who’d been shot in the leg.

HM3 Mukandwa was given a Purple Heart on Nov. 19, 2010 from Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan M. Garcia III for wounds received in action.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Anita Dalton Hospital Corps, U.S. Navy Family Medicine Independent Duty Corpsman

HM1 Anita Dalton (SW/AW/ESW) is currently assigned to Naval Hospital Jacksonville Family Medicine Clinic as a Surface Independent Duty Corpsman where she helps heal our nation’s heroes.

SIn August 2010, HM1 Dalton deployed as an Individual Augmentee with Seal Team Five in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where she volunteered for the most demanding jobs, including the newly formed Special Operations Task Force - West (SOTF-W) and Tactical Operations Center director. She took on additional responsibilities to enhance the unit’s effectiveness by advancing healthcare, employment and education in the Al Anbar region of Ramidi—with an emphasis on working with female government leaders on women’s and families’ issues. HM1 Dalton directly contributed to Al Anbar’s move to become a progressive region while supporting DoD’s operational mission.

By empowering Iraqi women with the tools and knowledge they needed to thrive, HM1 Dalton received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (gold star in lieu of second award).

Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Holmes Hospital Corps, U.S. Navy Independent Duty Corpsman

HMCS Michael Holmes was assigned to Naval Hospital Jacksonville as the Senior Enlisted Leader for the Director for Nursing Services

HMSC Holmes was part of Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s team that deployed aboard USNS Comfort in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. He had the daunting task of managing all the medical evacuations and air operations to assist injured Haitians. Within hours of his arrival, he was triaging patients over the phone, coordinating where patients would go and the flights to get them there. This required ongoing collaboration with Haiti’s Ministry of Health as well as healthcare providers from the international community, non-governmental organizations and the government of Haiti. This came after three deployments to Iraq.

At the height of the two-month relief effort, 1,200 combined Navy Medicine staff were aboard the Comfort. The team treated 871 patients and performed 843 surgeries.

In 2010, HMCS Holmes was honored by the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta, a humanitarian group that is one of the oldest Roman Catholic orders. He received the Order of Merit pro Merito Melitensi with swords as well as the silver medal for his outstanding humanitarian contributions.