SAN DIEGO – Five Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) staff members were recognized for their outstanding performance during the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA)/U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) 2013 Western Conference and Exhibition (West 2013) at the San Diego Convention Center Jan. 31.
NMCSD Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Danny Oligo, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Luis Fonseca Jr., Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Romeo Sali (who was unable to be present for the award ceremony), Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jerred Lee, and Hospitalman Ryan Ewins enjoyed lunch and were presented with the Enlisted Superior Performer (ESP) award during the final day of the three-day event.
The ESP award recognizes the service of those enlisted military members who have been selected by their commands for superior performance in the past year. The five hospital corpsmen were also given a one-year complimentary membership in both the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA.
Retired Navy Capt. Scott Gureck, who manages the ESP award program on behalf of the Naval Institute and AFCEA, explained why the award was created.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity to recognize the outstanding service of enlisted personnel who make up the backbone of today’s military…these are the top performers and the future leaders of our military,” he said.
Oligo, a 16-year Navy veteran and proud military brat who has been stationed all around the world and the U.S. from the Philippines, to California, Hawaii, Washington and back to California, is NMCSD’s Directorate for Medical Services administration department’s leading petty officer. He was nominated as NMCSD’s Sailor of the Year for 2012 and enlisted in the Navy as a hospital corpsman out of a desire to learn more about the asthma that had plagued his father who also served in the Navy.
Oligo shared his thoughts on being nominated to receive the Enlisted Superior Performer award.
“It’s the most humbling experience ever…if there’s one thing I know, it’s that my junior troops set me up for the award. I was there to guide and mentor them, but if wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Fonseca, who has served in the Navy for 13 years, works in NMCSD’s Directorate for Surgical Services’ ophthalmology department. He was recently recognized by the Navy League as Corpsman of the Year for 2012. A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Fonseca has his sights set on master chief petty officer. Like Oligo, he humbly credits his Shipmates for his successes.
“[Receiving the ESP Award] solidifies all the hard work that I’ve put in,” he said. “I’ve gotten where I am today because of junior personnel who are extremely dedicated and who I’m honored to serve alongside, as well as the senior personnel who have guided and shaped me along the way.”
Lee, a Murrieta, Calif. native and seven-year Navy veteran, is assigned to NMCSD’s preventive medicine department’s administration and supply officer, hopes to attain the rank of petty officer second class, become certified as an independent duty corpsman, and receive his associate degree. Lee echoes his Shipmates’ sentiments, saying that being one of the chosen few to receive the ESP award is a welcome way for his leaders to show their appreciation for his hard work.
Ewins, who hails from Tulare, Calif., is assigned to Directorate for Medical Services’ pediatrics department. Although he has only been in the Navy a year and eight months, Ewins has already set himself apart from his peers, earning a nomination as NMCSD’s Bluejacket Sailor of the Year for 2012, and is looking ahead to the future. The young Sailor plans to get his college degree in sports therapy and coaching, and says being nominated for the ESP Award acknowledges a strong work ethic.
“It reflects the idea of getting the job done because it needs to get done, not because of the possibility of a reward,” he said simply.
NMCSD Deputy Command Master Chief, Hospital Corpsman Master Chief Charles R. Hickey, said he is incredibly proud of these Sailors for their professionalism and commitment to providing the highest quality patient care.
“As a leader, that’s my payday. Everything I do is to make them succeed. That’s why I love wearing these anchors—I get to see them succeed and get recognition. As a master chief and a leader, my goal is to develop Sailors that will surpass me and make the Navy better for the next generation.”
The ESP award was presented during West 2013 to approximately 100 Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel from all major military commands throughout the San Diego area. Along with the presentation of the award, the final day of the conference also featured a panel discussion of current military, national and world topics by the three sea service chiefs: Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, and Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr.
West 2013 is the largest event on the West Coast for communications, electronics, intelligence, information systems, imaging, military weapon systems, aviation, and shipbuilding, among others. The conference features a forum where participants can discuss current and future issues facing the nation and the world.
For more information on Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit https://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd, www.facebook.com/nmcsd, or www.twitter.com/nmc_sd.