Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Visits NECE
The commander of U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) toured the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE) in Jacksonville March 30, to gain insight on the role NECE plays in force health protection.
The tour was included as part of Adm. John Harvey, Jr.’s visit to Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville and featured a briefing about NECE history, its capabilities, and “hands-on” demonstrations and training in the use of mosquito control equipment employed by Navy preventive medicine technicians.
According to Cmdr. Eric Hoffman, officer-in-charge, NECE, Harvey was briefed on NECE’s role in leveraging the resources and expertise of their industry, including academia and federal agency partners, through the Deployed War-fighter Protection (DWFP) and the Wounded Ill and Injured (WII) programs.
“The goal of these partnerships is to produce new solutions in the development of insecticides and dispersal equipment, thereby reducing the risk of human disease transmitted by blood feeding arthropods, such as mosquitoes, on the battlefield,” said Hoffman.
Harvey’s visit included a tour of NECE’s facilities that featured the reference arthropod collection, the testing and evaluation shop, laboratory and small wind-tunnel, laser, and finally, the NECE insectary.
“The admiral was keenly interested in discussing a variety of topics during his visit, including the power of DWFP in quickly obtaining products that are currently in use to protect his assets all over the world,” said Hoffman. “We talked about the dynamics of insecticide dispersal and how NECE engages industry to make design changes based on our requirements that typically result in improvements to their product while giving us the best possible technology.”
Harvey said he was also impressed with the level of expertise of NECE personnel and expressed his appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
“Insect repellent is not typically the first thought that comes to mind when we think about force readiness,” said Harvey. “But it is indeed a very important part of protecting our Sailors and service members who are deployed around the world.”
Malaria however, continues to be an area of concern for Harvey.
“Given my role as the executive agent for Navy individual augmentees (IAs), I was particularly interested in learning about how we are preparing our Sailors to deploy to regions of the world endemic for malaria and other tropical diseases,” said Harvey.
He shared his concerns with Hoffman, along with his thoughts on what NECE can do to provide support, similar to what they’re providing for Liberia.
The tour concluded with an opportunity for Harvey to test a thermal fogger, a tool used for applying insecticides that control mosquitoes.
NECE is a field activity of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, and is part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
Naval Today Staff , April 06, 2012;