Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Welcomes Army Reservists for Annual Training

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Welcomes Army Reservists for Annual Training

A second group Army and Navy reservists arrived at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth July 15 for their annual training as the first group of 25 marked their halfway point. The third and final group arrives next week.

The reservists work alongside permanent staff in many departments including the pharmacy, operating room and galley, giving the reservists and permanent staff the unique opportunity to work in a joint-services environment. They get to interact and become familiar with how other services operate.

“Oftentimes, you train with the people who you deploy with, so we will train with the Air Force and Navy, especially with the military going to more of a tri-service approach, so it’s good to have a training opportunity where you can see what your counterparts are doing,” said Staff Sgt. Julius Lindo, an Army health care specialist, who deployed to Kuwait in 2005. “It provides for a complete training opportunity.”

Many specialties in the Army are identified differently from their counterparts in the Navy, and the differences can be confusing in a joint-service environment.

“We have LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) in the Army, whereas the Navy does not have LPNs, but the corpsmen work in the same capacity as our LPNs,” Lindo said. “So the job description is parallel, but the title is not, which can cause problems when assigning duties.”

Many of the reservists have civilian jobs similar to their military specialties, and they bring new ideas and ways of doing things to the military.

“I freshened up on skills I haven’t used in a few years,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Daugherty, a CT technician, who deployed to Afghanistan for 11 months and the Balkans for seven months. “I have been doing CAT scans in the civilian side for about four years but I haven’t done X-rays in a long time, which is what I have been doing here this week.”

Some of the reservists are working in a completely different field from their civilian careers, giving them an opportunity to learn new skills.

“I teach for Head Start,” said Spc. Michele Reed, a nutrition care specialist, who has been in the reserves for two years. “I feel it makes me more rounded, getting to work in these two different fields. I’m a very energetic person so I like to have my hand in a lot of different pots.”

The reservists working in the galley help make “mother meals” for new moms, work with the dietary office and cook for the hot and cold food lines.

“We are working in three different areas and we are dealing with all the nutrition aspects,” said Reed. “So we are working with the nutritionists, the dietitians, and we’re just getting a little bit of everything. We all have two days in each area.”

A major difference between the Army and Navy is the rank structure. It can be confusing; for instance, a captain in the Army is an O-3 and a captain in the Navy is an O-6. The annual training gives both services a chance to become fluent in each other’s rank structure.

“It is a pleasurable experience working with the Navy,” said Lindo. “The personnel we have run into have been very accommodating. The biggest difference is how we relate as far as rank. Learning the rank structure and the power authorization that goes with a particular rating was one of the biggest eye-openers.”

Press Release, July 16, 2013; Image: US Navy