Navy SEAL Foundation’s 2020 New York City Benefit Raises over $11 million in support of SEALs and their families

Navy SEAL Foundation

Dedicated patriots and supporters recently gathered at the New York Marriott Marquis for the Navy SEAL Foundation’s New York City Benefit Dinner, a cornerstone of the organization’s fundraising efforts. This annual event recognizes the courage, commitment and sacrifice of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community, and this year’s event served to commemorate a milestone for the organization: twenty years of support for the Naval Special Warfare community.

The Navy SEAL Foundation was pleased to recognize Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and its Executive Chairman and Founder, Joel S. Marcus, as the 2020 Navy SEAL Foundation Patriot Award Recipients. The NSF Patriot Award recognizes individuals and organizations that contribute greatly to our nation and it serves to recognize those who embody the values that epitomize the SEAL community. Mr. Marcus and his team at Alexandria have supported the Foundation since 2010, investing in programs to enrich resiliency, health, and welfare for the SEAL community.

Medal of Honor recipient and retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Special Warfare Operator, Britt Slabinski presented the award to Mr. Marcus at Thursday’s event. “Joel served his nation as a medic in the Air Force. It’s there, perhaps, while watching fellow service members return home traumatized by war that his convictions and compassions were cemented,” said Slabinski. “His commitment to those that serve continues as he focuses all that Alexandria has to this end. He is a man who knows that intellectual capital is as crucial as financial capital, a man who believes teamwork is vital to all great success. A man who believes courage is a choice and he makes that choice every day. A man who lives by his convictions regardless of the cost and a man who’s compassion for humanity is unwavering.”

“On behalf of the women and men who make up the Alexandria family, we are deeply humbled, honored and blessed to accept the prestigious 20th anniversary Patriot Award,” said Mr. Marcus. “We are profoundly grateful to those in the armed services and their families who have sacrificed so much for the sake of their missions, the defense of our nation and the safeguarding of our freedoms, which we can never take for granted. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our national heroes remain healthy and resilient and that, along with their families, they receive the tools they need to live full, productive and happy lives.”

After dinner, Theodore Roosevelt IV, BUD/s Class 36, and great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt delivered a moving tribute to the members of NSW who are no longer with us.

Retired U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral William H. McRaven delivered the evening’s keynote address and spoke about the virtues of the SEAL warrior by breaking down the SEAL Creed one section at a time. He spoke of honor and sacrifice and he described those who wear the SEAL Trident as men who stand ready to defend our nation, no matter the personal cost.

Said McRaven, “So, if you want to know about the men you are supporting tonight, they are sons, and brothers, fathers and husbands, uncles and cousins. They are disciplined, hard-working, and determined to be the best at their craft. They are relentless in their pursuit of excellence. If you are their friend, they will die for you. If you are the enemy they will die to stop you. They will never quit, no matter what the cost.” He continued, “Above all, in spite of their occasional shortcomings, they are honorable men who believe they are fighting for a noble cause. And you should know that they believe in you, the American citizen. They fight for you because you have shown, time and again, that you are worth it.”

McRaven left the stage only to be called back up by the 15th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell R. Smith, 9th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James L. Herdt, 7th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Duane R. Bushey, and Naval Special Warfare Force Master Chief Bill King where, to everyone’s surprise, they bestowed him with the title of Honorary Master Chief.

This year’s New York Benefit was chaired by Christopher D. Heinz and co-chairs included Bloomberg Philanthropies, BNBuilders, Vanessa and Henry Cornell, Metka and Jack Daly, DPR, Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Eastdil Secured, Caroline and Ed Hyman, Eugenia and David Janke, Daniel S. Loeb, Anton LeRoy/BTIG, Michael J. Muldoon, Sean Parker/Parker Foundation, Harvey Schwartz, Truebeck Construction, Cindy and Tom Wagner, Alan Waxman/Sixth Street Partners and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. Trident Sponsors included Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc./Alexandria Venture Investments, Drue Heinz Charitable Trust, Heinz Family Foundation, Barbara and Joel Marcus, Nancy and Howard Marks, and the Zide Family Foundation. The 40-plus member Benefit Host Committee was led by Deron J. Haley, Anton LeRoy, and Brendan Rogers.

The 2021 Navy SEAL Foundation New York City Benefit Dinner is scheduled for March 4, 2021.

About the Navy SEAL Foundation:
The mission of the Navy SEAL Foundation (NSF) is to provide immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community and its families, and this year they are commemorating 20 years and over $220 million invested in programs serving this dynamic community.

U.S. Navy SEALs have been in sustained combat for nearly two decades, performing hazardous work in unforgiving environments at an unrelenting pace. NSW operators are currently deployed in over 30+ countries across the globe and can spend up to 270 days each year in harm’s way.

The Navy SEAL Foundation stands behind these warriors and their families by providing a comprehensive set of programs specifically designed to improve health and welfare, build and enhance resiliency, empower and educate families and provide critical support during times of illness, injury or loss.

Like the community it serves, the Navy SEAL Foundation is a high performing organization committed to excellence. NSF has been awarded the coveted 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator since 2011 and has earned a perfect score of ‘100’ each year since 2016 for financial health, accountability, and transparency, placing NSF in the top 1% of rated charities. Ninety-five cents of every dollar donated goes directly to programs or is retained for future mission use.

The Navy SEAL Foundation is a 501c3 national non-profit charitable organization. TAX-ID 31-1728910. NSF is a non-federal entity, nor is it a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components, and it has no governmental status. To learn more, visit

SOURCE Navy SEAL Foundation

Hospital ship Mercy, with 1,000 beds, will help ease L.A.’s healthcare strain amid crisis

USNS-Mercy docks in Los Angeles

Los Angeles County hospitals at near capacity may see relief this weekend as patients who have tested negative for the novel coronavirus will begin transferring to the Navy hospital ship Mercy, which docked at the Port of Los Angeles on Friday.

Navy officials say it will be up to local and state officials to decide who will be transferred, and those patients will have to undergo screening before being allowed on board. Emergency medical service workers transporting patients will be prohibited from entering the ship and will also be subject to screenings.

Officials said they have yet to determine whether or how patients would receive visitors.

During a new conference at the port, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the arrival of the ship from San Diego could not have come at a better time, as health experts expect local hospitals to see a surge in the number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“I want to thank the president personally on behalf of a grateful region, on behalf of a grateful state, for sending this ship and the incredible resources that reside within this ship to the state of California,” Newsom said.

The Mercy has roughly 800 medical staffers, 1,000 hospital beds and 12 operating rooms.

The ship will house patients who do not have COVID-19 in an attempt to free up regional hospital beds for those who do. Some patients who are already hospitalized in Los Angeles County will be transferred to the ship for ongoing treatment, port officials said Thursday.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said ship will be the largest hospital in Los Angeles and will bring much needed hospital beds amid the city’s fight against the coronavirus.

“This will be a COVID-19 free bubble,” Garcetti said. Whether a patient is taken to the ship directly from an accident or from a hospital, he said, one less bed taken up at L.A. hospitals means another bed in the ongoing fight against coronavirus. “So this ship is truly mercy on the water … and the expression of who we are as Americans and as people at this moment.”

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

Sailor speaks into sound-powered telephone during ship handling drills

Sailor speaks into sound-powered telephone during ship handling drills

ARABIAN GULF – Ensign Christopher Cartwright, from Yorba Linda, California, speaks into a sound-powered telephone during ship handling drills aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98).

Forrest Sherman is part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.



(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raymond Maddocks)

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More than 9,000 responded to the Army’s call for medical personnel

Army medical personnel load stretcher into a military vehicle

The Army sent more than 800,000 former soldiers with medical training an email to gauge their interest in assisting with the coronavirus pandemic response, and received more than 9,000 responses, Army leaders said Thursday.

The volunteers could fill in for current Army medical personnel who might be sent to help civilian leaders domestically, the Army’s top medical officer explained during a briefing at the Pentagon.

“We have had some positive responses,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said. “What we’re looking for is medical expertise.”

An email sent to retirees Wednesday by Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands, the Army deputy chief of staff for manpower, listed a series of heath care careers the service is interested in, including critical care officers, various nursing specialties and former medics.

“We’re getting many volunteers,” said Army surgeon general Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle. “We’ll then walk through the process of certification, making sure that all certifications and credentials are straight. Then once we do that, we’ll plug them into all of our medical treatment facilities as required in support of the mission.”

The email does mention that if recipients are currently working in a civilian hospital or medical facility, to let the Army know, as service officials say they “do not want to detract from the current care and treatment you are providing to the nation.”

Army Medical Command plans to use the volunteers to fill the roles of current medical personnel normally assigned to treatment facilities who may be called upon to deploy.

Within the Army, there have been a total of 288 positive cases of coronavirus out of about 5,000 tests administered to its personnel. That number includes 100 soldiers, 65 dependents, 64 civilian employees, 50 contractors and 9 cadets. So the need for medically-trained soldiers at Army posts is expected to increase.

Volunteers would be leveraged alongside Army reserve soldiers “to fill those holes from the medical treatment facilities, so we can maintain the readiness of our soldiers, as well as the beneficiary population,” Dingle said.

On Tuesday, the secretary of the Army ordered three field hospital to deploy to New York and Washington states to assist governors there in tamping down on the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue on to the Army Times to read the complete article.

NAVY Spotlight-Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Matthew Roney and Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class Richard Truong

Machinists move resin barrels

PHILIPPINE SEA – The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. Pictured moving resin barrels aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) March 23, 2020 are left, Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Matthew Roney, from Dallas, and pictured right is Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class Richard Truong, from Westminster, Calif.

Twitter: @NavyOutreach
Instagram: @US_Navy_Outreach


(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi)

Mission Roll Call Launches Social Media Campaign for Military Veterans to Connect During COVID-19 Crisis

woman veteran searching online with her laptop on table

Crowd-sourced video series will empower veterans to maintain supportive communities as social distancing practices continue

Mission Roll Call recently announced the launch of “Be A Leader,” a new crowd-sourced social media video series that will empower veterans, their families and caregivers to virtually connect with each other and share their experiences during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Content shared using the #MRCBeALeader hashtag on social media will highlight stories and advice from veterans to encourage personal growth, optimistic communities and responsible behavior in the months to come.

“With a wealth of experience handling critical and stressful situations in a calm, positive manner, military veterans are ready to lead by example in this time of uncertainty,” said Garrett Cathcart, executive director of Mission Roll Call. “This campaign will give all veterans an opportunity to share how they are checking in on their buddies, entertaining their families, and staying active so others will be inspired to do the same as the nation continues to practice social distancing.”

In addition to videos created and shared by followers of Mission Roll Call’s social media channels, the series will feature insights and words of encouragement from individuals such as Medal of Honor recipients Sal Giunta and Clint Romesha, as well as retired NFL player and U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer.

The “Be A Leader” campaign is an extension of Mission Roll Call’s goal to provide veterans with a platform where they can make their voices heard on the key issues impacting their lives. Mission Roll Call is a program of national nonprofit America’s Warrior Partnership that has connected with more than 535,000 veterans, family members, caregivers and advocates since launching in 2019.

Veterans and community members who wish to participate can post content and follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the #MRCBeALeader hashtag and tagging @MissionRollCall.

About Mission Roll Call

Mission Roll Call is the first-ever movement of its kind — one dedicated to giving every veteran a voice in advocating for the issues that are important to them. The program created a digital community where veterans, their families and caregivers can make their voices heard. Veterans can share their stories through comments on our social media pages and respond to online polls about the most urgent issues facing veteran communities. These messages, views and insights are delivered directly to policymakers and civic leaders with the goal of enacting lasting, positive change.

For more information, visit Mission Roll Call is a program of America’s Warrior Partnership. America’s Warrior Partnership is a nationally recognized nonprofit with a Platinum Guidestar Seal of Transparency.

Source: America’s Warrior Partnership

New Wellness APP Connects Veterans With Live Coaches via Video Sessions Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Veteran working on the smartphone

By Maurice D. Wilson, MCPO, USN (Ret), and Jim Wong USMC Veteran

On 01 April, National Veterans Transition Services Inc. (NVTSI) aka REBOOT, in partnership with TaskHuman is launching the nation’s first veteran wellness APP:, an evidence-based, simple-to-use veteran wellness assessment and intervention tool based on the Life Balance Wheel taught during REBOOT Workshops to help veterans self-prioritize their immediate needs and seek help.

Like many other veteran service organizations and state and county agencies, NVTSI is minimizing direct contact with our constituents to reduce risks to facilitators and providers for the next several months, and are turning to technology to help us continue our mission of serving transitioning military, veterans, and their families. With the COVID-19 crisis looming over America, our mandate to serve veterans and their families remains unchanged. And as “Social distancing,” “Shelter in place,” and “Stay at Home” become the new social norms, we see technology as a viable solution to connect veterans in need of emotional support with coaches to help them through these trying times.

Using a veteran’s own self-assessment across critical wellness domains – health, family life, career, finance, etc. – to guide their reintegration journey, the TaskHuman app provides veterans with on-demand 1:1 live coaching via video call from vetted professionals to address high priority life needs, thereby minimizing personal stress and maximizing the veteran’s chances of successful transition from military service to civilian life.

Early detection and mitigation of veteran reintegration issues, as identified by world-renowned Veterans & Families Research Hub (, and corroborated by The Veteran Metrics Initiative Study (TVMI) by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation ( is essential for a successful transition to civilian life. The goal of the program is to 1) Heighten self-awareness, and 2) trigger early intervention, facilitated by 1:1 with live coaches online. This is particularly timely as efforts to contain COVID-19 requires self-imposed isolation, a leading indicator of depression and suicide. Our expected outcome for TaskHuman users is to improve their Wellness Score by 10% in one year.

“Our APP is particularly timely as efforts to contain COVID-19 requires self-imposed isolation, a leading indicator of depression and suicide. And in anticipation of a COVID-19-triggered surge, we are seeking additional coaches to meet demand.” Jim Wong, Chair, National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. and USMC Veteran

We have begun training veterans to use TaskHuman, with wellness scores stored in a secure personal profile, to be used as their benchmark or intake score. In anticipation of a COVID-19-triggered surge, we are also vetting additional coaches. Following enrollment, TaskHuman will prompt users to continue monitoring their wellness, as they receive ongoing coaching. Veterans with a self-assessment score of 6 or less are flagged and automatically monitored for intervention by REBOOT staff. Our goal is to see all veterans achieve a minimum score of 7 or higher in any transition domains, removing them from danger.

Currently 70% of America’s veterans are not enrolled in a system of care, waiting until personal issues reach untenable levels before seeking help. In a majority of cases, a peer or family member advises them to seek help; however, because of stigma and/or fear, veterans are reluctant to seek help, predisposing them to unemployment, under-employment, homelessness, depression and suicide (70% of suicide victims were not enrolled in the VA system or veteran service organization). Furthermore, there is no system or process that facilitates at-risk veterans to self-evaluate their wellness to seek early intervention. The need exists for an online, scalable process so veterans can easily determine their wellness, allowing them connect with veteran-friendly wellness coaches/counselors in a live private, 24/7/365 1:1 secure manner, without going through a lengthly and often embarrassing process to obtain help they need from a trusted counselor.

Services will be delivered in three ways: (1) directly to service members attending Pre-Separation (Pre-Sep) and Capstone orientations aboard military installations before their release from active duty, as well as during REBOOT Workshops and One-Day REBOOT Your Life Seminars. Additionally, outreach will be conducted via social media such as Facebook, Linkedin, PSAs and articles. (2) Once veterans are enrolled on the APP, they will have access to a network of over 400 (and growing) coaches available to provide 1:1 counseling online across a domain of roughly 1,000 wellness topics, such as finance, careers, stress management, combatting drug or alcohol addiction, coping with job loss, managing a small business, parenting, dealing with aging parents, and even managing pets. (3) Word of mouth from users and counselors.

Known nationally for innovative veteran solutions such as REBOOT, Veterans Community Connections, and the Community Information Exchange (San Diego’s coordinated care system for veterans), among other tried-and-true programs, San Diego is the ideal location to validate TaskHuman as a cost-effective high tech – high touch solution, allowing us to serve the nation’s largest concentration of military personnel, from which approximately 24,000 transition annually to the private sector. Each year, 7,500 of these new veterans elect San Diego as home, testing local capabilities to serve them. San Diego also has the nation’s largest at-risk veteran populations: Post 911, female and homeless veterans, who comprise much of those vulnerable veterans “off the grid,” especially if they do not obtain speedy help, and should COVID-19 spiral out of control. Finally, the REBOOT TaskHuman Wellness APP will help to identify ever changing needs of veterans, thus reducing wait time for them to begin their successful reintegration journey. As a form of triage, this APP will help REBOOT staff and sister VSOs to prioritize their work, optimize work flow, and allow everyone to address problems at their onset. As data accumulates, we plan to analyze trends to further improve veteran wellness.

This will be a free service staffed by volunteer coaches and we are seeking experienced coaches willing to volunteer and support this initiative. If you are interested in volunteering please sign up at:

For more information, contact me at or 866-535-7624

Chemist Creates Program to Support Vets in STEM

Veteran in uniform holding books with a U.S. flag behind him

By Emily Litvack

Military veterans interested in studying STEM fields at the University of Arizona are receiving a little extra help, thanks to a new program that was developed to support veterans and increase their participation in research.

The new program is an expansion of the highly successful Arizona Science, Engineering and Math Scholars, or ASEMS program, which provides tutoring, mentoring and specialized coursework for UA students.

“ASEMS has done really well with supporting and engaging students in STEM, so we wanted to take what already exists and adjust it specifically for the veteran population,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Marty, who received a National Science Foundation Career grant to support a veteran-specific program dubbed ASEMS-V.

Identifying a Need
In October 2017, James Rohrbough became the first staff scientist in the Marty Lab. Rohrbough spent nearly 21 years in the U.S. Air Force as a chemist and taught chemistry as an assistant professor at the Air Force Academy. But 18 months into retirement, Rohrbough, who retired as a lieutenant colonel, was bored. When he saw that Michael Marty, an assistant professor of chemistry at the UA, was hiring, Rohrbough picked up the phone.

“I thought, ‘I can actually use my degree back at the university,’” says Rohrbough, who grew up in Tucson and received both his undergraduate degree and his Ph.D. from the UA.

Chemists with lab coats on looking at technology equipment
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Michael Marty with lab partner

“James told me he’d like to get back into a lab, and with someone of his level of experience, I was happy to have him,” Marty said.

At the time he hired Rohrbough, Marty was thinking about what impact he could have on students. He wanted to do something new and unique – something that would make a difference.

“With James joining the lab,” Marty said, “I thought we might have a unique opportunity to work with veterans.”

Marty started to look at veterans and higher education more closely, and he didn’t like what he found. Among veterans, both graduation rates and persistence in STEM were lower than in the overall student population.

Marty reached out to Cody Nicholls, who oversees programs and resources at the Student Vets Center and the UA ROTC, and spoke with Kimberly Sierra-Cajas, director of the ASEMS. He asked Rohrbough about the challenges veterans face in an academic environment.

For many veterans, their time in the service is a gap between high school and college, so they may need to a refresher on foundational courses that an undergraduate fresh out of high school wouldn’t need. Also, a much higher proportion of veterans have spouses, children and other commitments beyond their studies when compared with traditional students.

“James was really the one who pointed out how different training was in the military compared to an academic environment,” Marty said, referring to the primarily in-the-field training of the military versus the classroom learning of a university.

“Veterans are typically older, more mature and have more experience when they start university, so they’re more ready to jump right into research than a traditional 18-year-old undergraduate might be,” Marty said. “We think that’ll help mimic the on-the-job training they get in the military. It’s practical, hands-on learning.”

Finding a Solution
From their discussions, an idea emerged. Alongside colleagues in the ASEMS program and the Vet Center, Marty would help launch an ASEMS program for veterans, called ASEMS-V. Through the program, he could support veteran students pursuing STEM degrees and bring their skills to research labs at the UA.

“Marty’s work typifies the science that federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, see as both cutting-edge and fundamental at the same time,” says Kimberly Ogden, interim vice president for research at the UA. “Marty embodies a true scholar that is dedicated to research, education and community engagement.”

Through ASEMS-V, veterans at the UA will receive tutoring, mentoring and professional development. They will take courses such as Success in STEM, Professionalism in STEM and Research Readiness, and ideally, will shadow researchers in labs as early as their first semester as a student.

“Hopefully, ASEMS-V will persuade veterans who were on the fence about their degree choices to pursue their dreams and complete a degree in a STEM field,” Nicholls said.

“Veterans are particularly well-suited for careers in STEM,” said Rohrbough, who is helping Marty develop the curricula and will likely teach, as well. “The mindset of military service is mission-oriented. We have a goal; We do everything we can to achieve it. And that’s exactly how we do science, too. We focus all of our energy on the steps it takes to get to a goal, so time in the military is really useful.”

Marty’s NSF grant also supports his research, studying biological membranes and developing new techniques to better understand the interactions of proteins, peptides and small molecules within this complex environment. This grant comes on the heels of a $1.8 million National Institutes of Health grant for this research, as well.

“Research challenges, such as those the Marty lab investigates, are often solved by research teams that can draw upon diverse experiences,” said NSF program officer Robin McCarley, who oversees funding of Marty’s CAREER project. “Veterans bring unique personal and professional perspectives to a university setting. By integrating research and education, Marty is improving outcomes for students of all walks of life and for research.”

Marty hopes to have veteran students participating in the ASEMS-V program and shadowing in his lab this fall, he said.

“The most exciting part of science is being on the forefront of discoveries and being in a research lab is the best way to do that,” Marty said.


Soldier rescues woman and 4 dogs from a burning house

Confident young U.S. Soldier in uniform stands outside of a building

Sgt. Darren Watkins was starting a shift in his civilian job as a sheriff’s deputy in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, on Feb. 29 after leaving a daddy-daughter dance with his youngest child.

Things started slowly, as they often do. The Oklahoma Army National Guardsman with 2120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command answered some routine calls and filled out paperwork that night.

Then, at about 4 a.m., as he was wrapping his shift, Watkins was called to a fire in a vacant house. When he arrived, he realized that a neighboring house was also aflame, and there was someone trapped inside.

A man in the driveway alerted Watkins that an elderly widow was in the house and that he couldn’t wake her to get her out. Watkins told the man to seek safety and radioed the 911 dispatch to tell them he was going to try and get inside the home.

“I knew she was in there, and I knew she needed to get out,” Watkins said in an Army statement. “I really wasn’t thinking of anything else.”

Watkins rushed into the home and found that the woman had gone into her kitchen in an attempt to get to her car in the garage. However, a gasoline-filled car in the midst of a house fire poses a unique set of risks.

“I had to actually hold the door closed to where she couldn’t open it and pull her away from the door,” Watkins said in a Guard video about the event. “The firefighters later said if she would have opened the door the fire in the garage would have flashed into the living room and possibly burned both of us.”

The woman was panicking about her four dogs as Watkins tried to get her out of the home. He had to wrap his arms around her and steer her to the exit.

He, the woman who was not identified in the Army statement, and the four dogs luckily made it to safety.

“I have had some crazy calls in the past, but this was probably the craziest with the best outcome,” Watkins said. “She did lose her house, but we were able to get her out of the residence with her dogs.”

Likely, with littler time to spare.

“As we walked a safe distance away, we heard the garage explode behind us,” Watkins said.

Source: The Army Times

Here’s How a Navy Hospital Ship Will Help Fight the Coronavirus Pandemic

Navy Hospital Ship Departing the Dock to Help Fight the Coronavirus Pandemic

More than 1,000 Navy personnel are gearing up to treat their fellow Americans aboard a floating hospital. Their commander said they’ve been given no end date for the unique deployment, as experts warn medical facilities face severe overcrowding amid a global pandemic.

The hospital ship Mercy departed San Diego on Monday afternoon. Its destination is just 120 miles up the coast at the port of Los Angeles — but first it must complete a series of operations, tests and certifications at sea, Capt. Jonathan Olmsted, Mercy’s civilian master, said.

The Mercy will arrive in LA within a week, Capt. John Rotruck, the ship’s commanding officer, said. Much about what happens next is dependent on how serious the situation gets in LA or other spots along the West Coast.

“We are prepared to stay underway until the need is complete or until it doesn’t make sense anymore,” Capt. Dan Cobian, the mission commander, said. “… We are prepared to stay as long as necessary in Los Angeles and prepared to move on to whatever port or destination that FEMA directs or is required by higher headquarters.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor said on Sunday that the ship has been directed to LA because California is projected to need five times more hospital beds than Washington state, even though there are currently more coronavirus cases there than in California.

The medical professionals on the Mercy came from several West Coast naval hospitals and clinics, including those at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms in California and Bremerton and Oak Harbor in Washington.

The Mercy won’t treat patients with coronavirus but will instead take overflow patients from hospitals in LA. Rotruck said the ship is equipped to perform surgeries and respond to patients who require intensive care. The ship will not provide care to children or pregnant women, he added.

The crew members weren’t individually tested for coronavirus but were asked to complete a questionnaire. If there was any indication that they could have COVID-19, Rotruck said there was follow-on medical testing.

Civilian patients who are treated on the ship will also be screened, he added.

“If we identify someone as COVID-19 positive, our intention would be to transfer their care back off of the ship,” Rotruck said. “… We practice infection control every day in our normal hospital operating environment. We’re going to do the exact same thing on the Mercy and also apply additional disinfection measures throughout the ship.”

The Mercy has an initial stock of coronavirus tests on the ship, the captain added, and will request more through their normal supply chain if needed.

Rear Adm. Timothy Weber, commander of Naval Medical Forces Pacific, said there’s not yet an estimate on how much the operation could cost.

As the sometimes fatal virus continues to spread, Weber stressed that it’s important for everyone to do their part in practicing social distancing, washing hands and avoid touching their faces.

Continue on to to read the complete article.

Sailor Spotlight! Petty Officer 2nd Class Laurin Robinson

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 2nd Class (SW) Laurin Robinson stands with hands on hips confidently in her uniform

The Pensacola, Florida Native Serves on U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet Staff.

By Lt. Lily Hinz

MAYPORT, Fla. – Five years ago, Petty Officer 2nd Class Laurin Robinson, a native of Pensacola, Florida, joined the Navy because she wanted to carry on her grandfather’s legacy and is now serving on the staff of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet.

Robinson is an information systems technician (IT) who is responsible for network administration, database management and computer hardware and software implementation.

“I love being an IT because the skills acquired in the rate are translatable and relevant,” said Robinson.

Robinson is 2010 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School. According to Robinson, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Pensacola.

“You have to choose to either work hard to make something of yourself or opt to fall to peer pressure and become stagnant,” said Robinson. “In the end, you must own up to the life you choose.”

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central, and South American regions.

According to Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, the focus of today’s Navy is squarely on warfighting, warfighters and the capabilities needed for the Navy of the future.

“I am confident we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” said Gilday. “And we will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”

Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and career, Robinson is most proud of accomplishing a seven-month deployment, in 2016, aboard the USS Roosevelt (DDG-80).

“That deployment tested my skills not only as an IT, but as a true sailor,” said Robinson. “We faced many challenges that tested everything I had learned from my time in recruit training through “A” school, and pushed me to retain and apply valuable knowledge quickly.”

For Robinson, serving in the Navy is a tradition passed down from generations and one she hopes to continue.

“My grandfather served as a cook in World War II and he stayed in the Navy for 28 years,” said Robinson. “I love that I am able to carry on his legacy.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Robinson, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“To me, serving in the Navy means selflessness, adapting constantly to changing scenarios, and sacrifice,” said Robinson.


Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anna-Liesa Hussey

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