I am Navy Medicine: HM2 Gibbens

NAVAL HOSPITAL BREMERTON, Wash. (Nov. 25, 2019) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class James Gibbens poses for a photo at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB), Nov. 15, 2019. Gibbens was the one of the leading petty officers for administering this year’s flu vaccine to all active duty Sailors and staff assigned to the hospital, and all eligible TRICARE beneficiaries October-November. NHB supports more than 60,000 military families in West Puget Sound, shaping military medicine through training, mentoring and research to ensure a ready medical force and operationally ready force.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Chad Galvin, from Hesperia, has earned the mantle of NHB’s Senior Sailor of the Year after competing against seven other nominees for the title.

Galvin’s military career began shortly after 9/11. He explained how it impacted and inspired him to join the Navy, leaving shortly after the attacks.

“I didn’t personally know anyone affected, but I was so emotionally fired up that I enlisted shortly thereafter,” said Galvin. “I joined at the ripe age of 27 and turned 28 in boot camp.”

Helping others has been something that he has been passionate about and is one of the reasons he chose Navy Medicine when he enlisted.

“I became interested in Navy Medicine because I have always been interested in medicine and always had a ‘help others’ mentality,” said Galvin. “Navy Medicine has been pretty good to me. Not only did I get a basic medical education as a corpsman, the Navy afforded me the opportunity to attend respiratory therapy school. I earned my civilian license as a respiratory therapist so I have something when I get out.”

Not originally planning to stay in the Navy for the long haul, Galvin touched on how the Navy has improved him as a person.

“I did not intend to stay in this long but here I am,” said Galvin. “I went back to lead the respiratory therapy program as an instructor. Which is significant I was an introvert and despised public speaking. That tour definitely challenged me in that aspect and help me to improve it.”

The Navy has taken Galvin many places, but he explains that his favorite duty station was working in Texas where he was assigned as an instructor.

“My favorite duty station was San Antonio,” said Galvin. “Being an instructor was challenging yet very rewarding as we helped prepare our replacements in the fleet.”

Galvin also said he enjoyed his time assigned to Fleet Surgical Team 8 saying he felt their impact made a difference.

“We deployed and went underway multiple times as a surgical unit with a few different ships to many places,” said Galvin. “It was a fairly high tempo, never got stale, and we were able to provide medical intervention for many Sailors and even some civilians. Felt like we were making a difference.”

When asked what some of his favorite things about being in the Navy are, Galvin said, “The best part about being in the Navy besides supporting my family is all the countries I’ve been to. I’ve been to right around 20 countries, some beautiful and awesome, some not so much. All a great experience. My family and I have been able to experience so much more than we otherwise would have, if not for the Navy.”

Traveling the world isn’t the only thing Galvin likes about serving in the Navy.

“The people. We have made many military and non-military friends in our time in the Navy,” he said. “When it is all said and done I know my wife and I have made some lifelong friends, even my kids to a certain extent.”

When speaking of family, he noted their support has played an important role in his successes in the Navy.

“I have a beautiful wife, a gorgeous daughter, handsome son, and another on the way which we will find out is a boy or girl when born,” he said. “They challenge and motivate me to do more and improve in all areas of my life as a husband, father, and Sailor. They are my life.”

According to Senior Chief Hospital Corpsmen Cameron Wink, as directorate leading petty officer for Directorate for Medical Services, Galvin has carried out his responsibilities at the level of a chief petty officer in the largest patient care directorate at NHB.

“He assisted and advised 38 officers, led and mentored 14 first class petty officers and 179 enlisted across six primary care departments and ensured administrative and operational readiness was tracked and completed,” shared Wink.

Galvin’s efforts directly supported NHB’s efforts as a ‘High Reliability Organization’ and the command mission of providing direct patient-centered care that include seeing over 18,000 patients in Family Medicine; 4,250 patients in Internal Medicine; approximately 10,500 patients with Mental Health; another 4,500 patients with Optometry; over 4,200 patients at Pediatrics; and 21,600 patients seen in the Urgent Care Clinic.

When asked to sum up his experience in Navy Medicine in one sentence Galvin said, “Good, bad or indifferent, the Navy has made be a better person and has provided my family and I countless adventures and experiences. Hooyah.”