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Kitty Hawk Medical Reaches "Highest Benchmark of All Time"

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050524-01
Release Date: 5/24/2005 6:17:00 AM

By Journalist 1st Class (SCW) Michael Mitchell, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- After several days of intense examination, probing and direct questions, USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) was notified April 7 of their huge success in the annual medical readiness inspection (MRI).

The results were presented by a team of medical professionals to Capt. Tom Parker, Kitty Hawk’s commanding officer.

"It’s good news, captain. This is the best Medical Readiness Inspection we've had all year," reported Capt. Mark Edwards, medical officer for Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "It is also the highest benchmark of all time."

“The overall score was 94.3 percent, with scores of 100 percent in the administration and training areas,” said Edwards.

Edwards’ team is responsible for providing oversight on medical readiness for all naval air force units throughout the Pacific Fleet, including six aircraft carriers. While aboard Kitty Hawk, the inspectors spent a week reviewing every aspect of the medical department’s performance, beginning April 1.

From scheduling appointments and medical record maintenance to professional knowledge of the staff members, Kitty Hawk excelled in every area.

“We randomly sampled 120 medical records to look for discrepancies or errors,” said Edwards. “We didn’t find a single mistake in any of them.”

According to Edwards, the success of the medical department is due to the exceptionally integrated and supportive command environment Kitty Hawk provides.

"I served on a carrier, but I had forgotten how tough this job really is for the forward-deployed carrier," said Edwards. “Your people here are doing an incredible job. With the limited funding available, it is very difficult to meet all of the ship's needs, but they have used their available resources very efficiently for critical supplies and medications."

Kitty Hawk’s medical department also received praise for being current on HIV-blood testing, required inoculations and its readiness to respond to mass casualty incidents.

Mass-casualty response is one area where many commands have difficulty, but thanks to a number of training drills conducted regularly over the past year, Kitty Hawk’s medical department was well prepared.

"The last time we had this medical inspection, we had a very good inspection score; but it doesn't surprise me that this year is even better. We can attribute this success directly to the senior medical officer and the leadership in the medical department," said Parker.

Although obviously pleased with the results and the praise given to his department, Kitty Hawk's Senior Medical Officer, Cmdr. Joey Swartz, explained that it took a team effort to make this inspection a success.

“The credit really belongs to the staff members and enlisted leaders who manage the department so professionally," said Swartz.

Edwards said the inspectors were impressed with the department’s leadership, but also with the level of knowledge displayed by the junior and mid-level enlisted personnel.

“Working the extra hours to prepare to get it right proved very worthwhile,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Christopher Mathena, Kitty Hawk’s military medicine leading petty officer. “I feel we did well, and our score proves that.”

“Everyone put their best foot forward for this inspection,” said Mathena. “The hard work and dedication, and our dependence on each and every one’s knowledge, proved our effectiveness while maintaining a positive environment.”

The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15.

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