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NH Pensacola Deploys Additional Relief to Storm-Ravaged Gulf Coast

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050903-09
Release Date: 9/3/2005 6:36:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class (AW) Russell Tafuri, Naval Hospital Pensacola Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Six Hospital Corpsmen were sent Sept. 1 to relieve personnel at the Naval Support Activity New Orleans and Naval Air Station Belle Chasse health clinics.

The corpsmen departed for New Orleans via helicopter from NAS Pensacola armed with supplies, pharmaceuticals, equipment and fresh outlooks.

Their mission, according to Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Don Nelson, NH Pensacola’s senior enlisted leader for branch clinics, was a matter of taking care of those who stood the watch through the storm while others evacuated, and maintaining care for those who needed it in that area.

“We’re sending supplies like critical-need medications and equipment, as well as personnel who will function to relieve the stay-behind parties at the clinics there who have been there through the storm," said Nelson. "[They] rode it out in shelters there and have been providing first aid” to as many as 350 people. “We need to get them the supplies they need and get them fresh personnel relief. We need to get there to help out any way we can. And we need to do it now.”

Altogether, more than 20 Naval Hospital (NH) Pensacola personnel have deployed since the hurricane struck to provide relief and medical supplies for their colleagues in Gulfport and Pascagoula, Miss., and the three New Orleans-area clinics.

The outlying clinics are all outpatient clinics that have no critical-care patients, and are housed in facilities that sustained minor damages but are still able to allow some operational capabilities.

The latest six NH Pensacola personnel deployed to New Orleans are Chief Hospital Corpsman Matthew Clark and Hospitalman Nicole Wilson, from Naval Air Technical Training Center Pensacola’s branch clinic; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Scott Moore and Hospital Corpsmen 3rd Class Johnathan Bryant, Deforest Sankey and Thomas Santos, all from NH Pensacola.

For one of the crew, the opportunity to support hit close to home.

Wilson is a native of Mobile, Ala., and has spent most of her life on the Gulf Coast. She still has family from Mobile and New Orleans; all of whom are currently staying in the Pensacola area.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me – helping people who need help,” Wilson explained as to why she volunteered. “I get to step up to the plate and help those who need help,” said Wilson. “I’m just glad to be in a position to help these people out.”

NH Pensacola is the parent command of 12 branch health clinics in four states, five of which were directly affected by Hurricane Katrina. The hospital has established an Incident Command Center in an effort to assist in the coordination of assets, including supplies, equipment and personnel, and communication among its clinics and taskings from joint operations within the Gulf Coast region.

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