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By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Kathleen Ferris, a native of Sonora, California, is playing a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a hospital corpsman working at Navy Medical Readiness Training Command Patuxent River, Maryland, Ferris’ skills are vital to maintaining the health of sailors in the Patuxent River area, and by extension, the readiness of the Navy’s operational ships and submarines on which they serve.
“The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic brought an invisible enemy to our shores and changed the way we operate as a Navy,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The fight against this virus is a tough one, but our sailors are tougher. We must harden our Navy by continuing to focus on the health and safety of our forces and our families. The health and safety of our sailors and their families are, and must continue to be our number one priority.”
Ferris is a 2015 Sonora High School graduate. According to Ferris, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Sonora.
“Growing up in a small town where everybody knows everybody, I learned the value of integrity and having a strong character that people can trust and look up to, and that forms great leadership skills,” Ferris said. “In the age of the Coronavirus, and many other issues, I’m grateful to have been raised in a town where caring for one another and looking out for each other is still a big part of our town.”
The U.S. Navy Hospital Corps is the most decorated career field in the Navy. Corpsmen have earned 22 Medals of Honor, 179 Navy Crosses, 959 Silver Stars, and more than 1,600 Bronze Stars. 20 ships have been named in honor of corpsmen.
In its century of service, the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps has supported millions of sailors and Marines in wartime and peace around the world. As the years have progressed, technological innovations are transforming medical training for the next generation of hospital corpsmen, according to Navy officials.
“I am proud and honored to be a part of the Hospital Corps because I know I am a part of something bigger than myself,” Ferris said. “The Hospital Corps legacy and history of valor and dedication is what drew me to join the Navy, and it continues to drive me to be the best sailor, corpsman, and American I can be.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Ferris as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition that dates back centuries. Their efforts, especially during this time of challenge brought on by the Coronavirus, will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who provide the Navy the nation needs.
“As a corpsman working in the laboratory, I am excited about the challenges we now face,” Ferris added. “The opportunity to learn more about something I had never heard of before and the chance to be a part of the front-line team, testing and analyzing the numerous COVID-19 cases is so rewarding, and motivates me to continue learning all I can.”