CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Hospitalman Christopher Hernandez, a native of Lancaster, is playing a critical role in the US Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
As a hospital corpsman working at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point, North Carolina, Hernandez’s skills are vital to maintaining the health of the sailors in the Cherry Point 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,” Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, said. “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 is, and must continue to be, our number one priority.”
Hernandez is a 2012 San Diego Continuing Education graduate. According to him, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Lancaster.
“I learned that, though times may be trying, persistence and teamwork can make progress achievable,” Hernandez said. “No matter the situation, if a community comes together, change can be adapted, too.”
The US 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 US 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.
“Being a part of the Hospital Corps is an honor,” Hernandez said. “With our proud history and impact within the Navy, I feel a sense of being.”
As a member of the US Navy, Hernandez, 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.
“I see this current state of the world as another trial we will ultimately overcome,” Hernandez added. “The Navy has trained some of the best in the medical field, and working alongside one another, we can overcome this hurdle.”