On a Small Island with a Big Mission

Ft Lauderdale Native Serves with the U.S. Navy Half a World Away at Naval Hospital Guam

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Robert Zahn, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown

SANTA RITA, Guam – A 2004 Nova High School graduate and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, native is serving with the U.S. Navy with U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Rodriguez is a hospital corpsman serving with the hospital in Guam.

A Navy hospital corpsman is responsible for the prevention and treatment of disease and injury, assisting health care professionals in providing medical care to personnel, conducting preliminary physical examinations, as well as performing medical administrative, supply and accounting procedures.

“I get to help people and assist them directly,” said Rodriguez. “Being there for someone is a big part of the job. It’s good to know that you assisted someone and made their life better.”

Rodriguez credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Ft. Lauderdale.

“You have to have a different view on everything and to not be too short-sighted and to stay in touch with people you love,” Rodriguez said.

Naval Hospital Guam is comprised of the main hospital in Agana Heights and two branch clinics, medical and dental, on Naval Base Guam. The hospital’s staff consists of 516 active duty and 201 civilians, contractors, reservists and volunteers who serve more than 26,000 beneficiaries.

According to officials at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the ships, submarines, aircraft and Navy personnel forward-deployed to Guam are part of the world’s largest fleet command and serve in a region critical to U.S. national security. The U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. All told, there are more than 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 uniformed and civilian personnel serving in the Pacific.

“I like that I have learned so much at this hospital,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve expanded my horizons more than I would have anywhere else.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Rodriguez is most proud of getting three qualifications and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Rodriguez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means putting yourself on the line,” Rodriguez said. “I’m doing something that people dream of doing but only a few are able to do.”