Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, Director, Defense Health Agency Medical Corps
Why did you decide to join and serve in the Navy?
It's really interesting.
I joined the Navy to go to medical school because of the health professions scholarship program. But I decided to stay in the Navy when I learned after my first deployment to the first Gulf War, what it meant to serve. It was during that deployment I developed an appreciation for what it meant to be part of a larger effort, and how important that was and continues to be even if I'm just one person. That's what's kept me in the Navy.
Let's talk a little bit about your role models or maybe the mentors you've had along the way who have influenced you and helped guide you. Any ones you want to highlight and what their contribution has been?
You can't do this and continue to serve and find ways to contribute to the organization unless you have people who are helping you, coaching you and mentoring you. My first mentor was my father, a retired O-6 also in the medical corps in the Navy. He gave me the initial push, the initial drive to see what I could accomplish.
And then in the Navy, I had such great mentors, like Admiral Bonnie Potter, the first female chief of the medical corps. She was the one who taught me that any time I spent in the Navy would be time and experience I would always be able to translate to a life or a job outside of the Navy. It developed a very strong message she imprinted on me.
And then Admiral Bill McDaniel, who was my CO when I served at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth. He believed in me, in my leadership skills and gave me an opportunity in my first department head job. Vice Admiral Don Arthur, the surgeon general of the Navy, was not only a strong advocate for me, he taught me about the larger picture of how Navy medicine and "Big Navy," and how it fit into the overall fabric of government and society and even world events.
Admiral Harry Harris, who is currently the commander of PACOM, was always been just a staunch supporter. He is someone I can always turn to for real, sound and critical advice about where I should apply myself and where I can continue to make meaningful contributions. There've been so many others. These are the ones who stand out in my mind.