YOKOSUKA, Japan - (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Medicine West, Rear Adm. Paul D. Pearigen, arrived aboard U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka, Apr. 11-12 to tour the facility and meet and greet with faculty and staff members as a part of his recent trip to the Pacific.
Pearigen, who took over command from the previous commander, Rear Adm. Bruce Gilligham Dec. 5, 2016, also serves as the 12th chief of the Navy Medical Corps. He was making his first ever site visit of the hospital. This was his second visit to the region.
Joining Pearigen was current Navy Medicine West Chief of Staff and former USNH Yokosuka commanding officer, Capt. Glenn C. Crawford.
"Having Rear Adm. Pearigen aboard USNH Yokosuka is an honor," said USNH Yokosuka Commanding Officer, Capt. Rosemary C. Malone. "It gives him a first-hand view of our forward-deployed capabilities as well as the opportunity to meet and engage with our staff members."
After meeting with the USNH Yokosuka executive steering committee, Pearigen hosted an admiral's call with staff members and presented flag coins to Lt. Danielle Rakich, Directorate of Clinical Support Services (Pharmacy); Angela West, Directorate of Resource Management; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Carnell Tarver, Directorate of Dental Services and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Rayson Warren, Directorate for Clinical Support Services.
"It's hard working out here at the pointed end," said Pearigen. "I know that those four individuals are really just representatives of the rest of the great staff at Naval Hospital Yokosuka. Everyone in this room could be brought up here and their boss, their peers or their shipmates could come forward and introduce to me the great work that you do; the talent you have, the skills, the dedication, and the drive to make a difference here. So to that I say congratulations to all of you."
Pearigen discussed several topics, such as manning, Navy Medicine training opportunities and overall mission readiness.
"It's my job to support Naval Hospital Yokosuka, the branch clinics and support you in the mission you have, because you're out here serving the warfighter," said Pearigen. "You're out here taking care of our Sailors, Marines and taking care of our families - making them ready to fight tonight."
Upon conclusion of the Admiral's call, Pearigen proceeded back to USNH Yokosuka in order to have lunch with Junior Sailors. The luncheon allowed the junior troops an opportunity to engage with a Navy Admiral.
"The last time I met the admiral was when he presented the 2016 Navy Medicine West Sailor of the Year award to me," said Hospitalman 1st Class Tiffany Kidd. "I was so happy to meet him and just like before, this time I found him to be very personable as an admiral and just his presence alone makes you feel that he is approachable and has a genuine since of concern for all junior personnel."
Pearigen presented a flag coin to a 5th Sailor, Lt. Cmdr. Robyn Treadwell, during an officer's call, then concluded his first day with an office call with Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ), Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter.
On the second day of his trip, Pearigen received a host nations' welcome when he had office calls at Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) Hospital with Commander, JSDF Hospital, Rear Adm. Kimitoshi Inoue, followed by one with Commander, Undersea Medical Center (UMC) Japan, Rear Adm. Tetsuji Tokunaga.
Pearigen's visit was not only limited to visiting USNH Yokosuka; it also included a trip to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to Branch Health Clinic (BHC) Iwakuni, Apr. 12-15.
The current clinic is in the process of being replaced by a larger, more modern state-of-the-art facility to be called Naval Family Branch Clinic Iwakuni.
"It's important to me that the admiral be briefed and have an opportunity to view and review every aspect of the new facility," said BHC Iwakuni Officer-in-Charge, Cmdr. Jessica Beard. "His understanding and support, as we good through this phase, the final phase, will prove to be critical if we are to be successful. Since the infrastructure, both exterior and interior, is completed he had the opportunity to tour the 150,000 square-foot clinic in real time."
More than a Clinic, but not a hospital, Naval Family Branch Clinic Iwakuni is being built to latest Joint Commission Hospital Standards. The four-floor facility is scheduled to provide 26 Family Medicine Exam Rooms and 16 Exam Rooms, to include Labor & Delivery Exam Rooms, C-section Operating Rooms, a Pediatric Department, Increased Laboratory Capabilities and Leverage Technology to Enhance Patient Care.
"The staff and I have worked diligently and consistently to ensure that the transition from BHC Iwakuni to Naval Family Branch Clinic Iwakuni goes as smooth as possible," said Beard. "The unconditional support that our leadership has shown in bringing this process to fruition is nothing short of astounding. We are thankful, proud and honor to serve such a great group of leaders."
The facility is scheduled for a Summer 2017 completion, with a Fall 2017 opening.
USNH Yokosuka is the largest U.S. military treatment facility on mainland Japan caring for approximately 43,000 eligible beneficiaries.
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For more news from U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhyoko/.