YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Hospital Corpsman 1st (HM1) Class Rendel Cano, an independent duty corpsman (IDC) assigned to the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), was recently named Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's (BUMED) 2016 Surface Force IDC of the Year.
IDCs have been serving in locations where medical officers and medical facilities are not readily available. Nominees for the IDC of the Year awards are judged on performance traits from the last year including technical competency, leadership excellence, well roundedness and contributions to the Navy mission.
"From my first day in the Navy, I knew I wanted to be an independent duty corpsman, and I am extremely humbled and motivated by this award," said Cano.
Cano, from Hialeah, Florida, believes the most important thing is to take care of Sailors and train his reliefs.
"I don't think of the Sailors who come to see me as patients, but as shipmates. And every day I strive to become a better provider and a better leader for them," said Cano.
His junior Sailors are proof of his sentiments, and credit him as being a great mentor.
"Good Sailors are the result of great leaders who take the time to push them in the right direction and inspire them. And that's exactly what HM1 has done for me," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alyssa Javier, Cano's coworker.
Throughout Cano's time aboard Benfold, he has led the command to receive the Commander, Naval Surface Force (COMNAVSURFOR) Health and Wellness Unit Award, known as the Green H, for two consecutive years. The Green H award requires a 90 percent score across several health and wellness criteria to include health promotion, medical readiness, physical fitness, drug and alcohol awareness, and Navy Occupational Safety and Health (NAVOSH) training.
"HM1 Cano is always focused on the end game - making sure Sailors are healthy and good to go for the mission," said Cmdr. Leroy Mitchell, commanding officer of Benfold. "He is a great addition to our crew, both as our 'Doc' and a strong first class."
During the 2017 Fleet Support Operations-Medical (FSO-M) inspection, Cano and his team provided command-wide training for basic first aid, resulting in a 90 percent command-wide knowledge score.
Cano's previous tours include one with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. Upon completing his tour with the Marines, he attended the Surface Warfare Medical Institute (SWMI), the Navy's IDC school, in San Diego.
"The skills that I gained while serving with the Marines were refined at SWMI and eased my transition to IDC," said Cano.
Cano's continued dedication to promoting the health of his Sailors stays true to the ship's namesake, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Edward Clyde Benfold. Edward Clyde Benfold was a Navy hospital corpsman with the Marines, and was killed in action on September 5, 1952, while saving the lives of two wounded Marines he was aiding during the battle of Bunker Hill.
Benfold is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
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