SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (NNS) -- As a Puerto Rican resident or native from the island there are different things you come to love. The proximity to the sea, landscape, food, music, culture, pride in one’s country and above all family.
For Capt. Miguel Cubano, commanding officer, Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi, Texas, it seemed as if his entire career led him to the point of being the senior officer for Puerto Rico Navy Week April 8-13.
Cubano considers Puerto Rico home. He is the oldest of five children and his father served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army reaching the rank of Colonel. He has siblings, family and friends still living on the island.
“It is extremely humbling to be part of this Navy Week and I am thankful for everyone’s kindness on the island. I am appreciative of those that have volunteered to be part of this Navy Week,” said Cubano.
Cubano added that he was impressed at the diversity of all the Sailors out here helping with all the community events.
“They are the real super stars, they wear their uniform with pride, have a lot of heart and it’s not only felt by me, but by many Puerto Ricans on the island.”
Cubano had the opportunity to meet with politicians, medical professionals, Department of Veteran’s Affairs leaders, school leaders, military leaders and, most importantly, local residents. During his visits, Cubano discussed the events happening during Puerto Rico Navy Week as well as key topics affecting the Navy. The Captain was hard to miss as he walked around in his impeccable summer whites on a sunny day in Puerto Rico.
“I feel extremely motivated, happy and excited to see that Capt. Cubano is talking to as many people as he can about what the Navy does for all of us, because in the end it is our Navy too,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Felix Santoni, another native of the island. “It does my heart good that these talks, engagements, community relation projects are all putting our great country in people’s hearts and minds.”
Santoni, who joined Cubano on a few of the engagements, is a huge Navy supporter – and it didn’t go unnoticed. The first day he sported a shirt from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and the next day he had a shirt from USS George Washington (CVN 73), shirts he acquired when he visited the ships.
“My father served with the general and it was like having family next to me the whole time he was with us. I was honored to have him with us,” said Cubano.
During engagements, every great Navy senior officer needs a great master chief by his side. During the Navy Week, Command Master Chief Jose RamiroGuzman of USS Detroit (LCS 7), also a Puerto Rican, assisted the captain with all the engagements.
“I am very happy to be here, not only with a great leader but a fellow Puerto Rican from the island who understands what the people here have gone through,” said RamiroGuzman. “His knowledge of our homeland, the Navy and medicine made all these talks extremely educational.”
One of Cubano’s challenging and most rewarding tours was in 2008 when he became the first naval officer selected to hold the position of U.S. Southern Command Surgeon, an assignment during which he helped orchestrate humanitarian operations in Haiti as a part of Operation Unified Response.
Cubano received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and earned his medical degree at the Ponce School of Medicine in 1988. After surgical internship and residency he completed a Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is board certified in general surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons since 2002.
Navy Weeks focus a variety of outreach assets, equipment and personnel on a single city for a week-long series of engagements with key influencers and organizations representing all sectors of the market. During a Navy Week, 75-100 outreach events are coordinated with corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans, community service and diversity organizations in the city.
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