Navy Medicine West Commander Connects Philadelphians with Their Navy

Story Number: NNS190617-15Release Date: 6/17/2019 3:15:00 PM
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By Regena Kowitz, Navy Medicine West Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Paul Pearigen, Navy Medicine West (NMW) commander and chief of the Navy Medical Corps, cultivated a better understanding of the Navy’s role in protecting American prosperity and freedom during an executive engagement visit to Philadelphia, June 10-12.

The three-day visit was part of a Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) program that brings senior Navy leaders together with their civilian counterparts in local government, corporate, educational, and civic organizations to increase awareness and understanding of the Navy’s mission. 

“It’s important to remember that our Navy exists to protect and defend American interests,” said Pearigen, who completed his medical residency in Philadelphia and still has ties to the city. “Every day our ships and our Sailors and Marines are deployed around the globe where they play a vital role in maintaining the freedom of the seas. Given that 90% of global commerce travels across the world’s oceans, the U.S. Navy contributes significantly to protecting the free flow of goods, contributing to a healthy economy. The presence of our Navy around the globe also ensures we are always ready to defend our nation and deter potential adversaries far from our shores. That impacts every American, including those in Philadelphia.”

Pearigen kicked off his visit to the city of brotherly love at city hall where he had the opportunity to speak with Philadelphia Councilman David Oh, an Army veteran, about the benefits military service provides to America’s youth, such as opportunities for education, gaining valuable work experience, and learning important life skills. 

While visiting The Franklin Institute, a renowned science museum and center for science education, the theme of engaging America’s youth continued. Pearigen and senior Institute staff talked about the importance of encouraging students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

“We live in an increasingly complex and technical world,” Pearigen said. “Operating a high-tech warship or maintaining a secure cyber environment is going to require Sailors who are highly trained, technically competent, and innovative thinkers—that starts with getting the students of today, who are tomorrow’s Sailors, interested in and excited about STEM as early as possible.”

Pearigen also visited with leaders and military veterans at PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility, and Comcast, both of which have robust veteran hiring and support programs and understand that military training and experience can forge service members into valuable employees after they leave the service.  

A visit to Philadelphia would not be complete without a stop at the Navy Yard, home to the Naval Foundry and Propeller Center (NFPC) that designs, manufactures, and repairs propellers for the U.S. Navy. While there, Pearigen toured the facility and saw the growing workforce in action. 

“Facilities likes this are vital to the Navy’s shipbuilding strategy and are part of the industrial base that supports a Navy that’s ready to meet global challenges and defend American interests,” Pearigen said.

In addition to its manufacturing industry, Philadelphia also has a concentration of medical education and health care organizations. Pearigen visited the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center and discussed their role in supporting the health and well-being of military families and veterans as well as their partnership efforts. 

Other highlights included stops at the Museum of the American Revolution where exhibits explore the birth of our nation and the origins of our Navy, Bunker Labs to learn about a community network of veteran entrepreneurs, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Cooperation where staff shared information about their work redeveloping large sections of the historic Navy Yard, the 76ers’ headquarters to discuss leadership and human performance optimization with the coaching staff and CEO, and a Phillies game he watched with local wounded warriors. 

Overall, the visit provided an opportunity for Pearigen to build awareness and understanding among key leaders throughout Philadelphia about why their Navy—America’s Navy— is important to their city, their citizens, their organizations, their economy, and their security.

“NAVCO’s Executive Engagement Visit program connects Americans with their Navy through visits by senior Navy flag officers and civilian leaders to cities throughout the country for high-level engagements with corporate executives, government officials, education leaders, local media, veterans organizations, and civic groups, “ said Cmdr. Linda Rojas, director of the Navy Office of Community Outreach. “We appreciate the city leaders, like those in Philadelphia, for their hospitality when our Navy senior leaders conduct engagements. And we are grateful to Navy senior leaders like Rear Admiral Pearigen who graciously give their time to connect with Americans to inspire them to support their Navy.”

Navy Medicine West (NMW) leads Navy Medicine’s Western Pacific health care system and global research and development enterprise. Throughout the region, NMW provides medical care to nearly 700,000 beneficiaries across 10 naval hospitals, two dental battalions, and 51 branch clinics located throughout the West Coast of the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific. Globally, NMW oversees eight research laboratories that deliver research expertise in support of warfighter health and readiness.


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