USS IWO JIMA (At Sea) (NNS) -- A local woman was recently named the Joint Chiefs of Staff Medical Service Corps Director Under Instruction Director's Training (J4) at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., Oct. 7.
Presently assigned to the Continuing Promise 2010 (CP10) - Partnership of the Americas - mission onboard the large-deck amphibious ship, USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) homeported out of Norfolk, Va., Lt. Janette Arencibia, USN, learned of her new appointment while underway. Arencibia, a member of the U.S. Navy's Medical Service Corps, is a Planning, Operations and Medical Intelligence (POMI) Officer whose primary responsibility is medical logistical support during and after a disaster or crisis.
"I'm thrilled about this opportunity," said Arencibia. "I am humbled and honored to represent the Medical Service Corps POMI community. This is a great way to demonstrate our community's excellent mentorship!"
During a four-month period, CP10 delivered medical, dental, engineering, veterinary services and subject matter expert exchanges to eight countries within Central and South America within the U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility.
Arencibia, a Springfield, Va., resident, will report to the J4 at the Pentagon in the summer of 2011, after she has finished the CP10 mission and work in her current Human Resources and Contingency position at the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
"I feel that I've diversified my career enough to identify what I can do now to impact my community and how I can make disaster planning within the Department of Defense better," said Arencibia. "I've served with all the uniform services at some point in my career, and I'm so lucky to have wonderful family support and excellent mentors representing every branch of service." Her past assignments include training, recruiting and operational support commands, to include service in Afghanistan from 2006 - 2007 where she provided medical civil affairs planning and support services and training to women in Afghanistan.
"I taught the first group of Afghan women to shoot AK-47s," said Arencibia. "I didn't get here without excellent mentorship; I have been graciously blessed. I am very driven."
After responding to the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, Arencibia said that's when she knew her mission in life.
"There are distinct similarities between conflict and disaster response missions in terms of their identified processes," said Arencibia. "My goal is to identify how to prepare areas for disaster so countries can rebuild effectively and efficiently. Her personal and professional goal now is to build a medical intelligence center database that will allow her to be part of a solution."
An example of her goal came when she served in Haiti and had to help the local population identify their assets and capabilities to rebuild. She and the POMI team needed to identify where the hospitals, orphanages and schools were located in the rubble but what they lacked was an updated capabilities database.
"In Haiti, I worked in the helicopter tower as a medical regulator. We had helicopters touching the deck with patients every two minutes. There were so many people to rescue and that's when it hit me that I wanted to fix things so capabilities information is more readily available," said Arencibia.
Arencibia will support CP10 - Partnership of the Americas until mid November 2010. During this mission, Arencibia serves as a member of the advance team who prepares all site logistics in each of the eight countries, and continues to gain positive insight while she works toward her personal goal. Her mother, Janet Mirick and daughters Aspen and Autumn donated clothing and toys in support of CP10 and eagerly await her return to celebrate this recent announcement.
"Janette is an outstanding medical planner that goes above and beyond her duties to ensure mission success no matter what is asked of her," said Lt. Jason Holbrook, USN, fellow Advanced Coordination Element (ACE) team member. "She always has a positive attitude and never gives up no matter how impossible the task at hand is. She has limitless potential and would be a valued asset at any Command or job she was given."
The CP10 mission also incorporates the readiness element for humanitarian, disaster relief support. Arencibea almost had another opportunity to support disaster relief operations when tropical storm Matthew brought extensive rain to Central America, and USS Iwo Jima moved northward Sept. 24 to prepare to support Honduras in case of a disaster. Luckily, relief was not required and the ship moved on with the Humanitarian Civic Assistance mission and proceeded to drop anchor off the coast of Chiriqui Grande, Panama Sept. 26.
Approximately 1,500 personnel are presently deployed onboard the large-deck, amphibious ship homeported out of Norfolk, Va. CP10 left Norfolk on July 17, 2010 and will return in mid November 2010 after having visited Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.