NAF EL CENTRO

One Little Clinic, One Giant Impact

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Story by PO3 Harley Sarmiento on 10/17/2017
EL CENTRO, Calif. -- Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro's primary mission is to support the combat training and readiness of the warfighter. Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) supports (NAF) El Centro's mission by ensuring every active duty, reserve, retiree, and their families receive the best care.

Despite a small staff, the clinic ensures service members receive the best possible care. (NAF) El Centro's staff routinely provides flight, explosive ordinance, fire fighter and weapons handling physicals to keep base personnel ready for whatever may come their way.

"We make sure the base is always medically ready," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd class Alex Coats, who is also a lab technician. "We do many physicals on our Sailors, and we help the detachments' corpsman and medics keep their service members ready too."

"We're a training base," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kevin Justus, a preventative medicine technician. "We provide the medical care needed to our active duty, reserves, and foreign national detachments to keep patients up to war-fighting capabilities."

The base is a training hub for Navy and Marine Corps and foreign allies. Since the weather is ideal for year-round flight operations, NBHC sees a variety of patients.

"Our patient load changes throughout the year," said Coats. "We have different detachments come in from the British to Marine Corps Squadrons to the Blue Angels. We see different types of patients daily."
NBHC may have a smaller staff but they rely heavily on each other to get the job done.

"Working in such a small clinic is a good learning experience," said Justus. "We (corpsman) work so closely with the doctors and providers. They keep us in the loop, and we really get to see firsthand how our work impacts patient care."

NBHC's staff also extends their helping hand with activities outside of the clinic. They volunteer on base for the airshow and out in town.

"We read children's books twice a week at Seeley Elementary School and help at the foodbank," said Justus. "It's always nice to get out there. We're a small base as well as being a small clinic. We stay involved on base as well. We help out with the marathon and the annual air show."

NBHC El Centro uses the tight-knit clinic atmosphere to their advantage. They see firsthand how their work directly affects each and every patient that comes through their doors.

"The staff is very friendly and courteous," said Larry Vasquez, a NBCH patient. "I was really impressed by their attentiveness to my issue and their way of diagnoses."

For more information on NAF El Centro visit https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrsw/installations/naf_el_centro.html

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