Feature   Know Your Military

Face of Defense: Maintaining Fleet Health

Feb. 18, 2020 | BY Katie Lange , DOD News

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (HM2) Anthony Martinez is a normal 23-year-old. He likes playing sports, going to the gym and relaxing with his family when he can. But in the military, his time is spent returning ailing sailors and Marines to health as a hospital corpsman. He's so good at his job that he was chosen as 2019's Sailor of the Year by the Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton, Washington. Martinez joined the Navy after high school in 2015 and was selected for the job that's equivalent to an emergency medical technician. In just over two years at Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton, he's worked his way up to leading petty officer, looking after other sailors along with his patients. Here's more on how he got into that role.

A sailor in his Navy working uniform poses for a photo by a window that overlooks a river.
Portrait Mode
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony Martinez was named 2019 Sailor of the Year for Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton.
Photo By: Douglas H Stutz, Navy
VIRIN: 200128-N-HU933-071

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Martinez
Job Title: Hospital Corpsman
Hometown: Brentwood, California
Unit: Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton
Stationed: Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton, Washington

Why did you join the Navy? 

The military was always in the back of my head as a career choice. I started working making money as soon as I could, doing construction, as a busboy, at movie theaters and working as a helping hand at a walnut orchard. Growing up, I figured I would work in construction as a career path, but, as I got older, I saw the toll it takes on your body through some of my family members. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I decided I was going to the Navy. 

How did you end up in your current career field? 

I always had a passion for medical care. I read up on different rates [military jobs] and found corpsman. I instantly fell in love. I wouldn't have joined for any other rate, and, luckily, corpsman was the first thing offered, so I took it.

A sailor stands in front of a hospital unit sign in a hallway, smiling for the camera.
Portrait Mode
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony Martinez poses for a photo at Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton, Nov. 15, 2019. Martinez was selected among other 2nd class petty officers at the hospital as NMRTCB's Sailor of the Year for 2019. NMRTCB supports more than 60,000 military families in West Puget Sound, shaping military medicine through training, mentoring and research to ensure a ready medical force and operationally ready force.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Meagan Christoph
VIRIN: 191115-N-XT693-034

A hospital corpsman is like an emergency medical technician for the military. Can you explain what that entails for the average civilian? 

Ultimately, a corpsman is whatever they're assigned to be. That's what makes our rate so special — our diversity and ability to adapt and overcome any challenge.

When I was sent here … I was assigned to the Multi-Service Unit and started orientation for the inpatient side as a floor corpsman covering general patient care. I later worked in the preoperative staging of surgical patients for about six months, then worked my way up to hospital corpsman 2nd class, where I took the role of leading petty officer. This gave me a leadership role and meant I was no longer 100% focused on direct patient care. I gained a whole lot of responsibilities, including taking care of 20 sailors administratively, physically and mentally, and making sure they were making their best contribution to the Multi-Service Unit and our patients. Along with this responsibility came maintaining the operational readiness of the unit with supply, equipment, manning and standard operating procedures. We've built a culture where, for the most part, people are self-sufficient, and they know what to do in case an issue comes up.

Does your role change from duty station to duty station?

My role as a corpsman changes based on where they want me. For example, at my first duty station at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia, I worked in dermatology, essentially performing as a dermatologist technician assisting the providers in day-to-day clinic care such as minor procedures like administering Accutane, laser treatments, steroid rehabilitation and surgical procedures. In December, I'm heading to sea duty, assigned to the 1st Marine Division. 

Seven Navy sailors laugh together in an office. One points toward the man in the middle.
Group Photo
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony Martinez’s coworkers congratulate him after he was named 2019 Sailor of the Year for Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton.
Photo By: Douglas H Stutz, Navy
VIRIN: 191204-N-HU933-025B

You were recently named NMRTC Bremerton's Sailor of the Year. How did that happen? Was there a lot of competition? 

I was also named Navy Medicine West Sailor of the Year for 2019, which is where all the sailors of the year from West Coast military hospitals compete. I earned the honor through great mentorship and guidance, along with being hungry and challenging myself to do better — never settling for good enough, but pushing to be the best version of myself, and more. 

The competition was really tough. It really could have been any one of us. At NMRTC Bremerton, the motivation is contagious and everyone strives to do the best for their sailors … everyone works hard to support each other. I really want to thank my wife, family, my chain of command and my sailors — without them, this wouldn't have happened. And while it's great to be recognized, I also want my work to speak louder than the Sailor of the Year title.

What is one of your favorite career moments?

The best part of my career so far is easy — watching my sailors advance and grow, not only professionally but as adults. I also love watching our patients regain their health and the knowledge that we are able to help so many people and increase our fighting force.

A sailor in a black jacket shakes the hand of another sailor in a Navy working uniform. Three other sailors stand around them smiling.
Group Meeting
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Anthony Martinez shakes hands with a fellow sailor after earning the title of 2019 Sailor of the Year at Naval Medical Readiness Training Center Bremerton.
Photo By: Douglas H Stutz, Navy
VIRIN: 191204-N-HU933-025A

Can you tell about one of your favorite stories with a patient (without breaking any privacy laws, of course)?

The best example of this was watching a Marine regain mobility in his arm after an injury in the field. I saw this patient for six months, watching from day one with little to no movement all the way to recovery with full range of motion. To see him so happy after all of that, that's job satisfaction.

What more do you hope to do with your military career?

My goals are to make chief, and I strive to join the Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program to become a nurse and ultimately a nurse practitioner.