Feature   Defense News

Sailor Provides Medical Care During Pandemic

Nov. 6, 2020 | BY SEAMAN LUKE CUNNINGHAM, NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER SAN DIEGO

Navy Seaman Melodie Abell, a hospital corpsman, assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, plays a vital part in processing Marine Corps recruits while ensuring their health and wellness during the coronavirus pandemic.

A female sailor poses for a photograph in front of Marine recruits.
Melodie Abell
Navy Seaman Melodie Abell, a hospital corpsman assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, poses for a photo at the clinic, Oct. 29, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many facets of health care are conducted, and Naval Medical Center San Diego's branch health clinics have adapted some of their techniques and practices to keep both staff and patients safe while delivering the high-quality health care they’ve come to expect. NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Luke Cunningham
VIRIN: 201029-N-LW757-1123

Abell, a California, Maryland, native and 2019 graduate of James Clemens High School, arrived at NBHC, MCRD San Diego November 2019. Abell oversees the recruits' vaccination process and ensures their medical records are properly built. New Marines leaving Abell's care are medically ready for the fleet.

COVID-19 not only changed the way NBHC, MCRD San Diego provides health care to its patients, but it also created new challenges for medical staff as well. Abell said that while growing up in her hometown, she faced a lot of adversity and change.

"With the Navy's ever-changing circumstances, especially working as medical personnel during the pandemic, I felt better prepared once everything started changing so rapidly," Abell said.

A female sailor draws blood from a recruit.
Blood Work
Navy Seaman Melodie Abell, a hospital corpsman assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, draws blood at the clinic, Oct. 29, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many facets of health care are conducted, and Naval Medical Center San Diego's branch health clinics have adapted some of their techniques and practices to keep both staff and patients safe while delivering the high-quality health care they’ve come to expect. NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Luke Cunningham
VIRIN: 201029-N-LW757-1043M

Abell comes from a family rooted in the Marine Corps. Her grandfather, father, uncle and husband have all served as Marines.

"Coming from a family of Marines, I always admired those who serve," Abell said. "Working at MCRD, I'm forever proud that I am a part of the important stepping stone in getting medically-ready Marines to the fleet."

Hospital corpsmen are at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are involved in almost every facet of Navy medicine. When asked what the legacy of the hospital corpsman rating means to her, Abell said that she is proud when people ask her what she does for a living.

A female sailor handles a blood test.
Blood Test
Navy Seaman Melodie Abell, a hospital corpsman assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, conducts a blood type test at the clinic, Oct. 29, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many facets of health care are conducted, and Naval Medical Center San Diego's branch health clinics have adapted some of their techniques and practices to keep both staff and patients safe while delivering the high-quality health care they’ve come to expect. NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research.
Photo By: Navy Seaman Luke Cunningham
VIRIN: 201029-N-LW757-1049M

"I can not only tell them I'm in the Navy, but I also serve as a [hospital] corpsman," Abell said. "I am a part of the most decorated enlisted rating."

Navy hospital corpsmen have earned 22 Medals of Honor, 179 Navy Crosses, 959 Silver Stars and more than 1,600 Bronze Stars. Twenty ships have been named in honor of hospital corpsmen.

NMCSDs mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.