NMRTC Bremerton, Washington –
I Am Navy Medicine – A Family Affair at NMRTC Bremerton
By Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer -- Diane Hebert couldn’t make it when her son, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joshua Hebert, was being recognized as Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s Junior Sailor of the Quarter.
Not because she was like many parents who are several time zones or states away from their children serving on active duty.
It was due to her own responsibility as an occupational health technician with NMRTC Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Detachment.
Rare is family each assigned to the same command.
Rarer still is a mother-and-son connection.
“I think it's awesome that we had this opportunity to be in the same command. Most Navy parents don't get to experience that,” exclaimed Diane.
Although it’s completely happenstance that both are assigned to the same command, there is a symbiotic foundation based on their collective interest in a Navy Medicine career which led them both in their current respective positions.
“I always had a passion for wanting to help people. Being a Navy corpsman seemed like the best way I could do that,” explained Joshua, born in Minot, North Dakota, grew up in Panama City, Florida and is an A. Crawford Mosley High School 2016 graduate. “My Navy career started during my senior year. I decided that I wanted to get out of my hometown and see more of what is out there. ”
For Diane, the Lompoc, California native and Cabrillo High School 1984 grad has been in the medical field for 27 years.
“I’ve worked in the intensive care unit, cardiac intensive care unit, emergency room, cardio vascular surgeon office and inpatient rehab. I wanted to work for the federal government, so what better way than Navy Medicine,” said Diane, who started at her current position, March, 2021. “I’ve been in the medical field for a very long time. It boils down to I like to help people.”
Joshua has been a physical therapy technician for the last three years and is now the leading petty officer for the command’s Physical Therapy department. His previous assignments include working in optometry and as a general duty corpsman helping in the prevention and treatment of injury and disease at the Marine Corps Medical Homeport, Branch Medical Clinic Evans, Okinawa, Japan.
As a PT tech in helping Sailors, Marines, retirees and family members recover from injuries and maintain their physical health and well-being, he helped provide direct support to over 8,950 patients last year in physical therapy, along with approximately 1,885 patients in occupational therapy.
Diane had already been living in the area when Joshua arrived at his new duty station and although technically at the same command, Diane plies her trade on the massive Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, away from the hospital.
As an occupational health tech, Diane works in such areas as counseling shipyard workers on workplace hazards to supporting industrial hygiene efforts - overall to more than 30,000 workers at 126 commands with 480 different shops - to anticipate, recognize, and evaluate occupational stressors in order to advise commands on methods to prevent and reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
“I was really excited for her and her new job,” Joshua said.
The commonality of purpose for the same command lent an added note of fulfillment for both.
“I was excited that we could have this in common and be able to chat about the differences between our facilities and just chat together about work,” said Diane.
When co-workers find out that the two are related, all comments express positive feedback at the distinctiveness of having a family in their midst.
“They think it’s cool that Josh and I are in the same command,” Diane said. “It is kind of unique because it doesn’t happen often.”
Joshua affirms that he gets the “oh, that must be cool working with your mon!” comments from other staff members and notes that being able to compare work stories with his mom is a plus.
Both attest that the best part of their positions is being able to provide care to those in need.
“Being part of this command means being part of an organization dedicated to helping others,” remarked Joshua.
“It’s very nice being a part of the clinic at PSNS. It feels like I make a difference every day,” noted Diane.
When both were asked to sum up their experience in one sentence, Diane replied, “I feel like I’m playing a role in keeping our civilians and active duty in compliance with their qualification(s) in order to serve our country and Navy.”
“My experience has been an eye-opener, full of lessons I will never forget,” added Josh.