Oliver Springs Native on front lines of U.S. Navy Coronavirus fight

By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Eco Heating and Air

GROTON, Conn. – Seaman Tabatha Comeaux, a native of Oliver Springs, Tennessee, is playing a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a hospital corpsman working at Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit Groton, Connecticut, Comeaux’s skills are vital to maintaining the health of the sailors in the Groton area, and by extension the readiness of the Navy’s operational ships and submarines on which they serve.

“The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic brought an invisible enemy to our shores and changed the way we operate as a Navy,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The fight against this virus is a tough one, but our sailors are tougher. We must harden our Navy by continuing to focus on the health and safety of our forces and our families. The health and safety of our sailors and their families is, and must continue to be, our number one priority.”

As part of the Navy medicine team, Comeaux protects sailors and their families, many of whom deploy around the world supporting national interests here at home.

“Serving as a hospital corpsman during the global pandemic means that we will be called upon to help with the Coronavirus response efforts and we need to always be prepared for when that happens,” Comeaux said.

Comeaux is a 2016 Oliver Springs High School graduate. According to Comeaux, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Oliver Springs.

“I learned that having a good support system will get me through anything,” Comeaux said.

U.S. Navy Medicine is the most decorated career field in the Navy. 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 corpsmen.

In its century of service, the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps has supported millions of sailors and Marines in wartime and peace around the world. As the years have progressed, technological innovations are transforming medical training for the next generation of hospital corpsmen, according to Navy officials.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of the Navy Hospital Corps,” Comeaux said. “It has opened many opportunities for me.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Comeaux, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition that dates back centuries. Their efforts, especially during this time of challenge brought on by the Coronavirus, will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who provide the Navy the nation needs.

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