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Combat Center Sailor, 3d MAW Sailor of the Year

By Sgt. Kristen Bennett | | February 28, 2003

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The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing has chosen a Combat Center corpsman, HM3 Mickenzie Gibson from Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, as its Junior Sailor of the Year.

"I nominated her because she is, in my 25 years of Naval service, in the top five outstanding Sailors I've worked with," said Senior Chief Robert Flanagan, medical administrative chief, MWSS-374.  "She's accomplished more in a year than most people do in their whole career."

The annual award is based on military knowledge, volunteer work, outside education, initiative, physical fitness and more.  According to Flanagan, Gibson has excelled in all these areas but shined above the others because of her on-the-job achievements.

"Every day, she sees and evaluates patients independent of any health provider, assesses the problem, creates a treatment plan and has it reviewed," said Flanagan.  "She has become extremely proficient at these clinical skills.  She has not only the confidence of the flight surgeon but also of the Marines she comes in contact with.  She goes above and beyond by researching each disease so she can better treat her patients."

Gibson grew up in Columbia Falls, Montana, enlisted in the Navy in February of 2001 and was stationed here by November.  During the short time she's been here, she has worked as a sickcall corpsman, deployed twice to provide medical assistance in the field, coordinated women's health seminars and established a tracking system to screen Marines for immunization updates, required HIV testing and other medical readiness issues. 

"I have to work hard at whatever I do.  It's a personal thing," said Gibson.  "I can't sleep well at night if I don't feel like I put everything I could into it."

A major accomplishment, according to Flanagan, was Gibson's recent deployment with the explosive ordnance disposal unit here.  Gibson was temporarily assigned to the unit for two combined-arms exercises.  During the six-week deployment, she conducted medical training, provided routine and emergency medical support, maintained communication between the operating EOD team and range safety and completed the Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist qualifications.  Along with her regular duties, she volunteered to participate in various training evolutions to gain experience and knowledge outside her immediate area of responsibility, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Corris, officer in charge, EOD.

"She is by far one of the most motivated corpsmen the EOD section has had the honor to operate with," said Corris.  "Her military bearing and presence of mind far surpass her peers."

Gibson said she attributes her success to the mentors in her workplace like Navy Lt. Holly Hill, flight surgeon, MWSS-374.

"As far as medicine goes, Dr. Hill's knowledge is so amazing, and she's so willing to teach.  I've learned so much from her," said Gibson.  "I've always wanted to be a doctor, so I found someone who is actually doing it and am following her lead."

She added that, in order to be successful, you have to keep learning.

"I've worked in a lot of different areas as a corpsman, and I've realized that my favorite area is whatever I'm doing at the time," said Gibson.  "There's so much to learn, and it's fascinating that I will never know everything.   You have to find people like Senior Chief Flanagan who know so much and attach yourself to them to get that knowledge.  Never settle for where you're at and what you're given."
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