APRA HARBOR, Guam – Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) hosted Surgeon General of the Navy Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham during a visit to Santa Rita, Guam, Jan 17.
Gillingham, the Navy’s 39th Surgeon General, visited medical commands around the island to discuss his priorities for the medical community and how they relate to maritime superiority and fleet-wide medical readiness.
“Navy medicine is looking for ways to better support the warfighter,” said Gillingham, a native of San Diego. “To do that, we focus on optimizing our people, platforms, performance, and power as we look to maintain lethality and readiness around the fleet. I really appreciate the opportunity to visit Oklahoma City and to highlight Navy medicine moving forward.”
While onboard Oklahoma City, Gillingham met with command leadership and the submarine’s independent duty corpsman (IDC) to discuss changes and educational opportunities regarding the independent duty corpsman training pipeline. Under Gillingham’s leadership, medical personnel from the surface community holding the rank of E-4 will now be able to apply for training as an IDC.
“Being the IDC on Oklahoma City has been the pinnacle of my corpsman training,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kevin Harding, a native of Tracy, California. “It’s a great feeling knowing that junior Sailors will now be able to receive new training and education opportunities to help advance their careers as they become surface IDCs.”
As a submarine IDC, Harding is the sole medical provider onboard a submarine and is responsible for ensuring that Sailors meet medical readiness standards in order to help maintain the forward-deployed submarine force.
Oklahoma City is one of four Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.