9/11 draws Navy Chief to medical service

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger

9/11 draws Navy Chief to medical service

by Lt.j.g. Meagan Morrison
Commander, Submarine Squadron 15

SANTA RITA, Guam (Sept. 17, 2019) - Where America’s day begins in Guam, a new day is beginning for 29 first class petty officers and one technical sergeant as they are promoted to the rank of chief petty officer at the Naval Base Guam Big Screen Theater on Sept. 13, 2019.

The ceremony came to a start as the Sailors and Airman marched onto the stage singing Anchors Aweigh. They posted on the stage and faced the crowd. Each of their collars were empty as they awaited to wear the rank of chief petty officer.

One Sailor amongst the faces selected to wear the rank of chief petty officer was Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rey Pablo Reyes, assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen, from Polillo Island, Philippines.

Looking back at his 13 years in the Navy, Reyes never knew that his determination would mean that one day he would be wearing the golden anchors.

“I had no idea as to how far I would get in the Navy,” said Reyes. “All I knew was that I wanted to test my limits and see where it would take me as I was helping others.”

Reyes was introduced into the medical field at a young age and it created a strong desire for him to aid others.

“I grew up in the Philippines where my father was a local physician,” said Reyes. “He was an inspiration for me to look outside of my own circle and touch the lives of those around me.”

One event in history changed the lives of many and had a lasting effect on Reyes setting his mind on joining the medical field.

“I remember being in my high school English literature class in Queens, New York,” remembered Reyes. “My teacher was distracted and stopped in the middle of her lesson. Her attention was focused on the classroom windows. We all turned to see smoke clouds outside. That’s when we learned that two planes were hijacked by terrorists and flown into the twin towers.”

Hundreds of first responders were on the scene to help that fateful day in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, that killed nearly 3,000 people at the place known as ground zero.
“I thought to myself ‘I want to be there and be a part of the teams of EMTs and doctors that were there to help those people and save lives,’” recalled Reyes. “I knew I needed to be in the medical field from then on.”

Reyes found a place to put his skills to the test when he enlisted into the Navy just like his brother.

“I wanted the same stability that the Navy gave to my brother, so I decided to join as a corpsman and be the medical professional that I’ve always wanted to be,” said Reyes. “I wouldn’t take anything less than corpsman.”

Reyes didn’t see himself as becoming a chief in his career, but through determination and pushing his limits, he was able to be selected as one of the few to wear the chief anchors.

“I’ve always taken the jobs that were mentally and physically challenging because that’s where I could help the most,” said Reyes. “My mind wasn’t set on making rank in my career. It was always about what I could do for others. To my surprise, I am here today gaining a new rank and leadership in the Navy.”

To conclude the ceremony, Reyes along with 28 Sailors and one Airman lined the stage to be presented as U.S. Navy chief petty officers.

“This is just the beginning of the challenge for me,” said Reyes. “It’s about being humble, being a leader and paving the way for the newest generation of Sailors to come. I want to be able to earn my anchors every day and be proud of the chief I will become.”

CSS-15 is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Piti, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. 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.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit our official CSS-15 website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/css15 and our official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SubmarineSquadron15/.

Are you interested in taking orders to Guam? Want to learn more about the duty station and life on our island? For more information, check out the ‘Go Guam!’ website at http://www.csp.navy.mil/go-guam/ and download the ‘1st Fifteen’ checklist.

Photo Caption:
SANTA RITA, Guam (Aug. 14, 2019) - Chief Hospital Corpsman (Sel.) Rey Pablo Reyes, assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen, from Polillo Island, Philippines, is fitted for his service dress blue uniform by Clarita Santa Maria, a Navy Exchange (NEX) fabric worker, at the NEX on Naval Base Guam. CSS-15, located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam, had 16 first class petty officers selected to wear the rank of chief petty officer.

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