The Coast Guard’s dedicated health services technicians provide healthcare services – both routine and emergency – for servicemembers and their families. From clinics and sick bays, to ashore or afloat, health services technicians keep Coast Guard men and women ready to perform their challenging maritime missions.
Along with routine immunizations, x-rays and lab tests, health services technicians fill many roles in their respective units and communities. One health services technician making a difference at her unit is Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica McLeod.
In addition to being the clinic’s training petty officer, McLeod is also the base victim advocate, front desk supervisor, critical incident stress management representative and moral committee officer. Despite this exhausting list of duties, McLeod ensures she helps those around her grow professionally.
“Since I reported to the clinic, HS2 has taught me a lot about the Coast Guard. Service-wide advice, victim advocacy responsibilities and how to apply for [Officer Candidate School] just to name a few,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Brindley, a health services technician at the clinic.
Even with all of these duties and the active mentorship role she plays to those around her, McLeod was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Coast Guard’s first closed point of dispensing drill for medical countermeasures. This drill may sound complex, and that’s because it is.
McLeod and her fellow responders were testing their ability to respond in the event of a public health emergency – such as a terrorist attack, flu outbreak or natural disaster. In the event of a large-scale disaster, rapid access to large quantities of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies will be required and because such quantities may not be readily available, special stockpiles were created.
The exercise tested local, state and federal coordination for such a scenario, including the activation of the Strategic National Stockpile for the mass dispensing of medication to regional residents. The drill included multiple Coast Guard units, county and local emergency agencies, American Red Cross, area hospitals and the local school system.
Since this was the first-ever mass dispensing exercise in the Coast Guard, there were no previous guidelines from which to work. McLeod displayed outstanding innovation creating the processes and procedures other units will utilize in the future; whether for a national disaster where food and water are distributed, or for a medical emergency during which medications or even vaccines may need to be dispensed.
“HS2 McLeod has set the bar for professionalism at the Base Elizabeth City Clinic. She has been an outstanding role model, performer, leader and friend since she arrived,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jared Carter, a fellow health services technician at the clinic. “I think we all benefit from her upbeat attitude and willingness to get the job done.”
Her efforts during the exercise demonstrated her commitment to her profession, and a strong desire to strengthen partnerships and positively promote the visibility of the Coast Guard with the local community and region.
“HS2 McLeod truly lives our core values, her leadership through service to her Shipmates and the Coast Guard is a reminder of why we’re all here,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Cade Moses, McLeod’s supervisor and last year’s Base Elizabeth City employee of the year.