Friday, March 31, 2023

Naval Special Warfare, Naval Medical Center San Diego Enhance Partnership

CORONADO, Calif. (Feb. 16, 2023) Steven Elliott, Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) 1’s medical supply manager, speaks to members of Naval Medical Center San Diego Balboa’s Executive Steering Committee during a tour of NSWG-1’s medical facilities on board the Silver Strand Training Complex. Naval Special Warfare is the nation’s elite maritime special operations force, uniquely positioned to extend the Fleet’s reach and gain and maintain access for the Joint Force in competition and conflict. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chelsea D. Meiller)

Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) 1 hosted Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (Balboa) Executive Steering Committee – a collection of key leaders and subject matter experts across different medical specialties – on a tour of NSWG-1’s medical facilities.

The visit encompassed a brief on the medical capabilities of NSWG-1 and included tours of the training pool and rope rescue course, physical therapy spaces, hyperbaric chamber, medical logistics warehouse, and human performance center. The tour also included the opportunity to observe special operations tactical medic skills sustainment training demonstrating casualty care from point of injury, trauma lanes, and prolonged care scenarios proctored in partnership with NMCSD Emergency Medicine physicians.

Cmdr. James Chung, group surgeon and senior medical officer at NSWG-1, led the tour group.

“This is an opportunity to showcase what we can do here at [Naval Special Warfare],” Chung said. “This tour allows us to discuss our capabilities, the unique patient set we cater to, and what we are doing to ensure we man, train and equip our medical personnel to be fully ready to forward deploy.” “It is critical to prepare our medics to save lives in the future fight within the maritime environment… potentially geographically displaced, resource limited, and prolonged evacuation times.”

As a Navy Medical Readiness Training Command, Balboa has a solid track record of providing training support to Naval Special Warfare medical personnel. The collaborative training within Balboa’s bioskills and simulation training center has been instrumental in providing high fidelity models for basic and advanced medical skills.

Capt. Kimberly Davis, commanding officer, NMCSD, spoke highly of the partnership built with Naval Special Warfare.

“We have three main priorities at our command and the first one will always be warfighter readiness,” she said. “Having an opportunity to really get to see the demand signals of these warfighters firsthand is crucial to us understanding how we can keep them healthy and quickly return them to the fight if illness or injury does occur.”

While NSWG-1 organically provides much of the care that it’s Sailors need, when a higher level of specialty care is needed, that’s when the partnership between Naval Special Warfare and NMCSD is truly highlighted.

“We are the front lines of care for the warfighters here, but when we need higher level care – specialty or inpatient care – we reach to Balboa to assist us in ensuring our service members are fully taken care of,” Chung said. “It is critically important to us to foster a healthy supporting/supported relationship with Balboa.”

One unique way NMCSD provides support to Naval Special Warfare is by setting up specialty clinic days at the Silver Strand Training Complex to meet the timely medical needs of SEALs and support staff.

“A few times a month, we set up point of care clinics at [Naval Special Warfare] to see Sailors and provide operative and non-operative care,” said Cmdr. Lucas McDonald, NMCSD’s director of surgical services. “We have multiple specialties that can do this – urology, [ear, nose and throat], orthopedics, to name a few – and this capability allows us to expedite the care that our warfighters need so that we can get them healthy as soon as possible.”

Naval Special Warfare also possesses some unique medical skills training and treatment capabilities that were showcased on the tour.

“I had never seen a hyperbaric chamber in person after almost 27 years in Navy medicine,” said Capt. Wendy Cook, associate director for professional education, NMCSD. “The training pool was also really eye-opening to see. It’s very helpful to see all these capabilities in person and gain an awareness of just how wide our capabilities are.”

During the tour, Chung likened our warfighter readiness to ship maintenance cycles.

“Our priority here at [Naval Special Warfare] is to maintain our warfighters, our Navy SEALs, our enablers,” he said. “Just like the surface Navy conducts maintenance and repairs on ships, we conduct maintenance and repairs too – but on our people. We need to make sure that our Sailors are recovered from any illness or injury they may have so that they can get back out there to train and be ready for whatever mission they are tasked with next.”

NSWG-1 medical offers services ranging from primary care to mental health and undersea medical services and serves the West-Coast based SEAL teams and support commands.

Naval Special Warfare is the nation’s elite maritime special operations force, uniquely positioned to extend the Fleet’s reach and gain and maintain access for the Joint Force in competition and conflict.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chelsea D. Meiller, Naval Special Warfare Group 1




Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]