GOOSE CREEK, S.C. – Hospitalman Zoe Clarke, a native of Delaware, is playing a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
As a hospital corpsman working in the Preventive Medicine Department at Navy Medical Readiness and Training Command Charleston, in Goose Creek, South Carolina, Clarke’s skills are vital to maintaining the health of the sailors in the Charleston area, and by extension, the readiness of the Navy’s operational ships and submarines on which they serve.
“The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic brought an invisible enemy to our shores and changed the way we operate as a Navy,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of Naval Operations. “The fight against this virus is a tough one, but our sailors are tougher. We must harden our Navy by continuing to focus on the health and safety of our forces and our families. The health and safety of our sailors and their families is, and must continue to be, our number one priority.”
As part of the Navy medicine team, Clarke protects service members and their families, many of whom deploy around the world supporting national interests here at home.
“As a hospital corpsman working with coronavirus patients, I’ve become a person not only my command can look to, but sailors around the base can look to for guidance as well,” Clarke said. “I do my best to provide all up to date information and provide an open communication from patients to providers. This has become a great challenge that I’ve come to love. I adore being in preventive medicine because it brings something new to the table every day.”
Clarke is a 2018 Rutherford B. Hayes High School graduate. According to Clarke, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Delaware.
“Growing up, I learned that teamwork makes the dream work and throughout the entire Navy that really seems to come to light,” Clarke said. “However, in the age of COVID-19, it is even more important to work as a team. If you don’t work with and follow local guidelines, you are not setting your community up for success.”
U.S. Navy Medicine is the most decorated career field in the Navy. Navy Hospital Corpsmen have earned 22 Medals of Honor, 179 Navy Crosses, 959 Silver Stars and more than 1,600 Bronze Stars. Twenty ships have been named in honor of corpsmen.
In its century of service, the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps has supported millions of sailors and Marines in wartime and peace around the world. As the years have progressed, technological innovations are transforming medical training for the next generation of hospital corpsmen, according to Navy officials.
“The legacy of the Navy Hospital Corps is very traditional and strong,” Clarke said. “To be a part of this community is something I have dreamt about since I was a little girl. Not only do I get to make my family proud on a daily basis, but I get to help those who are sick and going through a tough time. It’s an honor.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Clarke, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition that dates back centuries. Their efforts, especially during this time of challenge brought on by the coronavirus, will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who provide the Navy the nation needs.