The blog is under both of our names, but if you haven't been able to tell, I (Randi) do all of the posting. I make sure Tim reads them ahead of time to make sure a post doesn't sound too dumb, but I do the writing. Well, today, I'm going to hand over the reigns to Tim. I want him to tell you how his visit to San Diego went. So, here he is!Salutations! Me llamo Tim. Anyway, this past week, Wednesday through Friday, I flew out to San Diego, CA to visit the Navy Medical Center. The Navy paid for the trip, flights, hotel, meals etc. I think my total cost was about 25 bucks for food while traveling and one decadent trip to In-N-Out Burger (my favorite!). So, here's the rundown of the trip.
Wednesday: Fly to San Diego, meet everyone, eat dinner, get some sleep.
Thursday: Wake up at the crack of dawn, eat, interview/tour/learn about Navy pharmacy, lunch, tour USNS Mercy (the west coast based Navy hospital ship), free time, dinner, sleep.
Friday: Wake up, eat, tour the USS Bonhomme Richard (Amphibious Assault Ship), Airport, home.
As you may have imagined, Wednesday was generally uneventful, the other applicants on the trip and I met, ate, chatted etc. Nothing exciting, just getting comfortable with each other. Thursday however was a full, long day, but was a lot of fun. We met at the hotel lobby at 0630 and headed to the Medical Center to eat breakfast in the galley. After we finished eating we split off into our groups by discipline (Medical, Pharmacy, Nursing, Environmental Health etc.). I was the only pharmacy applicant on this trip so LT Wong took me to the pharmacy and showed me around. After spending about 20 minutes with him CDR Norton, Head of the pharmacy department, got me and gave me my first "interview" which was really more like a conversation than a formal interview. We spoke for about 45 minutes or so, talked about pharmacy life, finances, the Navy etc. He was very friendly and welcoming and encouraging. After the "interview" was done LCDR Hindman, assistant head of the pharmacy department, came in and the three of us chatted for a bit before she took me to a conference room and gave me my second such interview, wherein we chatted for about 30 or so minutes. In both cases they answered more of my questions than I answered theirs.
After the interviews were done I was handed off to LT Sagrado who showed me all of the various satellite pharmacies and answered more of my questions. All three of them were so friendly and helpful, LCDR Hindman told me to give Randi her contact info if she had any questions as she is not only an active duty pharmacist, but her husband is active duty as well; so she is also a Navy wife.
After the pharmacy specific activities were over we ate lunch and headed to the Mercy. The Mercy and the Comfort are two converted oil tankers that are now 1000 bed hospitals, that happen to be ships. They have 16 operating rooms, 15 receiving wards, etc. Huge and capable. The Mercy is stationed in San Diego and is deployed in even numbered years, while the Comfort is based out of Virginia and is currently deployed as it goes out during odd numbered years. (I took a picture which we will post, but don't tell anyone, I wasn't supposed to take the picture)
The rest of the day entailed an afternoon snack of In-N-Out and some time spent talking to one of the recruiters on the trip, then dinner in the historical Gas Lamp District of downtown San Diego.
Friday was another early day but was worth it. We toured the USS Bonhomme Richard (an homage to Ben Franklin), an amphibious assault vessel, one class smaller than an aircraft carrier. The combat purpose is to transport Marines and their supplies to beaches or other locations that need taking over and offering medical support for those Marines. The ship was a little over 850 feet in length and can support a number of different helicopters and Harrier jets. (Included will be a couple pictures from the flight deck) They don't typically take pharmacists on ships other than the Mercy and Comfort, but I might see if I could arrange a deployment one day if Randi promises not to kill me first. : )
I then was taken to the airport and began my travels home. It was a wonderful trip and I learned a lot about both the Navy and my desire to join. Which is to say that I'm sure that this is what I want for my life, our marriage and my career, at least initially. Thanks for reading, here's Randi.
Here are some pictures that Tim wanted me to share with you:
I know most of you are wanting to know if this means we have made a decision yet. Tim loved the trip and was incredibly impressed with everything, especially the job that he would have. If he could make a decision right now, he would choose yes. He can't make any final decisions until the fall though, so we are going to spend this time in prayer for God to continue to show us if this is His will or not. If you think of us, please pray also. We will be sure to let everyone know when we make the decision.