SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) – An alumni of Arcadia High School in Los Angeles is serving aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer, USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin A. Lam is a hospital corpsman aboard the forward-deployed ship, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and the second commissioned vessel of its name. The destroyer was named in honor of the naval service of both John S. McCain Sr. and his son John S. McCain Jr. whom both obtained the rank of admiral in the Navy.
Measuring 505 feet long, with a draft of 30.5 feet, and a beam reaching 67 feet, and with a complement of more than 260 Sailors, McCain is forward-deployed in Yokosuka, Japan, and currently underway on a routine patrol of the South China Sea.
For Lam, who has been in the Navy for almost four years and aboard the McCain for almost a year, being a hospital corpsman is of upmost importance.
“I love being a corpsman on McCain, because it gives me an opportunity to get to know everyone on the ship,” said Lam. “Being able to get to know the Sailors here allows me to work better with them.”
While deployed, Lam is the on-scene corpsman for every helicopter flight quarters evolution. He monitors the safety of all Sailors who help land and launch helicopters from the flight deck of the ship.
Lam is also responsible for making sure that Sailors aboard the McCain are up-to-date with their cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) qualifications by holding a certification course during the ship’s indoctrination course welcoming new Sailors aboard.
Along with his assigned job, Lam makes time to help with other duties around the ship.
“I was a part of the ship’s Combined Federal Campaign program, helping collect donations from the crew for various charities,” said Lam.
A hospital corpsman’s duty ranges from assisting in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury, physical examinations, patient care, and administering medicinals. They assist in the administrative, supply, and accounting procedures within medical departments ashore, afloat, and with the Marine Corps.
Lam says, while he is on board McCain, his biggest goal is maintaining safety standards for
each Sailor on the crew.
“I feel my biggest accomplishment is making sure our Sailors know how to provide first-aid
and how to react in case of real medical emergencies,” said Lam, right before proceeding to
teach a group of Sailors how to possibly save a life using CPR.
McCain, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, is on patrol in the South China Sea
supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.