- A hospital corpsman was recognized with the Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) of the Year Award aboard USS Higgins (DDG 76) Nov. 21.
Vice Adm. Tom Copeman, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, presented Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/FMF) Matthew Bauer with the award for his substantial contributions toward improving the medical health of Sailors throughout his career.
IDC's are hospital corpsmen (HMs) who have undergone additional training in order to acquire more specialized skills.
This training allows them to operate autonomously and to provide more advanced care to Sailors. There are many IDC's throughout the Navy, but on this day, Copeman recognized Bauer's efforts as being exemplary.
Bauer joined the Navy with an earnest desire to provide quality care for his comrades. He distinguished himself in various assignments ranging from assisting Sailors at Naval Medical Center San Diego; Naval Health Care-New England; and aboard the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), to caring for Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He attributes his experiences in Iraq as having significantly reinforced his passion to provide the best quality treatment for military personnel. Both his shipmates and his chain of command agree that Bauer exceeded his aspirations.
"Bauer is by far the best corpsman I've ever seen in my 15 years in the Navy" said Chief Quartermaster (SW) Jerry Tredo, USS Higgins Administrative department leading chief petty officer.
Immediately upon checking aboard Higgins, Bauer faced the difficult task of preparing for the Unit Level Training Assessment - Sustainment (ULTRA-S) inspection. With less than three weeks to prepare, Bauer and his team of junior corpsmen spent many hours training the duty sections to increase the emergency medical proficiency of the crew members.
Under Bauer's leadership, they also reviewed the material condition of all their medical equipment and fixed more than 100 space discrepancies. His team's hard work not only directly contributed to Higgins passing their ULTRA-S inspection, but also helped the Medical Department to achieve a score of 97.3 percent on its Inspection and Survey (INSURV).
"Bauer utilized all his resources to gather the supplies necessary to pass the inspection. Through his diligence and leadership our ship was in a full medical readiness status in time for INSURV and deployment," said USS Higgins Combat Systems Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Megan Grubbs.
Apart from his sound treatment, keen administration, and charismatic leadership, what really sets Bauer apart is his ability to genuinely listen to his patients. As a result, many see Bauer as a life coach and mentor. Beyond just conveying their medical concerns, many also confide in him about the issues of life and find that he has much wisdom to offer.
"I have worked with Bauer for the past three years, and he is not just a great corpsman, he is a great leader. Whether you come to him with a medical concern or a personal concern, he always makes time for you," said Tredo. "He will not turn you away, and he will make sure he finds the right answer for you."
While proud of his award, Bauer is most proud of the progress he has seen in his junior Sailors.
"Empowering my junior corpsmen to do well and to succeed on their own is the most rewarding part of my job," said Bauer. "I encourage them to excel professionally and personally, and urge them to do one thing each day to better themselves."
The trophy serves to honor his superlative service and influence, and to memorialize his achievements as a model for junior Sailors to follow.
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