SAN DIEGO - Medical and safety Sailors from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with volunteers from USS Essex (LHD 2) and the guided missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69), hosted a "Health and Wellness Fair," Dec. 5, for Sailors assigned to ships moored at Pier 13 aboard Naval Base San Diego.
The event was open to more than 2,000 Sailors and was designed to promote health and wellness by providing information on nutrition management, command fitness programs, men's and women's health, smoking cessation and stress management.
"The health fair is being conducted on an annual basis to help educate Sailors on useful information and programs that range from family services to mental health," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Crystal Carter, assigned to Makin Island's medical department. "It is important because the health fair gives you the additional tools and education for various situations."
More than a dozen booths and displays not only promoted overall health awareness, but provided Sailors with information on the benefits of TriCare, Military OneSource, the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, and the San Diego Fleet and Family Support Center.
Volunteers manning the booths handed out informational pamphlets and provided training on their specific topics and programs. A team of hospital corpsman was also available to take blood pressure readings and provide information on smoking cessation programs.
"We have a display that shows the difference between a smoker's artery and a non-smoker's artery, and a chewer's mouth display that shows what all can happen to your mouth if you smoke," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Karen Dainwood, a tobacco cessation program assistant at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Dainwood's booth also featured a glass jar which held approximately eight ounces of tar to show Sailors how much of the substance enters the human body after a year of smoking.
"We are promoting quitting tobacco," said Dainwood. "There are many alternatives to smoking tobacco, but it's healthier to just quit."
Both officers and enlisted personnel attended the event, which included a booth about health services available for Sailors leaving and returning from a deployment.
"I'm happy that the deployed services booth is here due to the unique service that they provide to people that have deployed", said Lt. Cmdr. Roy Hoffman, Makin Island's command chaplain. "There is great value in what deployment health does because they concentrate on what the service member needs when they get back from deployment."
Hoffman, who attended the event as a participant in addition to his role as a chaplain, said he signed up for the Senior Health Assessment Enterprise (SHAPE) program and hopes to begin following their diet and workout plan to improve his overall health.
The booth sponsored by the local commissary was a favorite for many Sailors because it not only provided information about the benefits of shopping at the commissary but also provided healthy fruit snacks including bananas, apples and oranges.
"My favorite booth was the commissary booth", said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Travis Clark, assigned to Essex. "I was able to grab a healthy snack which helps with my new diet."
Clark said he also found out some important information regarding his personal health while at the fair.
"I got my blood pressure checked and found I have high blood pressure", said Clark. "With this new information, I will now monitor what I eat, exercise more, and visit medical more often to make sure I'm maintaining a healthy blood pressure."
Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment prove the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.