USS NEW ORLEANS, At Sea - The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) earned its second consecutive Navy Surgeon General's Health Promotion and Wellness award, also known as the "Blue H" award, for excellence in health promotion programs, May 4.
The annual award is sponsored by the Navy Surgeon General and managed by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC).
"Earning an award like this validates all the hard work we do and recognizes the work we put into these programs," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Ulysses Dimapilis. "It's also not just me, it's a command involved effort, so we have other people that help out with some of our programs, like the command DAPA [Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor] and our safety training."
NMCPHC classifies the award into three categories: fleet, medical and semper fit center. Each category is ranked by three levels of performance: bronze anchor, silver eagle and gold star.
New Orleans was recognized with the highest level, a gold star in the fleet version for a ship in a non-medical command, one of only ten ships in the fleet to be so recognized.
The ship's Health Services department maintained and implemented a variety of physical enhancement and health education programs, such as conducting a "Biggest Loser" weight-loss competition, counseling and screening crew members for lifestyle and health risk factors, and holding smoking cessation classes.
Lt. Cmdr. Mike Ray, New Orleans executive officer, said he was proud of his medical staff and volunteers.
"This award signifies a continuous effort by our doctors and corpsmen to maintain the physical readiness of our crew," said Ray. "Everyone should be proud of this accomplishment because it shows that our health care on this ship rivals most commands in the Navy."
In addition to the Blue H, New Orleans was also recently awarded with the Battle "E" efficiency award as one of the top ships in the Pacific Fleet and in the fleet.
New Orleans is part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group that is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.