MARINETTE, Wis. (Dec. 18, 2013) The littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Milwaukee (LCS 5) slides into Lake Michigan during a christening ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)
Continuing the Hospital Corpsman Legacy aboard LCS

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Renee Hotchkiss was named the 2016 Surface Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) of the Year by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, June 13.

Hotchkiss is assigned to Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Crew 108 currently on USS Milwaukee (LCS 5). As an IDC she is the sole medical care provider for Milwaukee’s crew, performing the same functions as a medical officer on larger ships.

According to Hotchkiss, the training she received as a third class petty officer aboard USS Carney (DDG 64) was influential in giving her the tools that she now uses to successfully conduct her duties. She attributes her winning the award to the support she has received from her chain of command and mentorship she received as a junior Sailor.

“I owe a great deal of my success to people like Chief Hospital Corpsman (HMC) Kathleen Pierce, HMC Raymond Howard, HMC Louis Bismonte, and Master Chief Edna Torres,” said Hotchkiss. “I could go on and on, really, because just likes it takes a village to raise a child, it took [many people] to mold me into a sailor, a leader and an IDC.”

Though being an IDC is independent in nature, Hotchkiss made it clear that, “you cannot succeed as an IDC without the help of the community as a whole.”

Mentorship may have instilled her with the confidence that she now carries as an IDC but the key to her success goes beyond just being a good corpsman, she is also an underway watch stander on board Milwaukee.

Hotchkiss stands Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) underway; this watchstation requires an understanding of navigation as she is the direct supporter of the Officer of the Deck. As a JOOD on board LCS class ships, she is one of three primary watchstanders on the bridge responsible for managing the ship’s navigational picture.

In receiving this award, Hotchkiss said she feels a great deal of satisfaction in being a part of the hospital corpsman rate.

“I am proud to be a part of the largest and most decorated rate in the Navy, just like every corpsman is, and when I think about the sacrifices that corpsman have made over the last 118 years, it’s hard not to come to work every day and do my part to hold that legacy up,” said Hotchkiss.

“I know the IDC of the year award could have easily gone to anyone of my counterparts in the IDC community because you can pull any IDC, on any ship, on any waterfront and I guarantee they are doing just as much, working just as hard and even when times get tough they still do their job with pride. It's just what we do as IDC's,” she explained.

The Navy's Hospital Corps contains more than 30,000 active-duty and reserve Navy hospital corpsmen. Hospital Corpsmen provide medical care to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps worldwide and in a variety of environments, both in peace and wartime.

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