U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class SonnyPaul Soriano almost didn’t make it into the Navy.
“I grew up in the Philippines and moved to San Jose, California, some time after college,” said Soriano, a 2003 graduate of Saint Louis University in Baguio City, Philippines. “I met my eventual recruiter the very first day I spent out of the house while processing my social security card.
“We reconnected nine months later when he saw me pushing carts at a grocery store. From then on, I didn’t let go and made sure that I was ready to work on my goal.”
Soriano’s Navy Medicine journey most recently resulted in his selection as Navy Medical Readiness Training Command Bremerton’s Sailor of the Quarter, an award presented to enlisted personnel who stand out from others in similar paygrades due to dedication to their responsibilities and professionalism. He was cited as an example of the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment, along with the command’s standards of character, competence and compassion.
Soriano has been with Navy Medicine for nine years, and has been the command’s Radiology Department leading petty officer for nearly a year.
“I was excited for the department and the Sailors within the department to be recognized for the work that they put in and the milestones they achieved along the way,” he said. “I couldn’t have done any of this without them.”
Soriano’s Navy Medicine journey started with that chance encounter with his recruiter, but his medical career really started while growing up in the Philippines.
“I didn’t have a military background, but I did have a passion to help people,” he said. “My first job was as a medical representative for a worldwide pharmaceutical company while in the Philippines. I was able to network with patients and doctors, and even had a chance to serve the community through those connections. Once I got to the United States, my goal was to be able to serve a greater purpose.”
Soriano said that ultimately, he wanted an opportunity to help people and a chance to better himself and his career for his family.
While his Navy Medicine career has him currently assigned to a military treatment facility in the Pacific Northwest, Soriano has seen duty on three different continents.
“I started in Aviation Medicine serving alongside Marines in an aviation squadron and have cared for Marines in other capacities as well,” said Soriano. “I’ve deployed to Iwakuni, Japan, and from there detached to the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Bahrain, as well as all over Japan.”
He said the coolest experience of his career so far happened on a mountain revered by United States Marines.
“I got to hike Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima with my whole squadron,” said Soriano, referencing the location of the Battle for Iwo Jima during World War II where nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines were killed and another 20,000 injured. “When we got to the top, I was pinned as a Fleet Marine Force Enlisted Warfare Specialist (FMF) and surprised with a Navy Achievement Medal for some emergency services I provided while in the Philippines a few months earlier. It was a great day.”
FMF pins are highly coveted in the hospital corpsman rating. It’s visible proof of not only a certain level of field medical training but also a level of training with Marines specifically.
“When I finally got that pin after working on it for more than a year, I finally felt as if I really belonged with those Marines,” said Soriano.
For much of 2020, Soriano has also done his share and more to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“In Radiology Department, we focus on imaging, such as X-rays, and assist in the overall diagnosis of COVID-19,” said Soriano. “We respect the requirements needed to help fight the spread of the pandemic, such as wearing face masks and adherent to a high level of personal hygiene. Pandemic or not, we have always been here to help Sailors and Marines be a ready medical force and a medically ready force. COVID has just made it so we must be even more vigilant to help achieve that goal.
“It all boils down to taking care of the department so we can take care of our patients. If one of us contracts the virus and we aren’t monitoring ourselves and each other vigilantly, the whole department could wind up quarantined. We owe it to ourselves, each other, and especially our patients to set and be the example.”
Soriano said Navy Medicine not only gave him the greater purpose he’d been looking for but also gave him the experience of a lifetime.
“Being here means belonging to a family,” he said. “Despite our differences, we all work hard toward a common goal of bettering ourselves and the world around us.”
|Date Posted:||10.07.2020 17:51|
|Location:||BREMERTON , WA, US|
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