MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga --
Petty Officer 1st Class Dewel Jamerson, hospital corpsman, Naval Branch Health Clinic, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, knows that a military career based on hard work and a good attitude pays off. But his journey into military service almost didn’t begin with the Navy.
“I first thought about the Air Force. I have an uncle who’s a colonel right now at Warner Robins Air Force Base, and when I saw him, he was in uniform and had money. I was in Air Force ROTC and decided I wanted to go Army, but when I went to the Military Entrance Processing Station, they didn’t give me what I wanted. Then the Navy recruiter called me and I talked to him and left three days later,” explained Jamerson, a native of Winona, Miss., who is married and has four children.
Since entering the Navy at age 19, he’s been stationed abroad and made Western Pacific and Caribbean deployments. Since arriving at the Naval Branch Health Clinic at MCLB Albany in 2005, he’s earned top honors, at several levels, for his job performance.
Jamerson was named Senior Sailor of the Year for the Naval Branch Health Clinic, MCLB Albany, and that put him in the running for Senior Sailor of the Year for Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I competed against people from seven other branch clinics throughout the Southeast region, and was selected. Then, I competed for Sailor of the Year at the hospital, where the hospital’s winner competed against the branch winner, and I won that,” he explained.
The next competition was Navy Medical East where competitors came from each Naval hospital on the east coast, 17 total, and that included several overseas hospitals in Spain and Italy.
While he was a top contender at that level, he wasn’t selected.
“I’m really happy with the competition, it was a great opportunity to compete against some great sailors,” said Jamerson, who has 15 years of Navy service.
To compete for Sailor of the Year honors, he appeared before a board at each level of the competition.
He began his career as an undesignated seaman, then he became Petty Officer 3rd Class, and then a dental technician, then the dental technician and hospital corpsman career fields merged in 2000.
His first duty station was in San Diego, Calif., aboard the destroyer USS Waddell. Then he moved to the guided missile cruiser USS England and then to the USS Cleveland.
“Life aboard ship for cruises wasn’t bad,” he said when asked his opinion of shipboard life.
One person who has been important to Jamerson’s career while he’s been here is Senior Chief Petty Officer Robert Loomis, senior enlisted leader, Naval Branch Health Clinic, MCLB Albany.
“My main goal is to mentor, guide and develop these guys and get them wearing khakis and running their own units,” Loomis said about his position.
Loomis is also the principal advisor at the branch clinic for enlisted matters.
When asked what traits made Jamerson successful, Loomis said hard work is always the big thing, plus honor, integrity, and a genuine concern for helping the junior sailors along.
“When you compete at the Naval Medicine East level, they’re looking for someone who’s ready to wear anchors and be a leader and be a chief. So, they’re going to focus more on the big Navy picture. They’ll be looking for people who are ready to quit thinking about themselves and think about the sailors, about the Navy, our policies and procedures,” he added.
“So the questions they ask aren’t like ‘who’s the CNO (chief of naval operations), but something like if you were CO (commanding officer) for a day, how would you improve educational opportunities, how would you improve advancement, that kind of stuff.”
Loomis has the same advice for sailors, something he says he tells them everyday.
“They hear that from me everyday. I have an open door policy, I talk to them all the time and say to apply themselves and not be selfish and do things for others, apply yourself toward the goal,” he explained.
“The Marine Corps, the Navy, it’s no longer where you are, you’re part of a family and you’re going to take care of your brothers and sisters without thinking what am I going to get in return. You’ll get returns. That’s the way it always ends up,” said Loomis who has 22 years in the Navy, three years at MCLB Albany.
His career has given him time to assess human nature and see how things have changed over the years.
“Years ago, the Navy had a lot of sailors and it was easy for someone to sit back and do nothing, but you can’t do that these days. You need the people who are going to step up and work. The people who are just coasting their way through will find their way home,” he said.
He cited Jamerson’s work as an example of how sailors can stand out and reach for leadership positions.
“We look at what the sailor did for the Navy in the previous year and one thing you look at is the fact HM1 Jamerson volunteered for a six- month deployment to Kuwait with the Theater Medical Clinic System. Members of all the services go through it on their way into the Iraqi theater of operations and on their way back out of it. But he didn’t go over there and just do his time. He set an example and was representative of the clinic here and the Naval Hospital,” said Loomis. “When he came back, he didn’t stop working hard, and that’s what got him selected,” he added.
When asked about his work in Kuwait, Jamerson compared it to stateside work.
“It was the same kind of work I do here, but on a bigger scale,” he added.
As for his career plans, Jamerson wants to complete his Navy career.
“The Navy’s been good to me, I’ll be here for at least 20 years,” he said.