Medical Officer's Guide to the Navy


In the medical community, we arrive to the fleet as commissioned officers. In some cases, newly reporting physicians can have attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander, sometimes, even higher. Regardless of rank, our commission carries considerable responsibility and the automatic crew’s assumption of naval experience.

In some cases, this assumption is true. In other cases, however, many of us have never been deployed much less been aboard a ship. Some medical officers arrive to the fleet with only OIS as their navy experience. That experience could have occurred 8 or 9 years ago!

In medicine, we can find volumes of information detailing just about everything that effects the human body. However, very little is written to describe the intricacies of the navy for the medical officer.

The information contained herein is based on my experiences both as a new navy surgeon and as a prior line officer. It is an unofficial guide intended to introduce the direct accession medical officer or to refresh the memory of an old salt about life aboard a navy ship and in the navy, in general. It contains subjects such as medical special pays, reporting aboard, “navy moves”, etc…

This is NOT an official US Navy website. All information is unclassified. In compiling this information, I relied on lessons learned from personal experience, navy press published books, the internet, and fellow medical officers. References are listed at the end. I have included internet links where possible. Links off the website are colored and underlined.

Since I am a surgeon, I originally put this information together with the shipboard surgeon in mind. So, you will notice some topics are written with a surgical slant. However, I quickly realized this site could be useful for any medical officer. In order to make this site more encompassiong, I welcome input regarding GMO, PA, nursing, physical therapist, etc specific issues.

Please take a moment and sign my guestbook. If you provide an e-mail address, it will only be used to answer questions or to send e-mails regarding new content, etc...

Today is May 19, 2011.  It has been a while since the site was updated.  I am in the process of verifying and updating links.  Once finished, I will post the date everything was last validated.  All attempts to make the information as current and as accurate as possible were made.  If you find any errors, please contact me...

Due to the overwhelming spam my inbox has received, the guestbook has been deleted. 

Welcome aboard!

Carlos J. Rodriguez, DO
Trauma / Surgical Critical Care