Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | March 25, 2022

Navy Medical Readiness and Training Unit Atsugi Continues to Provide Care during Pandemic

By Gregory Mitchell

ATSUGI, Japan -- After two years, the coronavirus pandemic continues to maintain a presence throughout the entire world. According to the World Health Organization, to date, countries have reported more than 376 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, to include more than five million COVID-19 deaths (5,666,064 deaths), while over 9.9 billion vaccine doses having been administered.

The impact that the pandemic has had on the world’s health care system has been dramatic; long hours, fatigue, lack of proper PPE and resources to include short staffing are just some of the contributing factors illustrating the global reach of the virus.

The Naval Medical Readiness and Training Unit (NMRTU) onboard Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi provides primary health services, dental services and flight medicine to approximately 30 commands and activities stationed aboard the installation. Even though health care is provided to a significantly smaller demographic than a metropolitan area, it still poses its own challenges.

“NMRTU Atsugi is experiencing many of the same obstacles that health care facilities in the states and around the world is facing,” said Cmdr. William Bennet, NMRTU Atsugi Officer in Charge. “In spite of all this, I am proud to say that we have still been able to sustain all of our services during the pandemic.”

Health care at NMRTU is limited to primary medical and dental care which also includes routine obstetrics services, but deliveries are performed at U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka. For those who seek specialty care, they are usually referred to USNH Yokosuka, though some may be referred to local Japanese health providers.

“The only service that was affected for two weeks was appointments for dependent routine dental care,” said Bennett. “At the spike of this latest wave of COVID, we utilized a portion of our dental staff to conduct tracing. Active duty and emergent dental care was still available for all eligible beneficiaries and we were able to keep Primary Care open for routine appointments.”

NMRTU serves a customer base of approximately 5,100 eligible beneficiaries. This number does not include the clinic’s must-see patients, which consist of veterans, contractors, and un-enrolled eligible.

With these categories, it is estimated to add about 1,500 additional beneficiaries.

Despite minimal manning availability, Bennett believes that staff members have still been able to perform their duties in a proficient and professional manner.

Staff members, which consist primarily of hospital corpsmen have been cross trained in multiple disciplines which has allowed the clinic to continue offering all services while manning a daily COVID operation consisting of ROM testing, pre-travel testing, exit ROM, and so forth.

“This has resulted in longer work days and added stress on many of our staff members,” said Bennett. “We were essentially given a new mission with existing and limited resources to execute a plan as it pertains to COVID.”

He continued on.

“The pandemic has forced us to change our staffing models so we can continue to provide care to our population. We never closed our doors or stopped providing healthcare at any point during the pandemic. It was important to us that we continue to take care of everyone onboard NAF Atsugi while combating COVID.”

Staff members shared his sentiments.

“My corpsman training has helped me tremendously while stationed here at the clinic during the pandemic,” said Hospital Corpsman Genesis Santiago. “I enjoy my job and I feel that if I enjoy my job, it means that I am happy at what I am doing. When I think about this from a teammate and a customer perspective, even though it has been challenging for us all while going through this pandemic, I just encourage everyone to just take it one day at a time.”

Like Us
Follow Us



USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launch
May 24, 2022 - CAMP H.M, SMITH, Hawaii -- We are aware of the multiple DPRK ballistic missile launches today and are assessing and consulting closely with our allies and partners. While this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S...

U.S. Navy Formally Hands Over Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy
Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative:  U.S. Navy Formally Hands Over Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy
May 24, 2022 - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Thailand -- Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas presided over a ceremony to officially hand over the RQ-21A Unmanned Aircraft System to the Royal Thai Navy on May 24. The RQ-21A...

White House Statement & Fact Sheet on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity
Statement on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity
May 24, 2022 - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Australia -- We, the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam of the...

Ebeye Elementary School Students Visit Majuro with Atoll Community Support
Chaperones and fifth-grade students from Ebeye Public Elementary School stand for a photo with members of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Nitijela during their March Spring Break trip to the national capitol of the RMI.
May 24, 2022 - Republic of the Marshall Islands -- Students in the fifth grade at Ebeye Public Elementary School made an educational trip to Majuro in March 2022 with special assistance from the Ebeye, Majuro and Kwajalein communities.The...

U.S. Donates Vehicles to Support Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ Peacekeeping Efforts
United States Donates Vehicles to Support Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ Peacekeeping Efforts & these vehicles will be used to help prepare for future missions.
May 24, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in the Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- Yesterday the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Tony Greubel donated four vehicles worth approximately FJ$487,000 (US $224,000) to the Government of Fiji in a...