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Beyond The Walls: Walter Reed Bethesda Supports National Special Security Events


By Megan Garcia

WRNMMC Public Affairs

In conjunction with the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Walter Reed Bethesda provides medical support, in the form of advanced trauma life support teams or advanced cardiac life support teams, to national special security events throughout the National Capital Region.

These events include presidential inaugurations and inaugural events, State of the Union addresses, Memorial Day events at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, state funerals and any other events that have a large government presence with expected high-risk security concerns.
One team can consists of between five to 12 people, which entail one to two providers, one to two registered nurses, a senior enlisted advisor and medical specialists or corpsman.
Most recently, approximately five teams from WRB supported the 2017 Presidential Inauguration with the main focus of supporting the military personnel involved with medical care should any emergencies arise.  
“It went pretty smoothly,” said Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) David Eigner, a pediatric doctor and the NSSE medical director of WRB. “There was a lot of coordination with other organizations because the inauguration is basically run by the Secret Service and The Department of Homeland Security. The medical care was pretty simple. It’s just coordinating and learning how you fit into a multi-agency picture.”
Eigner said there were eight tents along the inauguration route and each team worked out of the various tents.
He added overall he was proud of the way everyone adapted and overcame the various changes that came with such a large, historic event.
“Walter Reed does a lot of great things to support our government’s function, and we’re proud to do that, and we’re proud to do this on top of everything else we do. It’s one of the things that makes us different,” Eigner said. 
Army Sgt. 1st Class Brandy Navarijo, the senior enlisted leader for medical nursing services for the department of nursing and a team leader for the NSSE, has participated in seven national special security events, and she also participated in this year’s inauguration.
“To be in the military, you’re serving your country regardless, but to be out there doing events, to be able to say you are a part of history, I feel like I’m really giving back,” Navarijo said.
Navarijo added everyone who’s involved in these types of events are always enthusiastic and excited to provide support.
Behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly, Navy Lt. Thomas Vaughn, the department chief for operations management, also assist with NSSE operational and administrative functions.
Vaughn, who maintains the team roster, helps to determine the types of teams and the number of teams to send out to the different events.  He also works with the emergency management department, the information technology department and logistics to ensure the teams have everything they need such as medical aid kits, communications devices and vehicles.
Although he hasn’t participated in any events himself, he ensures he attends all of the rehearsals in order to help prepare the teams, and like Navarijo and Eigner, Vaughn agrees it’s a special part of Walter Reed Bethesda’s mission.
“I think it’s just great,” Vaughn said. “It’s history. It’s just an amazing thing to be a part of.”