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Woodland Park Native on front lines of U.S. Navy Coronavirus fight

By Rick Burke | Navy Office of Community Outreach

NAPLES, Italy – Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Devoy, a native of Woodland Park, Colorado, is playing a critical role in the U.S. Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a hospital corpsman working at the Naval Hospital in Naples, Italy, Devoy’s skills are vital to maintaining the health of the sailors in the Naples area, and by extension, the readiness of the Navy’s officer training commands of which they serve.

“The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic brought an invisible enemy to our shores and changed the way we operate as a Navy,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The fight against this virus is a tough one, but our sailors are tougher. We must harden our Navy by continuing to focus on the health and safety of our forces and our families. The health and safety of our sailors and their families is, and must continue to be, our number one priority.”

Devoy is a 2012 Woodland Park High School graduate. According to Devoy, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Woodland Park.

“I grew up with a strong sense of community and that has motivated me to want to participate and be present in this community,” Devoy said. “Here in Naples, we all have to support one another through these difficult times with COVID, not just our military community but also our Italian host nation partners. This pandemic affects us all and we have to fight it together.”

U.S. Navy Medicine is the most decorated career field in the Navy. Navy Hospital Corpsmen have earned 22 Medals of Honor, 179 Navy Crosses, 959 Silver Stars and more than 1,600 Bronze Stars. Twenty ships have been named in honor of corpsmen.

In its century of service, the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps has supported millions of sailors and Marines in wartime and peace around the world. As the years have progressed, technological innovations are transforming medical training for the next generation of hospital corpsmen, according to Navy officials.

“My fellow emergency room corpsmen and I are living in history right now as we face the pandemic, and I feel that we are contributing to the legacy of the Hospital Corps,” Devoy said. “Maybe one day, people will look back at us and how we responded to COVID-19 in Italy. It’s exciting to think that the work we’ve done and continue to do could help those that come after us.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Devoy, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition that dates back centuries. Their efforts, especially during this time of challenge brought on by the Coronavirus, will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who provide the Navy the nation needs.

“Now is when the world needs us most and we’re happy to rise to the occasion,” Devoy added. “We aren’t running away from the pandemic, we’ve come together to face it head on. I’m humbled to serve in the largest forward-deployed naval hospital in Europe.”

Woodland Park Native on front lines of U.S. Navy Coronavirus fight
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