HM2 James named Sailor of the Quarter, MAP appointed
By Douglas Stutz
Naval Hospital Bremerton/Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command
An idea forged and inspired by grandfatherly accomplishments is becoming a legacy on its own. Along with being named Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Bremerton Junior Sailor of the Quarter, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Kyra James, from the Navajo Reservation and small town of Querino, Arizona, was recently advanced to her current rate by the Navy’s Meritoriously Advancement Program.
The MAP allows commanding officers the opportunity to acknowledge sailors who have demonstrated they are ready for the next level of responsibility by advancing them in rate.
James was one of a select few chosen for the MAP and being recognized as Sailor of the Quarter further acknowledges her professionalism as a radiologic technologist.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted to serve like my grandfathers,” said James, a Sanders Valley High 2014 graduate. “Both served in the military. One was in the Army and the other was in the Marines.
“Nobody in my family had joined after them, so I always knew that I wanted to be the first,” she said. “After talking to a Navy recruiter, I got some reassurance from my parents and was put in the Delayed Entry Program for about nine months and started boot camp in 2015. James was drawn to a career in Navy medicine as a way to help others in need, along with furthering her own personal – and professional – growth.
“I have always been interested in medicine and felt like I could learn a lot, while making a difference,” explained James, who has just received her associates from Columbia College, Missouri.
Navy medicine has already taken her on a number of assignments in her six years, each providing the opportunity to train, develop and advance.
Her first duty station was across the Pacific at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. She then went to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, studying for half a year in the Navy’s Radiology C-school, followed by another seven months at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia.
“I have also spent time supporting the 1st Battalion Army Officer Candidate School, 196th Regiment, in South Dakota,” added James, a duty where she used her corpsman skills in support of annual U.S. Army field training exercises.
She has worked in a number of diverse medical areas, each predicated on helping keep active duty, retirees and their family members healthy.
At her first duty station, she began working in the Ambulatory Procedures Unit to aid in caring for patients in pre- and post-operative status. She was also the work center supervisor for the OB/GYN Department.
After completing radiology school in 2018, her focus shifted to that specialty.
“I have been working in the Radiology Department, and been the mammography administrative coordinator,” said James, equally busy in supporting her colleagues as the current president of the command’s Junior Enlisted Association and Sailors Against Sexual Harassment and Assault committee.
Her selection as Junior Sailor of the Quarter encompassed all her proficiency on the job, as well as volunteer work.
“This achievement means a lot and I am extremely honored to be chosen,” James said. “I am beyond grateful that I was able to represent the JEA, the SASHA committee, my directorate, my department, and my family.
“To be selected means a lot,” she said. “It means that my dedication and hard work towards the mission was noticed and rewarded. I just hope I can be a role model to any relatives who are thinking about joining.”
James notes that her career to date has been fulfilling, yet the one aspect that has proven to be more rewarding than others is her commitment to helping others.
“Being part of here means putting service before self and being able to help others,” she said. “The most gratifying aspect of my career would have to be paying forward whatever I learn. Every Navy career is not the same. Each sailor has a different experience. I try my best to help my peers in any way I can.”
Although more than half of the approximately 24,000 Native Americans serving in the military are in the Navy, they represent just a fraction of the total force of 1.2 million.
Add into the equation of being a female, and that percentage drops even further.
“I think the most difficult aspect of my career would have to be the challenges I have faced being a Navajo woman in the military because I don’t have a lot of people I can relate to,” said James.
“At times, it can be difficult being the only one from your ethnicity,” she said. “But I have been able to overcome that challenge by having a great support system.”
Over the 18 months, the added emphasis needed to eliminate the pandemic has had James and the rest of the Radiology Department performing well beyond their normal duties.
“Working in radiology, we help stop the spread of COVID-19 by performing diagnostic imaging,” said James, noting that her position and that of her department is essential in providing patient care.
“Radiology is an integral part of providing support to others in need,” she said. “The diagnostic imaging gives providers the ability to see and understand what’s going on inside the body. A broken bone or a disease can be diagnosed and then treated.”
“My department and I have worked hard to complete all diagnostic imaging and procedures,” she said. “Like many other jobs, we were essential and had to remain flexible.
“Each modality is important,” she said. “We perform X-rays, fluoroscopies, CT’s, ultrasounds, MRI’s, and mammograms. Our duty is to help ensure that each active-duty member and their family members are well taken care of.”
When asked to sum up her Navy medicine experience in one sentence, James replied, “Working in Navy medicine has taught me to never stop learning and to always overcome any challenge.”
Just like her grandfathers.