Maryalice Morro, US Navy (Transcript)

Interview with Maryalice Morro, U.S. Navy

Name: Maryalice Morro

Military Branch & Rank: US Navy, Captain

Dates of Service: August 1983 – September 2012

Villanova Degree: B.S., Nursing, 1983

Date of Interview: March 12, 2019

Interviewer: Michael D. Brown

Audio Producer: Laura Bang

Interview Length: 46 minutes

Transcribed by: Keith M. Mathews

Edited and annotated by: Laura Bang

URL for Audio:



INTRO (MICHAEL D. BROWN): [Music playing in background.] Thank you for joining us today. My name is Michael Brown and we are here today at Villanova University recording another installment of the Voices of Villanova’s Veterans. [Music stops playing.]

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Hello. Welcome to the Voices of Villanova’s Veterans. My name is Mike Brown and I’ll – today I’ll be interviewing Maryalice Morrow? Morro, sorry. Uh, Maryalice served in the United States Navy and, uh, today we’re going to listen to her story, and she’ll be telling us all about those times she spent, uh, thirty years? Plus?

Maryalice Morro: Twenty-nine.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Twenty-nine years in the United States Navy. So, welcome, thank you for joining us, and, uh, so let’s – let’s begin!


MICHAEL D. BROWN: So Maryalice, where are you from originally?

MARYALICE MORRO: I was born and raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Not too far away. And, a few years ago…

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Well, great! And what, what was your childhood like? Do you have a lot of brothers and sisters?

MARYALICE MORRO: I do. I’m one of six children, the second oldest. The oldest is a, a boy. And then myself and then four girls after me. So, um, I was probably born to give orders and gave orders most of my life to my sisters, so I fit into the military quite well eventually. Uh, my older brother went to the University of Penn. on an ROTC[1] scholarship. And he was a year ahead of me during – and, uh, when he graduated, he went off to Pensacola[2] to flight school. And during my senior year here at Villanova, I, uh, had an invitation to do a recruiting trip to Pensacola, Florida, uh, over spring break – and it was $10 for the lunch, and that was about it. And so they flew us from Willow Grove down to Pensacola – so I gathered my girlfriends and we all decided we were highly interested in a Navy career – not really, um, but it was a free trip to visit my brother and his friends. And so, off we went, and we had a marvelous time in Pensacola. Um, I remember the tour of the naval hospital – and, uh, I think that hospital was probably built in the early ’70s – and sort of turning my nose up at it because the people that met us were women in khakis and I thought that the uniform was highly unattractive and they had very short hair and I was like [ew][3] this is not for me. And I worked my whole, uh, time through Villanova as a ward clerk at Lankenau[4]. Lankenau is a big bright beautiful hospital, always repainting and redoing things. So, sort of my benchmark was this big open beautiful hospital and then the smaller naval hospital that I compared – uh, ironically, I ended up commanding that hospital twenty-some years later. So, life is full of twists and turns. Um, but anyway, on the way back – on the flight back, and I really had no interest whatsoever in the Navy – um, the recruiter started talking about all the travelling – you know, she flew here, she just turns up at air force bases and can sign up and get on a plane and go there. And I thought, “hmmm, that sounds fun.” And I commuted as a – as a college student here. I just, um, lived close by and so I was a commuter student and just sort of looking for something that was a little different and exciting and thought, “I’m gonna join the Navy.” And so, of the four of us that went, two of us ended up joining – one of my best friends that I grew up with, so we were able to join on the buddy system, which guaranteed us our first assignment together. And so, I thought my father would aspirate his dinner when I announced that evening that I was going to join the navy ‘cause he didn’t think I’d last very long – and he was probably right. And I barely did last through my first couple of years. So anyway, I had a direct commission after I graduated from Villanova and waited until, I think, August where I had to go off to…

MICHAEL D. BROWN: And what year was this?



MARYALICE MORRO: Yeah. So, um, yeah, so I spent the summer in Avalon[5], as I did most summers, and then went up to Newport[6] for Officer Indoctrination School which is where they kind of train you how to be an officer and try to make you somewhat military. [Laughter]

MICHAEL D. BROWN: What was that training like?

MARYALICE MORRO: So, it was six weeks and they called it, affectionately back then, “knife-and-fork school.” And it was in the days where you could go out every night so it – we were a large class. There was about two-hundred-and-some of us. And we are doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers – people that comprised the Staff Corps of the United States Navy[7], the support not the war fighters – and, already had a discipline. And so, we were – we were directly commissioned, we didn’t have to go to, uh, Officer Candidate School or anything like that. By virtue of our profession, we were able to have a direct commissioning. And so, um, you know at first – it’s really military traditions, what the Navy’s like; you had to learn how to put the uniform on, how to put all the devices on, how to salute, how to march, how to exercise, um, and so, it was – it was a lot of that. And I remember, uh, the first two weeks we had to run a half a mile every morning, then the next two weeks a mile, then the last two weeks up to the mile-and-a-half and then you’re tested, as you knew you would be twice a year, um, since then every year of your service. And so, I decided I guess I’d better become a runner because this is miserable. So, the interesting thing that happened while I was in Officer Indoctrination School – O.I.S. – was the America’s Cup[8] was still going on, and it was the last time the America’s Cup was held in Newport – they lost the trophy that year to Australia. The name of the boat was Australia II.[9] And myself and my friends went and found the Australians the night they won and spent the night with them partying, uh, and barely made it back to class the next day. Um, I think, uh, from, you know, friends and folks I’ve served with since then Officer Indoctrination School is now, I think, “Officer Development School”[10] and it’s much stricter. And they have enlisted kind of helping to shape you a little bit more – into a little bit more of a military being than during my year, which was perfect – because I wasn’t very good at the rules. Um, and so, and then I was stationed at Bethesda[11] was my – Bethesda Naval Hospital[12] was my first duty station and my girlfriend and I went to OIS together, went to new- um, Bethesda together, and started our careers as nurses. So..

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, you get to Bethesda. It’s still – what year is this now? ’83?

MARYALICE MORRO: Yep. ’83. The fall of ’83. Yep. And I’m assigned to an orthopedic inpatient surgical unit, which I loved. It was perfect. Uh, I did that for two years and went over to the recovery room and was considered a little bit more of a critical care, uh, experience. And I only signed up for three years and so I thought, uh, I think I’d like to live in Europe [chuckle] as my time at Bethesda was ending. And I, I have to, I have to say my first two years I was a terrible officer. I really did not like the rules, modified the uniform to suit my needs, I was one of those people that just was a pain in the neck. I did fine as a nurse, but I was not a very good [sniff] officer. And so, I struggled and was in trouble a lot. And, uh, one of my, um, sort of mid-level managers about two – two or three years into my career kind of noticed my energy and helped channel it in a more appropriate direction. And, in those days, women could not be on ships, couldn’t be on combatants, couldn’t be forward with the Marines, um, fortunately we were at peace, uh, but part of, you know, serving in uniform you kind of want to be where the action is. And, uh, I had the opportunity to train and support an exercise that happens every three years called Operation Bright Star[13] that is a multi-national exercise in the Sahara Desert. And, um, this, this woman selected me, I found out years later, strictly for my, um, positive outlook on life, and it’s a drudgery and its hard and, you know, you go out there and you build a hospital and you live in tents and it’s a-hundred-and-twenty degrees and it, uh, you know, people don’t necessarily cope well with that, and so she thought I would be an excellent source of entertainment for those people and, and keep the morale up, so that’s why she chose me. And she didn’t tell me that ‘til she came back, but it was the turning point in me and starting to play the game and abide by the rules and be a better officer than just a troublemaker. So, I did that, and I loved it. Um, and then, uh, was negotiating to get a second set of orders, uh, to, you know, stay a little bit longer and, uh, managed to get orders to Spain, as did my girlfriend who I signed up with. She ended up going there, um, about almost a year ahead of me. I stayed at Bethesda a fourth year to, to be able to go to Spain. And I went off to Rota, Spain. [Sigh] Twenty-five years old. What – what a fabulous couple of years that was! Southern Spain – it’s absolutely beautiful. Small little hospital, did a little bit of everything. I mean, you – you’re sort of, you know, my – four years into my nursing career and you’re at the top of your game with, with your skills as a nurse, and I loved the emergency room and we saw some interesting cases and tragic cases come through there. Had to learn how to deliver a baby, how to – how to do everything. You, you’re small, you’re overseas – anything can happen to you. And, uh, in the late ‘80s, southern Spain healthcare wasn’t what we would expect from a U.S. standpoint, so, did lot of medevacs[14]. So, if there was something that we couldn’t handle in our hospital, had to go to Germany, instead of the local hospitals, which is much, much different than it is today – or than it was back then. It is today very excellent care now in southern Spain and southern Europe, all of Europe, most of the world. Um, so I got to do lots of medevacs, and I also got to put together the space shuttle support teams[15]. So, imagine when the space shuttle launches – or when it launched, they stopped the thing – Challenger exploded in ’87.[16] I was still at Bethesda. Later that year, they re-launched the program[17], and, um, I think it was ’87, but… We were part of a group that went to an Air Force base just about uh, an hour, sort of, north of where our Air Base was, and it was a Spanish Air Force base, it had a runway that went on forever and a big metal net at the end of it. Um, and if the space shuttle could not reach orbit, it was allegedly gonna come around and land in Ro– in, in this Morón Air Force Base[18], or in a place called Ben Guerir[19], Africa, or if – depending on where it was in its trajectory of launch, eventually at Edwards[20] if it was high enough in the launch – 8 minutes to get into orbit. So, this was if it couldn’t, for whatever reason, make it into orbit. So, I don’t know, we probably supported ten, twelve, shuttle launches. And we sat there in our ambulance with a backboard and a jump-bag and two units of blood per astronaut and waited for it to launch and, you know, there’s the bio-chem people and the fire people and the, you know, all these people should this shuttle launch with a very heavy payload and arrest itself in the metal net at the end of the runway. There we were to take care of them if they got hurt, fortunately it never landed. So that was a really fun thing I got to do, in addition to enjoying Europe and working there. And so, um, dur- I also had my record pulled to be considered for the White House nurse job during my Spain years. So, they flew me back to Washington to interview for the White House nurse position, um, and it was, um, Bush 41[21] was in office at the time.  And, what an honor to be chosen for that, and I remember I flew in to D.C. and, um, I had to wear white for the interview, and I’m signing in and the Marines that are the guards at the White House gate that I was told to go through – I’m signing my name, and he’s like, “Man, I don’t know that you’re allowed to wear that many bracelets.” I must have had, like, ten gold bracelets on [chuckle] and the wrong earrings, so I’m busily taking off all my bracelets – he put them in his pocket and kept them for me, for my entire interview. I still hadn’t gotten military bearing a-hundred percent correct. Um, but needless to say, I did not get chosen for the White House. I think I was a little too much of a wild card, but it was fun to be considered. And it was a very exciting experience. I did meet Mrs. Bush[22] during the interview. And, um, uh, it, it’s a fascinating place. So, instead, I went to the Naval Academy[23], um, as, as a third tour of duty. Signed up for another couple of years. And I chose, at that time, a free-standing clinic. I was tired of shifts. Even though I loved the emergency room, I didn’t like working nights, I didn’t like working weekends. And so, I wanted a stand-alone clinic, ‘cause it’s Monday through Friday. And the Naval academy was one of the few places that was not attached to a hospital, and so I knew I would be out-patient care. And I managed to get it. Um, and during those years I became a – they encourage all staff and faculty to get involved in midshipmen activities and a friend of mine had told me to get involved in the sailing program. And so, I ended up being an off-shore skipper for their sail training program, uh, in the Chesapeake Bay, and it took a year of my life after work every day to learn how to sail, learn how to break down and put back together every single thing on that boat – the winch, the, the head, the engine, um, and, uh, ‘cause, you know, then we, then in the summer we would take two, two adults and eight midshipmen out into the Atlantic and we would sail to Bermuda or to Newport or to Charleston[24] or wherever they happened to go. Um, the first year I did it was – we were out for four weeks. And, um, with a couple of port-calls, and as each year went by, it got a little bit shorter. They kept adding a cruise-block. The midshipmen had to do this between their freshman and sophomore year – it was their seamanship-and-navigation training, um, requirement in the summer between their first and second year. They could do it on a sailboat, they could do it on a yard-patrol, little mini baby grey ship. So, I provided the adult supervision, and then you had the opportunity to take and pass a very difficult test and they gave – they gave you the “Craftmaster”[25] designation, which people that were in command of a, I think, ships sixty feet or less, so I was extremely proud of that. Um, and it was, I would say, in all the things I have done over my life, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done, um, because the sole responsibility of these young men and women on this little forty-four feet of space in the rolling, pitching Atlantic was mine. And, after the first one I did on my own, where I was the senior person, I’m like, “Wow, I did it. Nothing happened. [Chuckle] I’m so excited.” Um, ‘cause you never know the we-, what weather will be sent your way or what can happen or what can break. The beauty of sailing with midshipmen, is they’re engineers and they can fix anything. And they broke everything, and they fixed everything so…

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, it sounds like at this point in your time in the military you’ve gone from Bethesda to Spain to the Naval Academy…

MARYALICE MORRO: Right, to the Naval Academy. Yeah…

MICHAEL D. BROWN: …to the White House. Your recruiter was being honest with you when she sometimes…

MARYALICE MORRO: Yes! She absolutely was! Not to mention when I lived in Spain I can’t tell you how many times my brother – ended up being an engineer, not a pilot, um, he was stationed in Naples[26] when I was stationed in Spain, so I just jumped on the medevac flight that, on a space-available basis, and went back-and-forth to Italy I don’t know how many times. Dated a guy that was a pilot – went back-and-forth to Greece all the time, so there was, uh, all sorts of opportunities to just travel, and travel we did. Yeah… I came back with a lot of debt and a lot of postcards. [Laughter.]

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Well, it sounds like you had a great time.

MARYALICE MORRO: Oh, I absolutely did.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: And at this point, are you thinking, you know, “this is gonna be my career – this is my life”?

MARYALICE MORRO: Good question! No! At this point I’m thinking, “I’m done.” I was ten years in. Um, you know, and when I finished my three years at the Naval Academy had own- bought my first house there, had a great, um, group of friends, and, you know, support – my family’s just a couple hours away in Philadelphia. And I loved Annapolis, and I was happy to stay there forever. Um, and then, of course, the graduate school conversation comes up, and, uh, my senior nurse, um, was very adamant that I re-re-, you know, apply to be selected for graduate school. And I really had no desire whatsoever to go to school, um, or stay in the Navy, but I did it anyway just to get her off my back, and of course, I’m selected, and I’m like, “Oh no.” So, to do graduate school, it’s a free two years, completely all expenses paid, you’re still your rank and salary, so you get paid, and your job is to go to school and get your master’s degree.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: And what, at this point, what rank are you?

MARYALICE MORRO: I am still a senior, I’m a senior lieutenant at this time.


MARYALICE MORRO: Um, and, uh, it’s, and then it’s a four-year pay-back. So, it’s, uh, you’re looking at another six years, committing for six years, which puts you at sixteen, which, you know, you’re gonna do twenty. So, it was a decision of staying or going, and I could not come up with a legitimate reason not to accept graduate school. So, with that acceptance and commitment, I knew I would- I was in it for the long run. And so, um, I made Lieutenant Commander that summer, right before school started. And I- And this was a, you know, life throws you curveballs and a great big huge dose of humble pie; I was moonlighting at Baltimore Shock Trauma[27] in their emergency room while I worked, while I was stationed at the Naval Academy to keep up my emergency room skills, and I wanted- I was- the Navy wanted me to get my Master’s in community health, and that’s what they picked me for, but I, you know, when you’re a grad student you can double-major or do whatever you want – they’re paying your way, you just can’t work. And, um, and so I wanted to go to Maryland[28] and, and get a dual-degree – get my master’s in emergency nursing as well. And I didn’t make – they wouldn’t accept me [chuckle] because my undergrad GPA was too low. And even though it was ten years before and I’m on the phone with the Dean, “What do you mean you won’t accept me? I went to Villanova for God’s sakes!” She goes, “Well your undergraduate GPA was less than impressive.” So what? That was ten years ago! They would not budge. So, um, I couldn’t move. The Navy wasn’t moving me. So, there was only one other option and it was Catholic[29] for that, that discipline, and the Catholic University of America was like [sigh]. So fortunately, the Dean was a retired army nurse, so got myself all dressed up and begged and borrowed and she said, “Of course we’ll accept you.” So I had the conditional acceptance and I ended up going there. Worked out well. I got an opportunity. She- she got a call, the, uh, my advisor got a call from Capitol Hill when I first started, and they were looking for a grad student to help the- the Republicans craft the rebuttal legislation for the Clinton Healthcare Reform[30] program. So I spend a year on Capitol Hill learning the legislative process – fascinating! – as a graduate student. So I went to Catholic, got my Master’s in Nursing and wanted to, by this time women could be on ships[31], so when I came out of grad school, I wanted to be on an aircraft carrier. And my deep- my placement officer would not let me go ‘cause I was- I was Lieutenant Commander by then and they’re, they’re junior billets[32] and wouldn’t give it to me. So she said well I do have a small clinic opening up in Cornwall, England. And I’m like, “Oh! Sign me up!” So, uh, that was my payback for school and I- it was a one-nurse job and it was really starting a brand new clinic to support, um, a very brief mission we had over there and it was undersea surveillance in conjunction with the Brits and the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. And I think it was a deal that was crafted in the Reagan-Thatcher years that was obsolete once it was complete but we ran it anyway for a number of years, and it has since closed. So, I got two years in England. Had a wonderful time! The British services had this adventurous training policy for all their active service members, um, that they’ll give them a couple weeks to go off and do adventurous training as part of their fitness regime, so I hooked up with the Royal Marines and did the leg of a tall-ship race in a sailboat from Germany to Denmark as, you know, an exchange officer. Um, and I also went and joined some of my friends from the Royal Air Force and we climbed Kilimanjaro[33] and I went along as medical support. The things you can do under the guise of medical support – have served me well along the way in my career! So, I got to climb Kilimanjaro and sure enough somebody got cerebral edema[34], so it was a good thing I was there and, um, that was really exciting. And I loved living in England. I also, um, trained and ran my first marathon over there. It- I ran the London Marathon with, again, some of my Air Force buddies over there. And, um, uh, went fr- then-, and then it was time to go back and I wanted to go to the East Coast so I, um, was able to negotiate orders to Charleston, South Carolina. Not much left in Charleston, the base had been closed[35], but the hospital still stood. And, um, that was the best job in my entire career: health promotion and wellness. I exercised for three years for a living, helped everyone else exercise, and quit smoking, and eat right. Um, it was a fan- fantastic job and I was- my collateral duty was the, uh, hospital spokeswoman. So, I got- I learned some public affairs, uh, skills and got sent off to training to be a public affairs officer. It was- It was fun because we were closing the hospital to a clinic and moving it over to a different location[36], so there was an awful lot of, uh, stakeholder interest, congressional interest and so I, I, I, got good at pitching – a couple of lines, um, for the press and things like that. And so, I- I guess my theme in my career is – I love the nursing aspect of my career, but there’s so much more you do when you’re wearing that uniform – so many other opportunities that come along that sort of go- coincide with what you do. I also want to mention, to me, the best part of being a Navy nurse is your secondary role of, um, training the hospital corpsmen, and so, these young men and women go through a couple of months of- of medical training, um, in the beginning of their enlistment and they are the- they’re the ones that save lives on the battlefield and they do it with very little training, with hearts of gold and steel because they just will do anything that’s needed. But they train under us, you know, in hospitals and clinics to gain some skills and then they- off they go with the Marines or Special Forces. They’re the really the ones that are- that are on the front lines of what’s going on in the battle space, and they do heroic things to save lives. Are we doing okay on time?

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Oh yeah, we’re doing fine. Yes, don’t worry about that. Um, so at this point, what year is this? You’re in Charleston, South Carolina…

MARYALICE MORRO: Yep! So, Charleston, ’97 to 2000. Bought a house a second before the market exploded on the Isle of Palms[37], just moved back there this April. So, I kept, I kept, I kept my house [chuckle], which I am very grateful for. I’d never afford it now. Um, yeah, so I did three years in Charleston and, um, decided- there was a call for applicants for the Space Shuttle program, to be mission support specialists. So, I talked my commanding officer into letting me apply. And, um, you know, I looked at all the requirements to make sure I met them, and they needed a-, you had to be, um, had master’s prepared in an advanced in science, so I put my application in and they told me that nursing wasn’t a hard enough science, so I was offended! Um, but, in the meantime, um, the, uh, one of the senior war colleges position opened up. There’s a billet that is in the industrial college in the Armed Forces that’s part of the National Defense University[38] that takes a nurse from the service and it rotates every three years. And they ask you-, they want you to do executive wellness. So, it’s a senior war college, it also has an, uh, international fellows program and it- it also houses the capstone training for flag and senior, um, leaders in government. It’s their last professional training. And so, the philosophy of the university was to instill, you know, last opportunity for these senior leaders to really commit to healthy lifestyles, um, so that if they have it, the thought is, that they’ll lead and try to spread healthy living to the troops that are-, they’re responsible for. So, we did, um, really, executive wellness physicals on all the, all the students as well as the other programs that are housed within the university, and then the next year you roll in as a student. So, uh, it was the Navy’s year, and I got the billet and that was also another phenomenal opportunity and, and probably another one of the best years I’ve had so, it happened, um, I started school in August of 2001 and we are right across the river from the Pentagon[39] and so, on  9/11[40], myself and the other nurse from the, the- I was a student so the Army nurse that was doing the wellness and the two docs[41], and we- they had a car for us and we went over and responded to the Pentagon on 9/11 and we spent the day there, spent the night there. And, uh, that was an awful day for all of us, I think. Um, but it was, uh, very sobering and so I knew things were gonna change. When I, um, came out of school they sent me to Bethesda and I was in charge of all of their outlying – they had 12 or 15 clinics out, you know, out-and-about and as far as West Virginia and a couple in Maryland and a couple in Virginia a little bit north. Um, but really, they asked me to be a special assistant to the Commander for Homeland Security. So, I regenerated the smallpox program, um, had a look at force protection, had to get a lot of people ready fast to deploy, including myself, and, um, off I went in the beginning of Iraqi Freedom[42] on a hospital ship[43] to the Persian Gulf, so we…

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, what year is this?

MARYALICE MORRO: This is 2003. January. January or March? I forget when we went – early, early two th- We were, we were in position in the Persian Gulf when the first bullets started flying or the first bombs started getting dropped[44], and we had casualties that night. In fact, we got all the Marines that were ambushed in Nasiriyah[45], one of the very first battles. Um, the, the action moved f- north – whatever direction away from the Persian Gulf – very quickly, so our platform as a, as a tertiary center was two- it became two hops away as they got closer to Baghdad[46]. They couldn’t reach us with a single helicopter, so we ended up taking on a lot of prisoners-of-war, so we saw as many coalition forces as prisoners-of-war and then also civilian casualties and I was in- that was, [sigh] That was probably some of my more challenging leadership role – I was responsible for the surgical units and, um, you know, one day our nurses and corpsmen are taking care of Marines and, you know, all the folks are Americans and are our partners that were injured in battles. And the next day, you know, you got to- they had to turn around and go take care of the people that shot them, and that was a hard switch for a lot of people to make, so, as a leader, one of the most important things I had to do was make sure that the men and women that were taking care of the prisoners were safe to do so and were going to be able to, you know, deliver appropriate care, and there was a couple that couldn’t make that leap and I, I appreciate that. There’s- You know, there’s a lot of anger and, you know, the- [sigh]. War injuries are hard and horrible and awful and, um, difficult to take care of, and then doing the same thing compassionately for your enemies is difficult as well, but, um I have a lot of credit to, to everyone that did it because then we gave superb care – differently – um, you have to be careful what you use because they’ll weaponize- they could potentially take that pump and turn it, you know, pick it up and hit you over the head with it. It took a couple of weeks for the Iraqis to appreciate that we were legitimately trying to save them. Every IV that, that went in, if we didn’t tie their hands down, they would rip it out. You know, they saw our blood going in and, you know, I’m sure they thought we were trying to poison them. We only had one translator to start, and that was- that wasn’t- we finally ended up with three or four, but it was difficult. Um, and, uh, but, you know, at the end, I don’t know- a couple months later, when we offloaded the last of them, they were, they were actually quite sad to go. And, um, it was, uh, [sigh] intense…

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, this was all on the ship in the Persian Gulf…?

MARYALICE MORRO: (Talking over Brown) hospital ship.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Is that your first time…?

MARYALICE MORRO: It was my first time on a ship!


MARYALICE MORRO: To actually work on a ship, yes.  And it’s not even a real proper ship. It’s like a giant floating hospital. You’d- I would lay in my berth at night trying to feel the motion of the water – couldn’t. [Laughter.] And we just steamed in our box with the grey ships around us for force protection. And, you know, the Navy didn’t want to stay there – didn’t really have a mission left and wanted to leave quickly, and they couldn’t go without us. And we had a lot of burn victims, um, that we were struggling to offload so that we could leave at the end. Um, the Army had set up and, and, had the medical mission on the ground by the time we were ready to get out of there. And, um, we really struggled with placement. The Kuwaitis didn’t want them. No- None of the Gulf partners wanted any Iraqis and, uh, they were tragic cases. And I, you know, we- we provided excellent burn-care to them. I don’t know that any of those places were capable of the level that we, we were able to provide, but we eventually were able to find places to take them, and once the last of them were gone we were able to leave. And we staged in and out of Bahrain[47].

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, you’re- this is 2003–


MICHAEL D. BROWN: First the invasion–


MICHAEL D. BROWN: — and then you’re there for how many months?

MARYALICE MORRO: Just, I think, two- two to three months. I think I was back in Ma-, Mar-, did we go in March and back in May or February and back…  Just a few months. It was not very long. And, um, I did not sail over or back. So, you know, the folks that sailed were probably gone for six months, but most of us, because we emptied out of Bethesda. We, you know, we deplete the Bethesda Naval Hospital and the reserves come in behind us to continue to run the hospital. So, it was in everyone’s interest to get the nurses and the docs[48] and the, you know, people back to Bethesda as quickly as possible and not waste time in the sails back-and-forth.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: (talking over Morro) And you come back now to Bethesda?

MARYALICE MORRO: Mmhmm. Yep. Yeah, so, you know, uh, you give up all your jobs – you don’t know how long you’re gonna be. So, I went back and, um, uh, was just the senior nurse in the internal medicine clinic, um, for just a few months and, uh, there was a hot-fill in Japan for the Se- Nurse Executive and I was junior. I was still a commander, um, and they’re captain jobs, but, um, the director of the Nurse Corps thought I’d be a good fit so I broke my tour and off to Japan I went as a Senior Nurse[49] and said, “Wow.” That was- of all of my senior leadership roles – Nurse Executive, COO[50], CEO[51] of the hospital – that was by far the most challenging and busiest and, um, but yet the most rewarding. Loved it. Absolutely loved it. And, you know, when I was a Junior Nurse, I hated all my- all the Nurse Executives – always thought they didn’t know what they were doing. Um, and I had some experiences as a Junior Nurse when I needed support and help that- and didn’t get it, that, um, I hope shaped my role in that to make sure when these young nurses called for help that they got the help they needed when they were overwhelmed or overloaded, and you get easily overloaded in the overseas hospitals.  And then I also was responsible for all the purchased care, so we purchased a lot of care from the Japanese, you know, for things that we couldn’t do within the Naval Hospital, especially, um, uh, premature babies – and we delivered a lot of them because a lot of people participated in in vitro over there. Japan – very very effective, very inexpensive compared to the U.S. and a lot of service members took advantage of it, um, but they wouldn’t leave when they were supposed to and they ended up delivering early and we couldn’t take care of the, the sick babies – didn’t have the right staff. So, trying to get beds and all the translators, uh, worked for me and they kept me hopping. You know? ‘Cause they, they struggled, and the Japanese hospitals, uh, did- delivered superb care, but they didn’t like to take long-term patients because the nurses- the nurses weren’t, um, they didn’t speak English the ways the doctors did. The doctors all spoke pretty good English, but the nurses did not. And they didn’t want- they felt that it would, it would impact their abilities to deliver the best care they could, so it was a struggle.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: And this is your twenty-year mark? You’re in Japan…

MARYALICE MORRO: Mmhmm. Made Captain.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: You made Captain…

MARYALICE MORRO: I made Captain. It was, it was a gamble by them because I was in a Captain-job and they sent me over as Commander.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: And it’s- you’re up against twenty years now so—

MARYALICE MORRO: More than twenty, I think. I was in Japan from 2004, so it was twenty-one. I picked up- twenty-first year. Yeah.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: And now you’ve…


MICHAEL D. BROWN: …you’ve done many more years post that. So, what’s- what- how long are you in Japan for?

MARYALICE MORRO: I was in Japan for two years.


MARYALICE MORRO: Got, um, screened for Executive Medicine, meaning I was gonna be able to be a XO[52] and a CO[53]. Went to training. Got Naval Hospital Lemoore[54] as my XO tour. Um, great, great opportunity and then, uh, got Pensacola[55] for my Command tour. And I was the first nurse to run that hospital.[56] Everyone else had been a physician or administrator so, it was exciting, and ironic because I turned my nose up at it how many years ago as a senior in college and I was just like, “Eww, I don’t want to work here.” And here I am walking across the quarter-deck as the CO. It was a really, uh, ironic feeling as I did that and probably, um, the most humbling experience that I’ve had in uniform. It’s a real honor and a privilege to, to hold command.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, what, so what does a CO- what does that entail? What duties? How many folks are you supervising? What’s the budget look like?

MARYALICE MORRO: So, we had, oh gosh, I’m trying to remember what it was. I think I had a total- maybe fourteen or fifteen hundred men and women serving under us, under me. And, um, it was the Nav- it was the hospital and, uh, twelve clinics in five states. Um, and the- the total personnel were a combination of act- uniforms[57] and civilians and contractors. Um, and our budget was, [pause] I don’t know, thirty or forty million.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So it’s all of a sudden just a lot’s on your plate. And you enjoy the challenge, I’m sure?

MARYALICE MORRO: It- Yeah- you know, I mean you grow into it. You know, you’re the Nurse Executive, so you’re- you’re at the level of leadership just below, you know, the CEO, COO, and then, you know, you move up and up. It was interesting when I got, uh, the job in Pensacola as the first nurse, the XO was an administrator and the medical staff was a little worried that, you know, there’s no doctor in the front office and they made it very clear that they were a little worried. I said, “Oh, we’ll do fine.” Yeah, I mean your job is to make sure that the men and women working there have the resources and tools they need to be successful and take care of the patients. And, that’s, you know, it’s really a leadership role. It’s not telling them how to practice medicine, not telling them how to practice nursing, not how to be a pharmacist – it’s making sure that the wheels are turning and safe care is delivered and good care is delivered and people are doing what needs to be, needs to be done. Yeah. Loved it! Just loved it. And then, um, [sigh] I, I had one more tour and I got picked to be the Chief of Staff for Navy Medicine East. So, at the time, Navy organized itself – its medical assets – into three areas: the West, the East, and the National Capital Regions. So, East, was fifteen, um, medical commands, um, West, er-, East of the Rockies[58] through Europe, Africa, and Guantanamo Bay[59]. So, any Navy medicine business that got done was the responsibility of the Admiral who was dual-hatted. He, uh, he was the Commander of the medical center in Portsmouth[60] and the Commander of Navy Medicine East. He had two deputies, one to help him run the hospital and one to help him run the region. So, I got to help him run the region. Yeah, so, I became the person I called when I had trouble when I was in Command, you know. And it was- it was great. It was a nice mentoring position. It was a lot of travel. Um, but it was very, very rewarding and, uh, I knew I was retiring. I watched a company called International SOS gain- or get a contract with the go- with the Department of Defense to manage the healthcare of all the healthcare we purchased overseas, um, outside our hospitals and clinics. And I watched it go live in uniform as the Chief of Staff and it was a disastrous beginning, the workload was underestimated by more than 50% and so it was- it was a mess when it first started, but I got to know the leadership of the program and knew I was retiring, you know, at one of the meetings I said, “Hey, I’m getting ready to retire. Let me know if you need help!” And, uh, you know, I got a call the next day and they waited six months to, for me to, you know, put in the paperwork and process out. So, I left a year early, um, knowing I would have to leave at thirty, you’re statutory at thirty. And, um, it was a wonderful job. It was just easy. It made the transition easy. After twenty-nine years in uniform, you don’t know if you’re- how you’re gonna do in the- in the private sector. And, so, I knew I wanted to still stay in a hospital leadership or executive medicine role, but I wasn’t sure how competitive and this gave me a landing platform, um, to give me more time to look around, and during those three years I was with International SOS, um, I, uh, watched the VA[61] implode publicly and thought maybe that would be a population could serve and so I, I, I threw my hat in and I ended up running, um, a small medical center in Dublin, Georgia[62] for the last three years and just finished that up in April. And here I am. Total one-eighty in my career. I am what I call a “free agent.” [Chuckle.] I’ve stepped out of the C-Suite. I am a full-time student using my G.I. Bill to get my Doctorate, and, um, kind of transitioning into consulting and academia. Uh, the most rewarding part of being an executive was developing the next level. And I, I found that very rewarding as a Nurse Executive. I loved it as the COO and the CEO, you know, building your bench and putting your succession plan in place and, um, now I’d like to- I still think in academia we can do a better job preparing, um, the medical professions to, to take on those leadership roles in a very chaotic healthcare world right now. And, so, I’d like to sort of, uh, not be quite as busy, but still contribute meaningfully and so I’m looking to, um, do some part-time teaching at the leadership management level, at the post-graduate level for healthcare, mostly nurses. I think nurses are well-positioned to run, to lead healthcare, ‘cause from day one, you have to- you know how it all comes together. You know, more than any of the other professions in, in healthcare, um, you’ve got to know where- how the pharmacy works and the lab works and the morgue works and the kitchen and the housekeeping, so you just, you’ve got a good sense of the entire organization and I think by default, we’re well-positioned to lead, but too many nurses don’t want to- want to do that, so my goal is to, sort of, ignite that fire in them through education if I can, so…that’s me!

MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, looking back at your career – you’ve spent twenty-nine years in the military – what are some of your, your fondest memories?

MARYALICE MORRO: Yeah, um, I loved all my overseas- loved living in other countries and the opportunities that– I always chose to live in the communities, get to know the local people and see the country from their, you know, from their eyes, and it was always, um, you know, just wonderful, wonderful opportunities and all of the travelling. I particularly enjoyed my year, uh, in the post-9/11 world in the Industrial College, um, because, you know, you’re really looking at a changing military and what, what we need to look like and, you know, very, very different threats to our national security and our national defense. Um, and then, I think, you know, all of my leadership roles I- I- I’ve really enjoyed, um, being a leader and mostly watching people gain the confidence and take the next step, you know, building- building their development – I really enjoyed that coaching role, that mentoring role, and being in charge is kind of nice too, but, um, so I think those would be the highlights. I really- I ha- there was not a job I didn’t like that I did.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Sure, do you- do you specifically miss anything?

MARYALICE MORRO: Oh you miss the comradery of the people. And you guys know – you’ve served and it’s, um, it’s hard to describe and that’s really the piece you miss. When you, when you, after thirty years, twenty-nine years, thirty years, you’re ready, you know. You know it’s time. It’s an- it’s an organization for the young and you move up and you move out. And it’s designed that way for a reason, because the physical toll is not sustainable. You know, to stay in the kind of condition you need to, to be successful wherever you may find yourself, um, you know, as a nurse you need to be able to drag somebody, you know, across a space or lift them up into a helicopter or, you know, and it’s- it gets physically difficult, um. You know, if I could have stayed another couple years, I, I don’t know, I might have. But it’s- there’s so much more to do as well, and so, you always have that experience and the friendships that you’ve made. I just was in London[63] last week and I hooked up with, I don’t know, four or five of my old friends from when I was stationed there. And so, it just doesn’t go away. I haven’t seen them in a million years but there they are and we get back together and, you know, those- that- that- it’s like you never left. And so, and, you know, the ex- the life experience it gives you. You really are part of something much more than yourself, you know, the patriotism doesn’t start, you know, it- you grow into that. It’s not like, “Wow, I’m so patriotic, I think I’ll join the Navy.” Certainly not for me anyway. You know, that- that came, but then- and that sense of pride and service to your country, but, um you know it’s kind of a brotherhood and a sisterhood in that it’s always there and it never really leaves you, so, that’s nice. It’s interesting, you know, I worked for three years in the VA and I don’t categorize myself as a “veteran.” I categorize myself as a “retiree.” And I think that’s because I spent my whole career working with active-duty retirees, you know, and so, um, I am a veteran and I’m proud to be a veteran, but it’s- it’s- it- it- when I worked among, uh, the veteran population, you know, that are- you know, that are very proud of being a veteran, and I- I just- it was an interesting transition for me. It’s like, “Yeah, I guess I am- I’m one of you guys too.”

MICHAEL D. BROWN: [Laughter.] So, now you’re back at Villanova. You started at Villanova…


MICHAEL D. BROWN: …you visited your brother, who was in Florida…

MARYALICE MORRO: Who works at Villanova! [Laughter.]

MICHAEL D. BROWN: He is, uh, here at Villanova…


MICHAEL D. BROWN: So, it’s come full circle.


MICHAEL D. BROWN: Um, and so, you know, if you were to give advice or give recommendations to someone who’d walk up to you today and say, “Hey, should I join the Navy?” what would you tell them?

MARYALICE MORRO: Oh, absolutely. And I do, I do anyway.  My early involvement with Villanova after I graduated was coming back and speaking with the ROTC students, and, in fact, I’ve got a contact that I’m trying to organize a time to meet with the current ROTC students and encourage them, but, um, I- anyone that even has an inkling of interest I love to sit down and talk to and I encourage them a-hundred-percent, 150%! I think, um, you know, one of the quotes that I used frequently during my military service was President Kennedy’s quote that, you know, somebody when asked what you did with your life, you could reflect with a great deal of pride, I served in the United States Navy[64]. Love that quote, and it- it resonates with me.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Sure. So, what made you pick Villanova initially and what made you pick Villanova…?

MARYALICE MORRO: I always- well, you know, I grew up in the area of Big Five basketball. And, um, at the high school level, went to a local, uh, big old Catholic high school not too far away, and basketball, you know- during, during, the, the school year basketball was always, you know, a great rallying point, and so, all the basketball games you went to in the local high schools, they all went to all the local Philly schools, so, you know, this is in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, and, um, so you knew of Villanova and Saint Joe’s[65] and of those Big Five schools, I think Villanova, at the time, was the only one that had a nursing program. My cousin, um, who was a couple years older than me, was in school and I just thought, “I wanna be a nurse, I wanna go to Villanova.” And I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to afford to live here, but there was a lot of people that commuted in those days and so, um, as a result of that, I was sort of an equal opportunity campus observer and, you know, would go and hang out with folks at Penn[66] or Saint Joe’s or go up to Penn State for some football games, um, and so it was just really the path of least resistance, and I thank God that that path was open because if I had to apply today, there’s no way I’d be accepted. I was not very academically disciplined and it’s still ironic that here I am getting my doctorate. I still don’t have the academic discipline that probably most people should have at this stage in their life. Um, but I do enjoy learning. I like the energy that it brings, the mental energy that it brings. Um, but, uh, you know, over the years it was a great, you know, in- I don’t think there was anywhere I could be that I couldn’t find another Villanovan. And in fact, there’s a picture of four of us at the hospital in Kuwait – on a single day, there were four Villanovans, just happened to be at the hos- I was there for a visit and there was two nurses and a doc[67] who we were- so we got a picture and sent it into the alumni magazine. Um, but it- it became sort of a rallying point and, as a leader, um, I always thought sports was a great equalizer and a nice platform to, you know, just be able to have a chat with anybody regardless of their background, what they do, officer, enlisted, leader, subordinate, um, and so loved to talk a lot of smack about sports, and, especially, Philadelphia teams and, of course, Villanova basketball. In fact, at my change of command- I gave a Villanova ballcap to my successor to make sure that she kept the troops informed of their status on the basketball court each season. [Laughter.]

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Well, good! It sounds like you have a good, you know, connection and a love of your service in the United States Navy but also a love of Villanova as well.

MARYALICE MORRO: Yeah. I- I was invited to, um, serve on the alumni board in 2010, and I- I had a six-year commitment there and that was, that was sort of, um, uh, you know, really a rallying point as well of, of getting even more involved than I had been in the past. I wasn’t as involved as a student as I have been in the, in the after-years. So, it’s nice- but yeah, there- it’s a wonderful place. I mean it gave me the foundation- uh, a wonderful foundation that I may not have appreciated at the time but I certainly do now, and the legacy that Louise Fitzpatrick[68] has left behind- I worked closely with her for a number of years as well. And, uh, I’m- I’m happy to be part of the legacy and continue to- to try to, um, give whatever I can to- to help in any way that I can.

MICHAEL D. BROWN: Well, I appreciate you coming here today, giving us a few minutes of your time, telling your story. Um, do you have any parting thoughts, any last thoughts you want to give for the listening audience?


MICHAEL D. BROWN: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it and, uh, we will talk to you soon. Thank you.

MARYALICE MORRO: Thanks! Thank you very much.

OUTRO (MICHAEL D. BROWN): [Music playing in background.] That concludes this installment of The Voices of Villanova’s Veterans, a joint project of the Villanova University Office of Veterans and Military Service Members and Falvey Memorial Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Department. Thank you for listening! For more information and for more interviews, please visit us online at [Music fades out.]


[1] “The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a group of college- and university-based officer training programs for training commissioned officers of the United States Armed Forces.” Accessed 9 Feb. 2021.

[2] Pensacola, Florida.

[3] Various sounds of disgust (i.e., eww, eugh, yuck).

[4] “Lankenau Medical Center is an acute care hospital and medical complex located just outside the western city limits of Philadelphia on a 93-acre campus in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.” Accessed 9 Feb. 2021.

[5] Likely referring to Avalon, New Jersey, a popular summer beach destination in Cape May County.

[6] Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island.

[7] “In the United States Navy, commissioned officers are either line officers or staff corps officers. Staff corps officers are specialists in career fields that are professions unto themselves, such as physicians, lawyers, civil engineers, chaplains, and supply specialists.” Accessed 11 Feb. 2021.

[8] “The America’s Cup, affectionately known as the Auld Mug, is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America’s Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup.”’s_Cup Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

[9] The America’s Cup “was held by the [New York Yacht Club] from 1857 (when the syndicate that won the cup donated the trophy to the club) until 1983. The NYYC successfully defended the trophy twenty-four times in a row before being defeated by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, represented by the yacht Australia II.”’s_Cup Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

[10] “As of October 2019, the Navy consolidated its two-week reserve training program (Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course, DCOIC) with its five-week Active Duty training program (Officer Development School, ODS), also at Newport, Rhode Island.” Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

[11] Bethesda, Maryland.

[12] “The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), formerly known as the National Naval Medical Center and colloquially referred to as the Bethesda Naval Hospital, Walter Reed, or Navy Med, is a United States’ tri-service military medical center, located in the community of Bethesda, Maryland, near the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health. “ Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

“The Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) of 2005 closed both National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center culminating in the opening of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda on 15 September 2011 with the dedication ceremony occurring on 10 November 2011.” Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

[13] “Operation Bright Star is a joint multi-lateral, multi-national military exercise held every two years in Egypt. It is usually a series of combined and joint training exercises led by United States and Egyptian military forces. The exercises began in 1980, after the Camp David Accords were signed – the military forces of Egypt and the United States agreed to conduct coalition training in Egypt.” Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

[14] Noun, “emergency evacuation of the sick or wounded (as from a combat area).” Accessed 15 Feb. 2021.

[15] “The Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office (DDMS) coordinated all United States Department of Defense (DoD) contingency support to NASA’s human spaceflight programs.” “In the Space Shuttle program, DDMS had the responsibility for astronaut rescue and recovery, contingency landing site support, payload security, medical support, coordination of airlift/sealift for contingency operations, as well as other support services required in the event of a Shuttle emergency.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[16] The actual year of the Challenger disaster was 1986. “The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was a fatal incident in the United States’ space program that occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-099) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[17] Due to the Challenger disaster, the Space Shuttle program was paused for 32 months, resuming with STS-26 using Space Shuttle Discovery on 29 September 1988. Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[18] Morón Air Base near Morón de la Frontera, Spain.

[19] Ben Guerir Air Base near Ben Guerir, Morocco.

[20] Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, California.

[21] George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018), 41st president of the United States.

[22] Barbara Bush (née Pierce; June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018).

[23] “The United States Naval Academy (USNA, Annapolis, or simply Navy) is a federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the five U.S. service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[24] Charleston, South Carolina.

[25] “The craftmaster insignia recognizes Navy personnel who serve as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) operating non-combatant craft.  USNA Midshipmen are able to complete a version of this qualification process that leads to the award of a Craftmaster pin.  They typically qualify as OICs on the Naval Academy Yard Patrol Craft or on Navy 44-foot Sailboats.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[26] Naples, Italy.

[27] “R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center (also referred to simply as Shock Trauma) is a free-standing trauma hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and is part of the University of Maryland Medical Center.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[28] Likely referring to the University of Maryland School of Nursing at the Baltimore campus.

[29] Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

[30] “The Clinton health care plan was a 1993 healthcare reform package proposed by the administration of President Bill Clinton […]. President Clinton had campaigned heavily on health care in the 1992 presidential election. The task force was created in January 1993, but its own processes were somewhat controversial and drew litigation. Its goal was to come up with a comprehensive plan to provide universal health care for all Americans, which was to be a cornerstone of the administration’s first-term agenda.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[31] “On 7 March 1994, the Navy issued the first orders for women to be assigned aboard a combatant ship, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[32]Billet can mean a specific personnel position, assignment, or duty station which may be filled by one person, most commonly used by the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[33] “Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level and about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) above its plateau base.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[34] “High-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) is a medical condition in which the brain swells with fluid because of the physiological effects of traveling to a high altitude. It generally appears in patients who have acute mountain sickness and involves disorientation, lethargy, and nausea among other symptoms. It occurs when the body fails to acclimatize while ascending to a high altitude.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[35] “The Charleston Naval Complex (CNC) is located along the banks of the Cooper River in historic Charleston, SC. The CNC housed five major naval commands (the Naval Shipyard, the Naval Station, the Naval Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, the Fleet and Mine Warfare Training Center, and the Naval Reserve Center) as well as several small organizations. […] In July 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended closure of the property as well as the majority of the commands. The South Carolina General Assembly promptly passed legislation to establish the CNC Redevelopment Authority (RDA), and operational closure of the base occurred on April 1, 1996.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[36] Emergency care services at the hospital ended in February 1998. “On January 12, 2007, the Naval Hospital Charleston publicly announced the official change of name from Naval Hospital Charleston to Naval Health Clinic Charleston to accurately reflect the ambulatory care mission which they have provided since 1998.” Accessed 16 Feb. 2021.

[37] “Isle of Palms is a city in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 4,133. Isle of Palms is a barrier island on the South Carolina coast.”,_South_Carolina Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

[38] “The National Defense University (NDU) is an institution of higher education funded by the United States Department of Defense, intended to facilitate high-level education, training, and professional development of national security leaders. As a chairman’s Controlled Activity, NDU operates under the guidance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), with Lieutenant General Michael T. Plehn, USAF, as president. It is located on the grounds of Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C.” Accessed 17 Feb. 2021.

[39] “The Pentagon is the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense. […] Located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[40] “The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Wahhabi terrorist group Al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[41] i.e. doctors.

[42] “The invasion of Iraq lasted from 20 March to 1 May 2003 and signaled the start of the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[43] “USNS Comfort was ordered to activate on 26 December 2002, and set sail for the U.S. Central Command area of operations on 6 January 2003. After stopping in Diego Garcia to embark additional medical personnel flown in from the National Naval Medical Center, the ship proceeded to the Persian Gulf to serve as an afloat trauma center in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Comfort remained in the Persian Gulf for 56 days providing expert medical care to wounded U.S. military personnel as well as injured Iraqi civilians and enemy prisoners of war. When Comfort returned to Baltimore on 12 June 2003, it marked the completion of a nearly six-month activation. During this time, the ship conducted more than 800 helicopter deck landings to bring aboard personnel, patients, and cargo. Comfort’s Medical Treatment Facility had also performed 590 surgical procedures, transfused more than 600 units of blood, developed more than 8,000 radiographic images, and treated nearly 700 patients, including almost 200 Iraqi civilians and enemy prisoners of war.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[44] “20 March 2003 marked the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom with preemptive airstrikes on Saddam Hussein’s Presidential Palace and military targets followed by approximately 67,700 “boots on the ground” with 15,000 Navy personnel on ships in the region (Belasco).” Accessed 18 Dec. 2020.

[45] “The Battle of Nasiriyah was fought between the US 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Iraqi forces from 23 March to 2 April 2003 during the US-led invasion of Iraq.” Accessed 18 Dec. 2020.

[46] Baghdad, Iraq.

[47] The Kingdom of Bahrain. “The island nation comprises a small archipelago made up of 51 natural islands and an additional 33 artificial islands, centered around Bahrain Island which make up around 83 percent of the country’s landmass. The country is situated between the Qatari peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi Arabia to which it is connected by the 25-kilometre (16 mi) King Fahd Causeway.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[48] i.e. doctors.

[49] Morro served as “as the senior nurse executive for patient services at Naval Hospital Yokosuka.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

“U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka is the largest U.S. military treatment facility on mainland Japan: a 47-bed core hospital in Yokosuka, near Tokyo.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[50] i.e., Chief Operating Officer.

[51] i.e., Chief Executive Officer.

[52] i.e., Executive Officer.

[53] i.e., Commanding Officer.

[54] Naval Hospital Lemoore (renamed Naval Health Clinic Lemoore in September 2017), located in Lemoore, California. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

[55] Naval Hospital Pensacola, located in Pensacola, Florida, is “one of the oldest and most respected military medical facilities” in the U.S., having begun service in 1826. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

[56] “… after 182 years and 71 former commanding officers, [Morro was] the first Navy Nurse Corps officer to lead that institution of over 2000 staff and a $134 million annual budget.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[57] i.e. active duty military personnel.

[58] i.e., the Rocky Mountains. “The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 mi (4,800 km) in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[59] “Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Spanish: Base Naval de la Bahía de Guantánamo), officially known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB, […] is a United States military base on the shore of Guantánamo Bay and is also the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base. The base is located on 45 square miles (116 km2) of land and water[citation needed] at Guantánamo Bay, at the southeastern end of Cuba, which the U.S. leased for use as a coaling station and naval base in 1903.” Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[60] Portsmouth, Virginia.

[61] i.e., Department of Veterans Affairs.

[62] Carl Vinson VA Medical Center Dublin, Georgia.

[63] London, England.

[64] Actual quote: ““I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’” President John F. Kennedy, 1 August 1963, in Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy. Accessed 19 Feb. 2021.

[65] Saint Joseph’s University.

[66] University of Pennsylvania.

[67] i.e., doctor.

[68] “Villanova University Mourns the Loss of Long-Time Nursing Dean Dr. M. Louise Fitzpatrick.” Accessed 8 Feb. 2021.

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