SAN DIEGO, Calif. –
The basketball court at Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) gym was converted to a test center as more than 130 first class petty officers were administered the FY 2024 Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Advancement Exam, 18 Jan.
Off to the side as you entered the court is a table packed with cell phones while their rightful owners are taking the exam. You could hear the phones’ murmurs placed to their lowest setting permitted for some, while others depleted their battery as they vibrated.
Perhaps it was fellow Shipmates, spouses, parents, and others trying to get an update from their examinees.
One of those phones belongs to Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Genaro Falaminiano, NMCDS Directorate for Clinical Support Services leading petty officer and a native of Olongapo, Philippines. Falaminiano is also NMCSD’s 2023 Sailor of the Year.
It is a long way for Falaminiano who vividly remembers what once was Naval Base Subic Bay and the impression that the Navy’s presence made upon him.
“I had a unique opportunity to visit [Naval Base ] Subic Bay as a young boy and I knew I wanted nothing more than to someday join the U.S. Navy,” said Falaminiano. “However, when Subic Bay closed, largely due in part to the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991, my dream of joining the Navy seemed to dissipate little by little.”
The Falaminiano’s eventually immigrated to the San Diego, Calif., where they faced new challenges.
“You’re talking to someone who was an Uber-like driver in the Philippines when I was college, except my vehicle was a motorized tricycle — similar to a Tuk Tuk,” explains Falaminiano. “As my parents, brother, and I arrived in the U.S. in 2008, we arrived during the recession of that era. The economy was not in our favor.”
Notwithstanding, Falaminiano knows a thing or two about adversity.
December 2023 marks 14 years of active duty service in the Navy for Falaminiano — with five of those years finding himself eligible to take the CPO Advancement Exam — and, being board eligible at every try. However, the Navy has not been ready for Falaminiano.
“The contrast of the life I was living prior to joining the Navy to now being a first class petty officer is worlds apart for me,” describes Falaminiano. “There is nothing more that I want than to become a Chief Petty Officer; however, if it’s not time for me again, that’s fine. Life has prepared me for whatever may be in my future, and it’s a future that I will eagerly embrace whether I’m selected [for CPO] or not.”
Falaminiano’s optimism in no wonder, considering his exposure to vast range of life experiences and his propensity to persevere.
“For us getting to serve our nation is already the prize that we should all be grateful for. I will never lose sight of what the United States and its Navy has done for me and my family,” expresses Falaminiano. “It would be an honor to get to continue serving as a Chief.”
The next time the personal effects of some of today’s examinees will commingle on a table will be when their freshly minted CPO covers are laid out in preparation of their CPO pinning by their loved ones.
NMCSD continuously seeks professional civilian talent, not just limited to health care providers and administrative support. For anyone seeking a federal job, visit USAJobs at usajobs.gov - the Federal Government's official employment site.
The mission of NMCSD is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training, and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active-duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.