Sailing the Bering Sea is tough duty but these treacherous Alaskan waters are a day-to-day reality aboard Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, homeported in Kodiak, Alaska. As the crew carries out it’s role as “The Aleutian Keeper,” they often turns to “Q” – Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Quintana.
As independent duty corpsman, Quintana is the only medical professional aboard. He is responsible for a myriad of duties including daily sickbay visits, vaccinations, monitoring crew medical readiness, conducting mandatory medical training, overseeing medical drills and enforcing sanitation standards.
“HS1 Quintana should be considered the standard bearer of independent duty health services technician in the Coast Guard,” said Lt. j.g. Paul Milliken, SPAR’s support officer. “His professional acumen, energy and selfless commitment to the crew are contagious and he is widely respected for his approachable demeanor and technical expertise.”
Quintana conducts medical evaluations for each of the 50 crewmembers, from readiness to illnesses and injuries, and works closely with the Kodiak Rockmore-King Clinic to ensure vital follow-up care is provided.
“HS1 has an undeniable energy and passion for his medical skills that naturally allows him to share his technical knowledge of understanding easily. Having this passion demonstrates firsthand his enthusiasm to fellow shipmates and the community,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Salle Bergh, a food service specialist aboard SPAR.
In addition to his duties as a corpsman, he is a skilled command duty officer, responsible for the ship’s safety, security and daily routine. He is also an underway junior officer of the deck, responsible for assisting with the safe navigation of the cutter.
Quintana’s exceptional spirit of volunteerism also led him to coordinate SPAR’s visit to the native village of Ouzinkie, Alaska. He seamlessly planned and executed tours for the local town and the children’s’ stop in sickbay was known to all as the most exciting part of the tour.
“He is simply, inspiring. The students of Ouzinkie were all overflowing with enthusiasm due to the level of passion Doc has for sharing his technical medical knowledge on a level of understanding, demonstrating his ability and talent as an independent duty corpsman,” said Bergh.
He again volunteered to coordinate tours and a vocational fair during SPAR’s annual Santa to the Village trip in Old Harbor, Alaska, arranging numerous stations that highlight various technical occupations aboard. His work with the annual program raised the visibility of the Coast Guard in addition to providing necessary medical services and holiday cheer to local residents.
“HS1 Quintana is a quintessential leader and healthcare provider and is one of the finest members in the service. We are fortunate to have him aboard,” said Milliken.