JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CBSDFW.COM) – A U.S. Sailor, and Fort Worth native is playing a critical role in the Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Petty Officer 1st Class Tony Christopher, III, is a hospital corpsman working at Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Florida.

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“It’s a great time to serve as a hospital corpsman because it allows me to utilize the leadership skills within me to serve others,” Christopher said.

Petty Officer 1st Class Tony Christopher, III, is a hospital corpsman working at Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Florida. (credit: U.S. Navy)

He is a 1996 O.D. Wyatt High School graduate, a 2002 Jarvis Christian College graduate and 2017 Texas A&M Corpus Christi graduate.

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The U.S. Navy Hospital Corps is the most decorated career field in the Navy. Corpsmen have earned 22 Medals of Honor, 179 Navy Crosses, 959 Silver Stars and more than 1,600 Bronze Stars. 20 ships have been named in honor of corpsmen.

“The legacy of the Hospital Corps means serving in spirit for those who have made a way in this community to serve the sick, injured and our fellow shipmates,” Christopher said. “To definitely sacrifice time and energy in carrying on ‘Service with Distinction!’”

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.

“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.”

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