DVIDS – News – A mother and daughter spend Mother’s Day aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) during Pacific Partnership 2022

Ensign Gemelin Lozada and Chief Hospital Corpsman Melinda Canales are a mother-daughter duo currently embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), currently underway for Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP22).

For Canales, who served 19 years in the US Navy, the PP22 could be his last full deployment. She hopes it will be an unforgettable experience.

“One of my goals here is to make this one memorable because it will be my last [deployment], and this is her first,” Canales said of her daughter. “So I’m glad she’s with me for this [mission].”

It is Navy tradition that senior enlisted members mentor junior officers. For Lozada, Pacific Partnership not only provides the opportunity to serve with her mother, but also gives her the chance to grow and persevere professionally under her mother’s guidance.

“Anyway, chiefs and junior officers work together, but I have a double layer,” Lozada said.

“I have the support of my mother, but on top of that she is a leader to guide me as a junior officer. It’s really nice to work in this dynamic and to focus on the mission, but I feel lucky that we are mutually on the ship.

Canales said the feelings are mutual. The proud mother says she admires the junior officer.

“My daughter is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up,” Canales said.

“She taught me that change is good, and change is the only permanent thing in the world, and it’s okay to shift your focus to something else that works for you. Watch her now, She’s a nurse, and not just a nurse, a Navy nurse, I’m proud of her.

Having spent her childhood moving through various commands during her mother’s naval career, Lozada never imagined that she would join the Navy herself.

“As I got older, I appreciated what she did as a mother,” Lozada said. “I started to appreciate the military more and all it had to offer us. Eventually I joined the military myself. I have so much more of a new appreciation for it. he army allowed me to mature and really agree with my mother.

The family duo will work in tandem during PP22, caring for patients across the Indo-Pacific region. Lozada, working in patient care, will bond and work side-by-side with partner and host country staff. Canales will ensure that the PP22 doctors and nurses have all the necessary equipment to carry out the mission.

“We can show our partners that we’re here to help anytime, and I like being able to represent and show what we’re doing,” Lozada said.

Reflecting on all that her mother has accomplished during her Navy career, Lozada says she sees her mother as an inspiration as Lozada progresses in her own career.

“Growing up, my mom always inspired me to be a strong woman,” Lozada said. “She did it to the chief. This is an important step that breaks down boundaries. It gives me hope that I can fulfill my role as a new officer.

Deployments mean family members have to say goodbye, and sailors often miss vacations with loved ones throughout the year. This year, Mercy unfolds on the occasion of Mother’s Day. Canales and Lozada see this as a unique opportunity to celebrate this special occasion together at sea.

“Unlike every other mother on this ship, I get to celebrate Mother’s Day with one of the reasons I’m a mother,” Canales said.

“I know this is a Mother’s Day that I will never forget.”

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is currently underway for Pacific Partnership 2022. Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission disaster in the Indo-Pacific.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brandie Nuzzi wrote this story.

Date taken: 05.08.2022
Date posted: 05.08.2022 06:25
Story ID: 420237

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