Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Preston Jarrett, Navy Recruiting Command


(IRVING, Texas) While serving in the United States Navy, Sailors are often expected to assume duties in addition to their day-to-day job responsibilities. For one Navy recruiter serving at Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Red River, executing his command collateral duty has taken on greater meaning and focus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navy Counselor First Class Quang Tran, currently a NTAG Red River medical officer recruiter, also serves as the command’s health benefits advisor. In this capacity, he is responsible for managing the unit’s collective COVID-19 contact tracing and reporting requirements. These duties include identification of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person daily follow-ups with affected patients.

For Tran, who recently converted to a Navy Counselor from the Hospital Corpsman (HM) rating, the added responsibility of managing the requirements is a stark contrast from the traditional duties as health benefits advisor.

“Before the pandemic, the health benefits advisor role was pretty straightforward,” said Tran. “I basically dealt with any issues Sailors had with Tricare (health coverage) and ensured our Sailors’ individual medical readiness requirements were complete. I would answer enrollment or referral questions for medical and dental as well as facilitate and administer annual flu shots.”

This has all changed in the current healthcare environment. Although the time and commitment required to fulfill duties as a benefits advisor have risen, his responsibilities as an officer recruiter have not diminished. He is often required to toggle seamlessly between both responsibilities on any given day.

“It’s definitely been a challenge,” said Tran. “One day I can start out with a schedule filled with officer applicant interviews and kit work but immediately get drawn into supporting the command’s COVID-19 response and prevention efforts. It’s not easy work, but I appreciate the opportunity to help people. It is what drew me to the healthcare profession in the first place.”

For Tran, a native of Wichita Falls, Texas, the training and experiences he gleaned from serving as a Navy Reservist and civilian pharmacy technician helped to prepare him for the added responsibilities at the command.

“I’ve been interested in and involved with healthcare and the Navy since graduating high school,” said Tran. “I enlisted in the Reserves as a Hospital Corpsman, and after completing initial schooling and fleet marine force training, I was assigned to the 4th Marine Logistics Group in Fort Worth.”

During his period in the Reserves, Tran deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, while assigned to a Marine Corps security company doing independent corpsman duty with his platoon during re-supply missions.

After deploying to Iraq, he was able to earn credentialing as a state-licensed pharmacy technician, and in 2016, Tran was accepted into the Navy’s Canvasser Recruiter (CANREC) program which temporarily recalls Reservists as production recruiters to execute the Navy recruiting mission. While serving as a CANREC, Tran enjoyed success in Navy recruiting and was named NTAG Red River’s 2018 prior-service Recruiter of the Year.

According to Master Chief Career Counselor Ryan Monahan, chief recruiter at NTAG Red River, Tran’s ability to effortlessly manage the job of an officer recruiter and command health benefits advisor demonstrates his keen professionalism and technical ability.

“The medical officer recruiting mission is extremely challenging,” said Monahan. “We’re expecting our recruiters to bring in doctors, dentists and nurses to meet the Navy’s high demand for talented healthcare professionals,” said Monahan. “Petty Officer Tran’s ability to successfully balance his officer-recruiting duties with his responsibilities as the command’s health benefits advisor is admirable.”



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Updated November 20, 2020 (kbh)