Miamian serves in Navy as clinical social worker

Lt. Louis Sanchez, from Miami, has served as a clinical social worker in the U.S. Navy for five years. He is deployed on the USS Bataan (LHD 5), the flagship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG).

“I joined the Navy because I wanted to serve my country and assist those service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Lt. Sanchez said. “I enjoy working side by side with the corpsmen, nurses, and medical providers in a multidisciplinary team approach for the overall well being of our service members.”

As the only clinical social worker serving in the BATARG, Sanchez supports more than 4,200 sailors and marines.

“Lt. Sanchez is an essential part of the team; both clinical social workers and psychologist fill a necessary gap for providing mental health support throughout the deployment,” said Cmdr. William Wallace, Senior Medical Officer on Bataan. “If he was not here service members would have to travel back to the United States to receive support. Instead they can get the support they need while still contributing to the mission.”

In the past five years clinical social workers in the Navy have grown from about 20 to 85. Sanchez is only the second clinical social worker to deploy in support of an Amphibious Ready Group.

“As a Navy Social Worker my skills can be utilized in a broad variety of billets such as substance abuse, family advocacy, medical/ surgical social work, outpatient mental health, and inpatient mental health.,” Lt. Sanchez said.

“Lt. Sanchez is an invaluable member of the Bataan medical team,” said Lt. Darcey Endicott, Critical Care Nurse on Bataan. “He is helping keep the sailors and marines fit to fight.”

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed from Naval Station Norfolk for an eight-month deployment on Feb. 8.

The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Sixth Fleet area of responsibility.

BATARG is comprised of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) homeported at Naval Station Norfolk.

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