A Sailor Serving in the U.S. Navy Finds Her Calling by Living a Life of Service

By Burrell Palmer

Black History Month marks a time to celebrate the contributions of African Americans, overcoming racial inequities and promoting opportunities for equal advancement within the Black community. It is also a time to honor the many contributions African Americans have made to our nation’s military community.

For Naval Medical Forces Support Command (NMFSC), Lt. Zainob Andu – a regional logistician and assistant deputy chief of staff for logistics – is a representation of the highly professional and diverse active-duty workforce within the U.S. Navy.

Photo credit DVIDS/ Burrell Parmer

Zainob, who was commissioned through the Medical Service Corps In-service Procurement Program, is a representation of the highly professional and diverse active-duty workforce within the U.S. Navy.

Born in Chicago, Zainob enlisted in the Navy in 2001 as a hospital corpsman. While enlisted, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Wayland Baptist University in 2012 and in 2015 completed a Master of Business Administration from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

While assigned to NMFSC, Zainob assists in streamlining business processes, strengthening communication between the command echelons and educating and training personnel on the changes occurring in the logistics community.

“It is our mission to make life in logistics easy and to encourage personal growth and development,” said Zainob, a Medical Service Corps officer. “Problem solving is what we do; the goal is always get the customer what they need.”

According to Zainob, humility is a great strength to possess in the Navy.

“I have learned patience and understanding to say what you mean and mean what you say,” shared Zainob, who was commissioned through the Medical Service Corps In-service Procurement Program in 2017. “I can teach, but on the same token, I can learn.”

One of Zainob’s personal goals while assigned to NMFSC is to make the selection list for lieutenant commander.

“I have been fortunate to encounter leaders who believed in me even when I doubted myself,” said Zainob. “They encouraged me and ensured I was able to take the classes I needed to finish my degree, and I am truly grateful to them.”

Photo credit DVIDS/ Burrell Parmer

Zainob briefs her lieutenant commander at NNFSC headquarters.

Zainob said that one of the best parts of being in the Navy is the travel.

“I have visited and lived in countries most people dream of,” said Zainob, who met her Army husband while serving, and birthed her son while stationed in Italy. “I have made an impact on a global scale as a leader of sailors who have excelled in the military as well as civilians owning their own business to those working for Fortune 500 companies. Seeing them thrive in and out of the Navy is why I do what I do.”

Prior to her assignment at NMFSC, Zainob, served with the 2nd Marine Division, on the USNS Mercy and at hospitals and clinics in Hawaii and Italy.

I meet people where they are and encourage, motivate and build them up,” said Zainob. “I give my sailors what they want and need and that is a chance … a chance to show what they can do, a chance to shine, a chance to be bold and unapologetic, a chance to be great.”

Possessing a diverse workforce is important to NMFSC as it acknowledges individual strengths of each sailor, civilian and contractor and the potential they bring to accomplishing the command’s mission.

NMFSC develops and delivers integrated education and training that produces operational medical experts to project

How the USO, like Zainob, Supports Service Members in San Antonio

Just like Zainob, a Medical Service Corps officer, the USO supports recovering service members in our own way in San Antonio, Texas, at our USO Warrior and Family Center. This Center, which is outfitted with everything from comfortable couches and televisions to gaming systems and activity rooms, is very much like a traditional USO Center, except it was created and designed specifically with wounded and ill service members in mind. The Center is ADA-compliant, ensuring that all service members, regardless of where they are in their recovery journey, have access to the building. The Center also has a fully-equipped kitchen where service members can have a meal prepared by themselves or a caretaker, providing a nice break from the hospital setting.

Photo credit USO Photo

The USO Warrior and Family Support Center at San Antonio was created with wounded service members in mind, allowing them to partake in creative activities and programs that can help put them at ease during their recovery journey.

The programs and activities offered at the USO Warrior and Family Center were created specifically for recovering service members, offering classes such as sculpting, painting, drawing, crafting and more to give them a creative outlet, which can help in reducing stress and anxiety. Research also suggests that these activities can also have therapeutic benefits for service members struggling with PTSD. The Center is also visited frequently by therapy dogs that are a part of the USO Canine Program. These canines not only bring comfort and ease to service members, but studies show that interacting with animals can have an incredible improvement in one’s mental and physical health. And with mental and emotional health being listed as a top issue that military families face today, utilizing therapy dogs is just another unique way the USO extends support to recovering service members.

When navigating the difficult process of recovery, the USO, as well as medical professionals like Zainob, will always be prepared to support service members every step of the way.

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Every day, America’s service members selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free. Please take a moment to let our troops know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.


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