Photo By Julius Evans | HMC(SW) Nettie Gordon, Naval Medical Readiness Logistics Command’s Design Directorate WILLIAMSBURG, VA, UNITED STATES
By Julius Evans
A Fort Lauderdale, FL, native who attended Boyd H. Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes now serves in the United States Navy and was last year’s Sailor of the Year at his command. This year, he was promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Woody T. Grayson is currently assigned to the Naval Medical Readiness Logistics Command (NMRLC), Williamsburg, VA, and is an Operating Room and Central Sterilization Room technician.
In that capacity, Grayson maintains the equipment and consumables of the Central Sterilization Room where he readies the tools necessary to perform surgical procedures, and decontaminates soiled instruments from bioburdens, the number of contaminated organisms found in a given amount of material before undergoing a sterilizing procedure.
As the Operating Room Preparation and Hold Assemblages technician, Grayson ensures every item necessary for a patient’s surgical procedure is present and ready for use. Those items may include bandages, dressings, razors, airway management medical items, and suturing material.
After thinking about the vast array of material for which he is responsible and the associated challenges, Grayson explains how he successfully manages his role and duties.
“When the world began quarantining in early 2020 due to COVID-19, I was sent to Guam to help erect an expeditionary medical facility. I used my knowledge to design two operating rooms and two central sterilization departments in an austere environment,” he said. “The challenges I faced was being outside in the sweltering heat, and not being able to remove my blouse or gloves, due to local COVID-19 precautions. The following year, from February – May 2021, I was sent to Jamaica, Queens, New York, to administer vaccines to the neighboring boroughs. The challenging part about this assignment was late nights, and early mornings. Other than that, these were the highlights of my career.”
Those successful temporary additional duty assignments away from his home base were instrumental in his selection as the Sailor of the Year.
“When I think of my success, honestly, it’s my drive and ambition that has been key. I try to learn the full scope of anything that I do, so I can make sure that all operations flow seamlessly,” Grayson said.
Further distinguishing himself through collateral duties, Grayson performs as the command’s Sexual Assault Prevention Representative Administrative Victim’s Advocate, and the Individual Medical Readiness Representative. His involvement with command functions have separated him from his shipmates and highlighted his performance during his tenure.
Grayson’s sustained, superior performance reflects his dedication and passion for all he has accomplished. This year, his efforts panned out when he was promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class.
Further distinguishing himself and preparing for his future, during his off-duty time, Grayson attends Virginia Peninsula Community College, taking pre-requisite classes in pursuit of being accepted into a nursing program and a chance to competitively compete in the Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program.
When thinking of his professional career, he often recalls a conversation he had with a family member who reminded him of a time when doubts surfaced early during his enlistment.
“When I first decided to join, I wasn’t even sure I would successfully complete boot camp. I had a difficult time because I wasn’t necessarily “tough” in demeanor,” Grayson explains. “I asked my grandma if she thought I could make it. She told me I could do anything if I put my mind to it. The rest is history.”
To anyone having doubts about their career choices or their ability to be successful in anything they attempt to accomplish, Grayson shares his insight about facing challenges.
“I believe in my heart that if you work hard at the task you are assigned, stay focused, and stay determined, you can accomplish whatever you want,” he says.
Grayson’s accomplishments thus far in his naval career match perfectly with his newly elevated echelon command, and the expanded role NMRLC now manages as it has assumed Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) responsibilities over its subordinate commands.
NMRLC Williamsburg, headed by Cmdr. Matthew Marcinkiewicz, USN, MSC, is responsible for building and maintaining rapidly deployable medical systems to support contingency operations, humanitarian assistance, and real-world events and exercises around the globe.
Grayson’s new leadership role will help NMRLC with the elevated echelon status. His participation in past global events and the evolving nature of real-world scenarios ensures his expertise will benefit Navy Medicine for years to come.