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NMCCL Stories

News | May 10, 2022

‘Work hard while no one is looking’ Sailor honored as Radiation Health Technician of the Year

By Riley Eversull

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A Sailor assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Camp Lejeune is honored to be named the “Radiation Health Technician of the Year” for calendar year 2021.

Hospital Corpsman First Class Matthew Papa has worked as a Radiation Health Technician within the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Radiology Department since 2020, becoming the command’s Acting Radiation Health Officer in 2021.

“As a Radiation Health Tech, I enjoy working with not only the [hospital corpsman] community, but the nuclear community as well,” said Papa. “I am able to take the best traits from both communities and ensure as a leader our Sailors are taken care of.”

During his tenure as Radiation Health Officer, HM1 Papa finalized the 2022 Annual Internal Radiation Health Audit and oversaw submission of the annual reports of 157 members within the Radiation Health Program among other duties.

“HM1 Papa has been an outstanding asset to our Radiology Department. His leadership has allowed our personnel to thrive,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Matthew Burgess. “His expertise and willingness to go above and beyond have allowed the department to continue on an upward trajectory. I am not at all surprised by this recognition.”

When asked about his recent selection as Radiation Health Technician of the Year, HM1 Papa directs the credit back to his team.

“This award is a direct reflection of their tremendous hard work and efforts. It is not about an individual award but about representing our command our community to the best of our abilities,” Papa said.

In addition to his responsibilities for the Radiology Department, HM1 Papa is the Leading Petty Officer for the Directorate of Clinical Support Services. As the LPO, he supervises more than 95 Sailors in their daily execution of ancillary services at NMCCL. HM1 Papa also serves as a mentor for the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions and is the Assistant Program Manager for the Casualty Assistance Calls Officer Program.

All of Papa’s endeavors culminated in receipt of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in March 2022. The award specifically highlighted his selection for the annual Radiation Health Technician of the Year distinction.

“Strive to be the best, and carry your team with you to achieve excellence and mission completion,” said Papa. “Work hard; it always pays off. Work hard while no one is looking, and never lower your expectations of yourself.”

Papa hails from Scituate, Rhode Island and is a 13-year Navy veteran. He holds an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree, and he is currently embarking on obtaining a Master of Environmental Management.
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