Chesapeake Native Serves as Navy Nurse Aboard Aircraft Carrier

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) – A Chesapeake, Virginia, native and certified registered nurse anesthetist was serving aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) during National Nurses Day, observed in the U.S. on May 6.


Lt. Melissa Richling plays a critical role in patient care for Truman.

“A friend of mine was a nurse, and she talked me into getting into the field,” said Richling. “I began going to school in the Hampton Roads area, became a nurse, and went straight into critical care on the civilian side for several years before looking into anesthesia schools, which were very expensive. The Navy offered a way to pay for that schooling as well as give me a job.”

Richling says nursing in the military is worlds apart from the civilian sector because the work environment in the Navy is more uplifting and stimulating.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication specialist 3rd Class Maxwell Higgins)

“Being a Navy nurse means to me being able to be surrounded by such a different environment than what I was in the civilian side,” she said. “The patients I work with are always so professional and appreciative. It’s just such an uplifting feeling whenever I come to work.”

Richling went on to describe the personal significance of National Nurses Day.

“Nurses Day means that everyone will have an opportunity to acknowledge the work nurses in the Navy and outside the Navy do,” said Richling. “It’s a lot more work than just taking someone’s temperature.”

The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group remains at sea in the Atlantic in order to protect the crew from the risks posed by COVID-19, following their successful deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. Keeping HSTCSG at sea in U.S. 2nd Fleet, in the sustainment phase of OFRP, allows the ship to maintain a high level of readiness during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Maxwell Higgins, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs