NEWS | July 15, 2021

Profile in Professionalism: Capt. John Desormier

By NEPLO Public Affairs

BOSTON ­— After seven years on active duty in the Navy and another 21 in the Navy Reserve, Capt. John Desormier has a seabag full of adventure, but his most recent mission will likely go down as one of his best experiences.  
 
“I grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, which made this mission personal for me,” said Desormier who supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Hynes Convention Center COVID-19 Community Vaccine Center in Boston earlier this spring. “It was nice to be back in Boston to help essentially the people that I grew up with.” 
 
Desormier is a Navy Emergency Planning Liaison Officer. His unit deploys one NEPLO at a time to respond to disasters and other emergencies across the United States. With only about 130 NEPLOs in the Reserve-only force, Desormier said the opportunity to serve his home state is more special.  
 
“As a NEPLO, our mission makes us able to help Americans on their worst day. That's what it's all about,” said Desormier. 
 
Typically, NEPLOs surge forward to help with hurricane or flood relief, among other disaster response missions. But starting in early February of this year, NEPLOs provided tireless support to federal vaccination efforts. 
 
NEPLOs have been spread out from the heartland to the coast in their defense support of civil authorities. Working under U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, NEPLOs provide connective tissue between individual states, FEMA regions and the Department of Defense in a whole-of-government approach. 
 
Desormier’s three-month assignment in Boston, just a few hours from where he grew up, put him back home supporting the citizens in Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, and, more specifically, the residents of his beloved Bay State. 
 
“I’ve always wanted to serve the United States,” said Desormier, “and to do it on such a personal level, where we have a direct and an immediate impact on the citizens here in Massachusetts is what it’s all about.”
 
Desormier took pride in being able to alleviate the underlying anxiety of community members deeply affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and help regain some semblance of normalcy.
 
“People have been anxious to get the vaccine for the past year,” he said. “Now we can have someone sit in a chair, and by administering the vaccination, they are one step closer to seeing family that they haven’t been able to see in the past year. They can potentially go back to work. They can do things that they haven’t been able to do because of the pandemic.” 
 
Having been in the Navy since 1992, Desormier reflected on the missions and ports he visited. From time in the Middle East to missions the submariner still can’t disclose, this federal vaccination assignment to help sink COVID-19 stands out.
 
“It’s called the service for a reason, and what is a better way to serve than by serving individual Americans,” said Desormier.                             
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