In the Navy
Working on a U.S. Naval ship off the coast of Japan, physician assistant Dane Masuda (M.S. '14) helps provide primary care to the young men and women living and working on board, handling everything from military physicals, to contraception, to injuries and sick care.
Masuda’s ship is one of the largest military ships in the area, with high level medical capabilities, and is out to sea approximately six out of every 12 months. He is also part of a team called on for mass casualty response. Most recently, he tended to multiple injured personnel when an aircraft crashed while trying to land on a carrier. “We have an operating room, an ICU. We handle everything that comes our way,” he says.
Masuda took on a commission in the Navy as a way to pay for his NYIT education. The summer before he began classes, he received an email solicitation from a Navy recruiter. Masuda, along with two classmates, followed up and was accepted to the scholarship program, which covered tuition for his second and third year and provided a monthly stipend. “We went on active reserve until the day we graduated, followed by a three-year active duty commitment,” he explains.
After attending Officer Development School in Newport, Rhode Island, Masuda was sent to the Naval station in Yokosuka where he spent his first three years as a physician assistant at the Family Medicine Clinic at the U.S. Naval Hospital. He and his wife liked living in Japan so much they chose to stay at the end of his commitment, and Masuda transferred assignment to the ship.
“I’m half-Japanese and actually have family in the area so my wife has a wonderful support system to help with our two young boys,” he says.
Although he was motivated to join because of the financial support, Masuda believes he will make the Navy his career. “It’s very rewarding,” he says. “The majority of the people on the ship are between 18 and 23 years old, most of whom don’t know about anything medical [work]. I get to make such a big impact on their lives in terms of health, wellness, and educating them to take care of themselves.”
And the experience of working on a war ship is unparalleled. “Being able to serve and take care of sailors who are working so incredibly hard is a great honor,” he says. “There’s nothing like it.”