Based on the text below, answer the next question.
Now Hear This: A Navy Audiologist in the Federated
States of Micronesia
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Byron C. Linder, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs
Story Number: NNS180326-20 Release Date: 3/26/2018 1:34:00 PM
PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) - Pacific Partnership, with 2018 marking the 13th iteration of the event, brings together a vast array of personnel from countries including the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. In each demographic, you'll find personnel who are on their first, second, or even third trip to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
But only one participant this year can claim the crown of "most familiar firsthand" with the FSM islands. He is Lt. Matt Thomas, an audiologist stationed at Navy Environmental Preventative Medicine Unit 6 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with 18 years of service in the active duty and Reserves.
This is Thomas' third time to Yap...but ninth overall to Micronesia. He's not a diving enthusiast, exploring the countless reefs under the sea in his off duty time. Nor is this his ninth Pacific Partnership - indeed, it is his first time as part of the mission. Rather, he has made it his focus to bring his specialty of audiology to a place where there is no native support, time and time again.
A native son of El Paso, Texas, and University of Texas graduate, Thomas found himself working for a baseball team and being less than impressed with the "grunt work" the job entailed."During my breaks, I would read, mostly history. I was a history major, and I wanted to work overseas when I got out of college, but l was not doing that. So I put it all together and figured the Navy would be the way to make that happen," Thomas explained.
Thomas pursued a career as a surface warfare officer, but it was during a deployment to Djibouti in 2010 that he began not just a transition from the Reserves to active duty... but to a whole new field.'The medical field was my avenue to go from the Reserves to active duty, and audiology offered me the chance to take the prerequisite courses while I was deployed. I took eight classes that one summer in Djibouti, applied to every school that I could, and got accepted," Thomas recalled, adding he maintained Reserve service while balancing a full-time class schedule.
Navy Environmental Preventative Medicine Unit 6, Thomas' command, has significant operational presence in the area. But it was force of will, he said, that got him to the FSM.
(Abridged from http://www.navy.mil/)
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