MILLINGTON, Tenn. – Few careers require a person to obtain experience in firefighting, basic seamanship, leadership and physical fitness, all while maintaining a professional job that often involves working long hours, enduring stressful situations and operating around the world.
Biloxi native Lt. Richard H. Fail has done just that as a medical officer in the Navy. He currently serves as the national trainer for the Navy’s medical recruiting programs.
Fail is the son of Mary Emma Elijah, and a 1985 high-school graduate of Beauregard High School in Opelika, Ala.
Fail’s desire to help others in the healthcare field began as an emergency medical technician for an airline company. Looking to advance his career, Fail joined the Navy as a hospital corpsman on Sept. 25, 1989.
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Soon after, he found the opportunity to serve in the medical field in the Navy offered many benefits.
“Before I entered the Navy, I was an EMT and the Navy offered a (hospital corpsman) program that would allow me to further my career in emergency medicine and make a good living,” Fail said.
During his 25 years in uniform Fail has served throughout the United States and surrounding islands. His first assignment brought him to San Diego where he attended HM “A” School from January to April 1990; his last enlisted duty station was as a Medical Officer Recruiter at Navy Recruiting District New Orleans September 2006 to September 2008.
In September 2008, Fail was selected for commission by way of the Health Service Collegiate Program and attended the University of Southern Mississippi.
“With the years of experience I had with Navy medicine, making the transition from enlisted to officer made perfect sense,” Fail said. “I would be able to start making an impact on doing things better and more efficiently than someone without that deck plate experience.”
Prior to beginning his college studies for HSCP, Fail completed two advanced degrees at Touro College. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in Healthcare and Emergency Disaster Management.
Through the HDCP, Fail obtained a master of public health in developing healthcare policy degree.
Following his officer training and college, Fail was assigned to Naval Hospital Guam from June 2010 to June 2013. In 2011, Fail temporarily served as the operations and intelligence officer for Task Force South at the military hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Fail found working in a joint environment very rewarding.
“The professional men and women I worked alongside were truly amazing in providing optimal healthcare in that austere environment,” he said. “To date, the Army Commendation Medal I received from that deployment means more to me than any other.”
From there he returned to Navy recruiting at Navy Recruiting Command in Millington, Tenn.
“Here, I can take my experience as a successful medical recruiter and assist new recruiters to be successful in identifying and filling billets with new medical professionals to ensure continued mission accomplishment of Navy Medicine,” Fail said.
Fail has received both Naval Aircrew and Fleet Marine Force Warfare qualifications, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with 4 Gold Stars), Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with 3 Gold Stars) as well as a number of other personal and unit awards.