U.S. Army Capt. Emily R. Bingham, force veterinarian with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, was awarded the 2016 U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Exceptional Officer Service Award during a ceremony on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 29.
Bingham said she always wanted to work with animals and since serving the country was on the agenda as well, what better way was there to follow through with her passion other than to join the Army as a Veterinarian.
"I volunteered at animal clinics prior to going to veterinary school, and I was commissioned upon graduation," said Bingham. "I graduated veterinary school in 2011 so the last five years I have been practicing veterinary medicine. I have always been involved with animals though, becoming a veterinarian was always my end goal."
Over the course of five years, Bingham has worked with military working dogs, and an array of other animals. In March 2009, Bingham was commissioned through the Health Professions Scholarship Program while attending Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She entered active duty in 2011, upon graduation, and earned the rank of captain. Professionally, she got her start at Marine Corps Base Quantico in June 2012. Then, in June 2015, Bingham was selected to serve as the force veterinarian for MARSOC.
"My previous command helped me prepare for this by strengthening my veterinary medical skills through work with privately owned animals," said Bingham. "They often have medical issues that don’t happen commonly in our military working dogs or multi-purpose canines so the exposure to these animals gave me a wide variety of patients. Coming here, there was a lot of pressure; it was a good, motivating pressure though."
Within the first year of serving with MARSOC, Bingham has accomplished many things, such as facilitating medical training to over 200 Critical Skill Operators and Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen as well as completing the MARSOC full-spectrum Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape course.
"She is always going above and beyond and that is exactly what MARSOC needs," said the MARSOC Multi-purpose Canine program manager.
Multi-purpose canines have a wide variety of missions such as detecting explosives, tracking personnel and providing an extra layer of protection to Marine Special Operations Teams. Regardless of the mission set, however, each one of the dogs needs to be checked periodically to ensure they are physically and medically ready. This is where Bingham’s job comes into play.
"Capt. Bingham has been a game changer in the MPC world here. She brings a lot of experience and leadership," said the MARSOC MPC program manager. "Every time that we have asked, or had a question concerning something, she has always gone above and beyond while giving us the answer. If we had a dog that needed medical attention or we had a question about a dog, she would even come in on her day off."
With all the work that comes hand-in-hand with this job and all the dedication put into it, it is understandable for Bingham to receive this award.
Bingham is the third consecutive force veterinarian to receive the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Exceptional Officer Service Award while serving with MARSOC.