When Navy Corpsman Jack Crowley came home to Hilliard on leave for his brother's wedding in January, he had no idea that his job as a hospitalman at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be a little bit different when he got back.

When Navy Corpsman Jack Crowley came home to Hilliard on leave for his brother's wedding in January, he had no idea that his job as a hospitalman at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be a little bit different when he got back.

Crowley, a Hilliard Davidson High School graduate, returned to base Jan. 16 immediately began assisting with Operation Unified Response, the U.S. Military's Haitian earthquake relief efforts.

At first, he helped clear trees and brush to make room for helicopters to land.

"We had a lot of critically injured patients" brought in via helicopter and boat, Crowley said. "We'd wheel a stretcher over and get the patient into the hospital triage."

Some victims were treated on base; others were transported on to Jacksonville, Fla.

The base at Guatanamo also served as a logistics center for transporting supplies in and out of the earthquake torn country, only about 100 miles away.

"Operation Unified Response was very unique because we had a lot of things going on," Crowley said.

Guatanamo is so close to Haiti that aftershocks were felt on base.

"It was pretty crazy. The whole building shook," Crowley said.

Crowley, 22, joined the navy last March after a stint as a volunteer firefighter and EMS medic.

"I wanted to see the world," he said.

He went to boot camp and medical training at Naval Station Great Lakes before deciding on an 18-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay.

Comparatively, Naval medical training is much more hands on than the way he earned his associates degree from Hocking College.

"I do a lot more medical procedures," he said. "They let you learn on the job."

He's even had the chance to perform surgical procedures with Naval doctors.

Crowley described Operation Unified Response as "well-organized."

"We all came together and did our part," he said.

Crowley is momentarily home on leave because his father and uncle are hospitalized with serious medical conditions, but will likely return to base soon.

"I'm glad to be a part of the Navy. I'm glad to serve," Crowley said.