An image of John Rotruck on top of an image of the USNS Mercy ship.

Leadership, service and the ability to respond quickly to complex situations. Those traits, which young people sharpen in Scouting, stay with you for life.

For the latest high-profile example, look to the USNS Mercy, the Navy hospital ship stationed in Los Angeles to help the COVID-19 fight.

Capt. John Rotruck, who commands the ship’s 800 Navy medical and support personnel, is an Eagle Scout. He earned Scouting’s highest honor in 1987 as a member of the BSA’s Central Florida Council.

Rotruck’s team aboard the USNS Mercy won’t handle COVID-19 cases. Instead, his crew will treat medical issues not related to COVID-19. That will allow doctors and nurses at traditional hospitals in the Los Angeles area to focus their efforts on patients affected by the virus.

Thanks to Rotruck’s leadership, the USNS Mercy began accepting patients on Sunday — just a day after arriving in Los Angeles. In true Scouting fashion, Rotruck deflected credit for the rapid response.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our crew for all the hard work they did to get us here and ready in such a short time,” he said in the official U.S. Navy news release. “The men and women embarked on board Mercy are energized, eager and ready to provide relief to those in need.”

Distinguished Eagle Scout Ray Capp has worked with Rotruck in Capp’s previous role as chairman of the Order the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society.

Rotruck is a longtime member of the Order of the Arrow Committee, and Capp calls him “a terrific human being.”

More about Capt. Rotruck

Rotruck has been a physician in the U.S. Navy for 24 years.

He was commissioned in the Navy Medical Corps in 1996. Before that, he attended the University of Miami, where he earned a bachelor’s in biology, his medical degree and an MBA.

While in the Navy, Rotruck has served our country both domestically (Maryland, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia) and abroad (Japan, Korea and throughout Southeast Asia).

Before his current position aboard the USNS Mercy, Rotruck served as Chief of Staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Join me in thanking Capt. Rotruck for his service to our country. He’s just one of countless examples of Scouts serving others during this nation’s time of need.

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