On the president’s medical staff

Christopher Lynn walks along the west colonnade at the White House. (Photo: Wallace State)

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Christopher Lynn, RN, BSN, MBA, CCRN, CEN, has a lot of initials behind his name that help to tell his remarkable story and how he came to be serving on the medical team to the president of the United States.

In many ways, this story begins with the first set of initials, the RN, which he received at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama. (Incidentally, his mother gave birth to him while attending the nursing program at the college.)

Lynn joined the Marine Corps right out of high school in 1998 and served as a combatant diver and sniper with an elite Marine reconnaissance team. In 2000, he led security patrols in East Timor following civil uprising, and provided sniper overwatch for the USS Cole immediately following the terrorist attack on the ship.

During his time in action, he had the opportunity to work with Corpsman in the field. He was fascinated by their level of medical knowledge in treating battlefield injuries. It was then his interest in the medical field was ignited.

After witnessing the aftermath of the USS Cole bombing, he knew he wanted to save lives. This led him to pursue a degree in nursing.

“It just felt right,” Lynn said.

A second career

In 2002, Lynn left the Marines and returned to his hometown where he enrolled in the associate degree nursing program at Wallace State, which he completed in 2005. He landed a job in the emergency department at Cullman Regional Medical Center, where his mother had worked for many years, while completing his bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Alabama Huntsville.

During this time, the U.S. was heavily engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Coverage of Marines being injured was all over the news, and I could not sit idle as my brothers were being wounded,” Lynn said. “I decided to join the Navy and requested to go back to 1st Marines where I started.”

Lynn was commissioned as a Navy Nurse Corps Officer in 2006 with his first assignment to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton where he served as a critical care nurse. Two year later, he was deployed to Iraq as an enroute care nurse with a surgical shock trauma platoon. There he recorded multiple combat flights and mass casualty events.

“We were not able to save them all, but we were able to get a lot of Marines and soldiers back home to their families. That’s why we do this. That’s what Navy Medicine stands for,” Lynn said.

Path to the White House

Over the next few years, Lynn was assigned to various Navy and Marine medical units in Philadelphia, Pensacola in Florida, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and West Africa, and building an impressive resume: Building Navy Medicine’s first urgent care center and clinical decision unit; leading chemical biological nuclear response teams; and developing a training program to train and deploy surgical shock trauma teams.

So it was no surprise when in March 2017 Lynn was selected to join the White House Medical Unit. He serves as part of a medical team whose primary mission is to provide medical care to the president and always accompanies him.

“My main job is emergency response for the president. It is the greatest honor of my life to be chosen to serve in this way,” Lynn said.

About the Author

Kristen Holmes
is assistant to the president for external and cultural affairs at Wallace State Community College in Alabama.