As I complete my tour as your Surgeon General and almost 40 years of military service, I want you to know how proud I am of Navy Medicine and each of you for all that you do every day to care for those who have or are sacrificing and serving to defend and protect us. You don’t do it for money, for fame, for glory…..or for any other reason than to help those in need and I am proud of you beyond words. I asked you to do three things:
– Honor the trust that is placed in our hands every day by those we serve and their families to do all in our power to provide them the best care our nation can offer and, one day, return them home safely and alive. Providing that care doesn’t just occur in our medical centers, hospitals, clinics, sick bays, or aid stations…..it also occurs in our labs in the research we are doing to protect the force, in our support commands in the work they do to ensure our commands have what they need to honor the trust, and in our training commands as we train and prepare those who will not only safeguard that trust but will, one day, take our place on the watch.
– Honor the uniform you wear. We represent life, hope, caring, compassion, and strength to countless thousands around the world today whose lives have been saved or improved by Navy Medicine. That uniform is not only the military uniform of our active and reserve shipmates, it is also the civilian uniform that our civilian colleagues wear every day. All of you have dedicated your lives to service and all of you carry on that tradition and heritage that is the hallmark of Navy Medicine: selfless service to others.
– Honor the privilege of leadership. Each of you is a leader and, as leaders, we put an additional trust in your hands: our future. As leaders, you guide, groom, mentor, and prepare those shipmates of our team entrusted to you who will, one day, take your place on the watch. Like those we serve, every one of them has family back home who is hoping, praying, and depending on us to care for them, watch out for them, and, one day, return them home safely as well. It is a trust that must be earned every day and I am so proud of each of you and all you have done, and continue to do, every day to honor that trust.
These have also been times of incredible change as we have witnessed what is becoming the most significant changes to military medicine in over 50 years. With change comes both concern over what the future will be….but also prospects of realizing a better future that, while different from one we might have imagined, is filled with promise and opportunity in allowing us to better honor that trust, preserving and protecting that force to which we have dedicated our professional careers. Despite the change and uncertainty, you have persevered and kept focus on what’s important: those we serve. You have also taken advantage of the opportunities that change presents us and I am so proud of all you have done. Innovative programs like Connected Corpsmen in the Community, Value Base Care for primary care, Corpsmen Trauma Training, amazing advances in medical research in all our labs, innovative changes to curriculum and training to better prepare our shipmates for service and for making a difference, to name just a few, all bear witness to your commitment, your ingenuity, your dedication to those we serve.
Now, more than ever, our nation needs a strong military and, in particular, a strong Navy and Marine Corps. We have, and always will be, a maritime nation. We live in tumultuous times and in a world that is far from stable or at peace. A Navy and Marine Corps that is healthy, ready, and on the job to be where it matters, when it matters, is vital to our national security, our prosperity, our way of life, and our ability to pass on to our children the greatest gift we will ever leave them: freedom. Every day, you ensure that force is healthy and on the job to protect our nation and our interests around the world, whether that is deterrent presence, humanitarian assistance, disaster response, or operations against those who would attempt to undermine and defeat us….you are there to protect and preserve that force and I am proud of each of you for the magnificent job you are doing. You are making a difference!
As I close this chapter of almost 40 years of service, I know our Navy and Marine Corps is in good hands because they are in your hands. I know you will continue to do what you have always done since the founding of our nation: honor the trust. I wish each of you all life’s blessings ahead and please know that you go forward with my deepest thanks and admiration for all you do. Thank you shipmates and may God, in His love and wisdom, bless each of you as you have blessed my family and I with the privilege and honor of serving with you.
Godspeed and safe journeys ahead!
Forrest Faison III, M.D.
VADM MC USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery