Labor Day typically marks the unofficial end of summer and a return to school for many; and this year, we are reminded that 2020 is anything but typical. What IS typical is your outstanding support of our war fighters and their families. So, before we secure for the holiday weekend I want to thank you for YOUR labors and the contributions you make to defend our freedoms. I’d especially like to recognize our shipmates who are “standing the watch” this weekend on behalf of Navy Medicine. Thank you for your selfless dedication and team spirit.
Since the early part of February, Navy Medicine has been operating at flank speed. We have and will continue to answer the call by responding to those we serve; our patients, our families, our warfighters, and in federal emergencies to our fellow citizens. No one can stay at flank speed indefinitely, so if possible this weekend, please throttle back, spend some quality time with friends and family (in a socially distanced way of course!) and recharge your batteries. Refreshed, we will be able to redouble our efforts against this implacable adversary.
In recent messages, I have highlighted the tremendous efforts we have made to rapidly deploy our medical capabilities, both at home and abroad, in support of the COVID-19 response. I have watched in admiration as the Navy Medicine team has demonstrated its power in incredibly agile and novel ways. The nation now knows what we have always known, and that is that we are always ready to answer the call and to provide a fully capable medical force no matter how challenging or unique the contingency.
Throughout the pandemic we have learned much about our strengths and have also identified areas where we can improve. We continue to gather these lessons learned and are committed to ensure they are lessons applied and don’t just get filed away. The COVID response has demonstrated the importance and value of rapid cycle feedback from “the deck plate” so I encourage you to share your insights, of both your successes and your challenges, with your leadership so we can use them to build a stronger and even more effective Navy Medicine.
Finally I wanted to reaffirm how appreciative I am of what you all are doing. Please know that it is not just me that is incredibly appreciative; it is the Secretary of the Navy, the CNO, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Vice Admiral Sawyer; who runs Operations for the Navy, has repeatedly stated how much he appreciates the support that we are providing by rising to the occasion, answering the mail, providing guidance for health protection; and when necessary, getting people out the door quickly…fully demonstrating the power of Navy Medicine!
It’s a privilege to be your Surgeon General and be in a position to support each of you, advocate for you, and to bask in your impressive successes. Wishing you all the best for a safe and restful holiday weekend. Come back from this well-deserved time off rested, recharged and ready to proceed full speed ahead!
With my continued respect and admiration, SG
Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery