When I took office as the 39th Surgeon General of the Navy just over a year ago, I saw a great opportunity to increase our focus on the readiness of our Fleet and Marine Force, and ensure we were better aligned to support the National Defense Strategy and direction from the CNO and Commandant of the Marine Corps. Out of this analysis came my four priorities (“4Ps”) which emphasized the role of our well-trained People operating on optimized Platforms with high velocity and high reliability Performance to project the medical Power that our country needs to maintain Naval Superiority. These 4Ps became our new framework for achieving our mission – a cohesive calling to take our One Navy Medicine team into the future.
We couldn’t have foreseen in the proceeding 365+ days since we established these priorities that our world would be dealing with a global pandemic but your superb response to this challenge has accelerated our transformation to become a stronger, and more medically-ready team focused on quality care for our Sailors, Marines and their families.
Our experiences serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic stateside, OCONUS and at sea has enabled us to be better equipped to mitigate the spread of this pernicious threat and help keep our warfighters safe. It has also made us more efficient and effective in how we deploy our platforms. Hope is on the horizon and in the coming weeks we will see Navy Medicine have a key role in supporting vaccine clinical trials and assist with the nationwide distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is FDA approved.
During the summer, we embarked on enduring conversations to help strengthen our commitment to core concepts of inclusion and diversity. These open and honest talks held at all levels of our command shined new light on important issues of racial and gender equality. As we journey together to foster a culture of excellence, Navy Medicine remains committed to creating an environment of mutual respect where hard work and determination are the key enablers to allow anyone, no matter what their background, to be successful in our military. We must continue to have these important discussions to better understand and support each other, harnessing our unique strengths to accomplish our critically important mission.
Through the many challenges we’ve faced during my first year as your SG, nothing has been more important than to prepare ourselves for the emerging great power competition. As the Navy and Marine Corps implement the concept of distributed maritime operations, how we provide critical medical support to the warfighter must also adapt. Navy Medicine must be prepared to ensure we have a ready medical force and the operational medical capabilities to save lives. As we move forward as an organization I ask each of you to reflect on how your efforts produce Navy Medicine’s medical power in support of Naval Superiority.
I am confident that our team of expeditionary medical professionals and the invaluable experts who support them, will be ready for the challenges of the future. We stand on the shoulders of giants confident that we will meet these challenges with the same tenacity, innovation and selfless service that they demonstrated. Like them we will be at our best on the worst days for our Sailors and Marines. Tomorrow we honor the legacy of service by these men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States, through peace and in conflict, in uncertain times and at war. These are our families, friends, neighbors, and heroes who have answered our Nation’s call. We thank all who donned the uniform, defended our homeland, and demonstrated the essence of service that provides the liberty we enjoy today. On this special day, join us in thanking our veterans and their families. Their sacrifices have defined this Nation.
Finally, to our all of the Marines out there – and all Navy Medicine personnel who are privileged to serve these brave warriors – I wish you a Happy 245th Birthday and a hearty “OORAH!”
Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery