As we begin our journey back to a level of normalcy, I want to say thank you. Those who have deployed to support our fellow Americans, both on the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, and those integrated with civilian hospitals across this country. Thank you to everyone who kept our MTFs running and our training commands training. I recently visited the Hospital Corps School in San Antonio, TX and the Medical Education and Training Campus has trained throughout the pandemic, ensuring our ranks are replenished with highly qualified Hospital Corpsmen.
On June 17th, the Hospital Corps celebrates its 123rd year. To FORCM Roberts and our 26,000+ HMs, thank you for your dedication and selfless service. Throughout this pandemic, our Hospital Corpsmen have been shining examples of resilience, and exemplars of the high reliability behaviors we cherish. The future of our Corps is in great hands and continues to model our proud history and traditions that we honor each year.
Thank you to those who continue to support the Fleet and Fleet Marine Force. As of today, we have had only two ships, out of hundreds, that have adjusted operations for a period of time, and Marine Corps operations have continued without interruption throughout the pandemic. Thank you to those who deployed in support of the DSCA mission, providing vaccination support at FEMA Community Vaccination Centers across the country. Our Department of the Navy teams have given 1.4 million vaccinations, with DOD collectively administering nearly 5 million doses. I had the opportunity to visit several vaccination sites and a few RRRTs in action and witnessed first-hand, the extreme appreciation from our civilian counterparts and communities. Our Sailors continue to recognize the value of their services and the rewarding honor to support this global mission.
And finally, thank you to those who have received a vaccination to help end this pandemic. You are not only protecting yourself, but also your family, your unit, your community and the Navy. It’s been a long year and a half, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not a train). If you have not received your COVID-19 vaccination, please reconsider your decision and discuss with your local physician to identify the best option for your health and safety. Our people are our top priority and most valuable resource. Let’s do everything possible to protect each other.
Take care, be strong and continue to project medical power!
Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery