SG Message – Farewell Navy Medicine Shipmates!

Posted on Updated on

Esteemed Shipmates,

On Monday, March 27, my 40 years of service in the Navy, and my tenure as your 39th Surgeon General, will come to an end.  Of course, I say goodbye knowing that Navy Medicine and its people have left an indelible mark on my life and career.  These last three and a half years as your Surgeon General have been a time of tremendous change and progress.  Our One Navy Medicine team has shifted its focus from the day-to-day oversite of MTF-based care to delivering expeditionary Medical Power for Naval Superiority. 

We’ve realigned our entire enterprise with new organizational structures to strengthen command and control functions, while increasing our ability to make informed decisions and take action.  Under these frameworks we’ve seen the future USNS CODY – the first EPF with Flight II designation – christened, the first ERSS team assembled, and the expansion of strategic military-civilian partnerships – that along with the “reps and set” we receive in MTFs – will ensure our people have the skills necessary to save lives at sea and on land.

As we sail toward our North Star of delivering agile, scalable, and certified medical units, we also fought against a deadly global pandemic that altered how our naval force operates.  As a high-reliable organization, we quickly incorporated the lessons learned during our EMF deployments and built scalable medical response teams.  These lessons have been built into our future theater/ashore medical capabilities.  

Our COVID-19 response efforts were second-to-none.  We executed the simultaneous deployments of USNS COMFORT and USNS MERCY and supported DSCA missions at many civilian hospitals and vaccination centers across the country.  Throughout the fight, more than 5,600 Navy medical personnel deployed and delivered critical medical capabilities and high-value research products across the Department of Defense, and to our Nation.  It was incredible to see how we all came to together (virtually and in-person) to solve tough challenges as we provided the biological body armor to keep Sailors, Marines, and their families safe.

We have accomplished so much together; and yet, we still have much to do as we prepare to care for warfighters in environments where our dominance on sea, land, air, space, and cyberspace will be challenged.  As outlined in the current National Defense Strategy (NDS), China remains our most consequential strategic competitor and pacing challenge. We must be ready to meet potential adversaries head-on.  This requires us to continue to take hard looks at how we develop and generate our force, and ultimately, how we restore and preserve the force during times of conflict.

Our newly issued Campaign Order and 5-year Campaign Plan will assist us in transforming into the medical force we need to be.  Our core mission remains focused on supporting the warfighter wherever they go whether they are on the ground, sailing atop the waves, cruising silently beneath them, or roaring through the blue skies above. We’ve done that well and will continue to get even better at keeping them in the fight.

After I am piped ashore and no longer wear the uniform, one thing I can say for certain, I will always be part of Navy Medicine; my blood is blue and gold. As the next chapter of Navy Medicine begins, you can be assured that I will continue to be your biggest fan cheering you on from the sideline. 

I know our organization will be in capable hands with RDML Darin Via, our DSG, assuming the role of Acting Surgeon General until the Department of Defense and the White House selects a nominee to the Senate for confirmation.  Once confirmed, it will be publicly announced on the Senate website.

In closing, I could not say “goodbye” without saying THANK YOU – to all our women and men in uniform, to our civilians, and to our contractors, and to their families. All the successes we have had are truly YOURS. Collectively, you have understood that achieving our mission requires both a unity of effort and unity of purpose.  Thank you for your dedication in supporting the operational readiness of the Naval Force and upholding the highest standards of conduct and reflecting our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

With my continued respect and admiration,

Bruce Gillingham

Rear Admiral, Medical Corps, US Navy

39th Surgeon General of the Navy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s