Esteemed Navy Medicine Shipmates,
As front-line protectors of our Sailors, Marines and their families against the coronavirus, I want to provide you with an update of our efforts, highlight the great work Navy Medicine is doing to support our country and share my intent for the way forward as we meet this unprecedented challenge with the full force of our Navy Medical Power.
PEOPLE: First, I want to thank all of you for your hard work and commitment to our nation in this time of great challenge as we face this global pandemic. We are taking all necessary measures to protect our active-duty, reserve, and civilian work force. Protecting our people is our top priority. To that end, all DoD installations are operating at HPCON level Charlie and starting March 31, all medical and dental treatment facilities will postpone most elective surgeries, invasive procedures, and dental procedures for 60 days. These actions will enhance medical staff safety, prolong the supply of personal protective equipment, and allow us to refocus our skills and expertise directly to the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
PLATFORMS: As I write this, USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) is pulling into the pier in Los Angeles. Tomorrow, the crew, which includes almost 100 volunteer reservists, will begin seeing patients. The goal is to unburden the Los Angeles Health Care System of non-COVID-19 patients so that its providers can focus on the care of those afflicted with the virus. USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), also supplemented with reserve volunteers, will sail from Hampton Roads this weekend and be on station, ready to see patients in New York City by the beginning of the week. Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF) – Mike assigned to Naval Hospital Jacksonville has been activated, and an additional EMF is on standby awaiting notification. Combined with our existing deployments around the world, almost 4,000 Navy Medical personnel are out forward, protecting our nation. This will be the largest deployment since Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Those who remain at our medical treatment facilities are also on the front lines in this fight given the ubiquitous nature of this virus.
PERFORMANCE: As we collectively face this challenge head on, teamwork, and an even greater vigilance to ensure continued safe, high quality care will be critical. We also need to be willing to rethink our usual hierarchies of care. Those not directly involved in treating COVID-19 patients should seek out opportunities to support those who are. As our primary care clinics and emergency rooms get busier with COVID patients, I would ask our specialists to lean forward and treat conditions within their specialty areas without the requirement for a consultation where feasible. The unprecedented nature of this situation means that we must adapt quickly at the local level. As an organization that values high velocity learning as the means by which we continuously improve the quality of our performance, please practice rapid cycle feedback within your work teams and share the lessons you learn widely so that our entire organization can benefit.
POWER: You and the critical work that you are doing is the source of Navy Medicine’s power. Whether you are on the front lines treating patients; in the laboratory processing diagnostic tests, doing the science necessary to defeat this pathogen, or providing the support that keeps our system running, YOU need to stay healthy. This campaign will be a marathon, not a sprint. Find a sustainable battle rhythm and monitor your energy level. Know when to take a knee and recharge your batteries, both physically AND mentally. Practice all of the recommended preventative measures to protect yourself and your family. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement. Stay in close touch with those who matter to you and reach out virtually to those who would benefit from your moral support. We are the medical experts our Sailors, Marines and their families rely upon for their health and readiness. Preserve your health so that we can preserve theirs. Thank you for YOUR compassion, professionalism, and selfless dedication to duty.
The mission may be non-traditional, but you have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to fight and win. This challenge will be no different. To the people of the world, just the sight of Navy Medicine on the horizon fills them with a sense of hope. Now we get to instill that same sense of hope to our own Nation.
Stay strong America….We are on our way!
With respect and admiration, SG
Esteemed Navy Medicine Shipmates,
Since December 2019, when the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic
was first reported, Navy Medicine has been on the forefront actively engaged
in and supporting government and international efforts to help protect
Sailors, Marines, Department of Navy civilians, and our fellow citizens from
COVID-19. This pandemic demands the leadership, creativity and commitment
of our entire One Navy Medicine enterprise.
In addressing this pandemic, the Secretary of Defense has clearly
articulated his priorities: (1) Protecting our people; (2) Maintaining
mission readiness; and (3) Supporting the whole-of-government effort. To
this end, we must be ready to execute whatever mission is directed to us.
We have received an order from the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff to
prepare our hospital ships – USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20)
to deploy in order to supplement civilian healthcare systems. We will
provide non-COVID care so that they can focus their efforts on those
afflicted by the virus. The critical core staff reported aboard yesterday to
begin the necessary work to bring the ship’s hospitals to life and to
receive the remainder of the crew. MERCY will depart San Diego next week and
COMFORT will follow the following week. I will keep you updated, but this
represents an unprecedented opportunity to project medical power
domestically and to help our country during a national emergency . This is
not our typical mission of providing combat casualty care; however, it
demonstrates our agility and responsiveness to do what the country asks –
wherever and whenever we’re needed. We will keep you updated as this
In conjunction with the Department of Defense and interagency partners, our
public health professionals, scientists, researchers, emergency preparedness
experts, and many others are working together to confront COVID-19. Our
Navy Medicine team is actively monitoring the disease and providing direct
support to ensure Navy and Marine Corps commanders have the latest
information to ensure mission readiness and effectiveness. In addition, our
physicians, nurses, corpsmen, clinical scientists, and laboratory
professionals are prepared to identify, diagnose and care for those who may
contract the virus. You’ve heard me talk about my commitment to ensure Navy
Medicine is a High Reliability Organization that uses high velocity learning
and rapid cycle feedback. We are seeing full application of these
principles throughout Navy Medicine and it is making us even more effective
and resilient as we continue to meet this challenge head on.
Below are a few highlights of the actions and contributions Navy Medicine
has made to confront COVID-19:
- Initiated the BUMED Surgeon General’s COVID-19 Watch. This Crisis
Action Team is manned 24/7 and can be reached at (703) 681-1087 or 1125.
- BUMED is coordinating directly with Fleet Surgeons and the Medical
Officer of the Marine Corps to disseminate information and actively support
the operational commanders.
- BUMED established an on-line communication pipeline to allow
commanders and their supporting fleet surgeons to input questions directly
to our Public Health, Research, and Emergency Management professionals.
- Navy Medical Research Center (NMRC) and Naval Health Research
Center (NHRC) are actively involved in the fight against COVID-19 as the
Navy representatives among the 14 DoD laboratories prepared to conduct
COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
- Active engagement and collaboration between our Navy Expeditionary
Preventive Medical Units (NEPMUs) and operational commanders continues in
order to proactively respond to needs of Fleet regarding advisement on port
visits to different countries.
- A Forward Deployable Preventive Medicine Unit (FDPMU), consisting
of four highly trained specialists, is available to deploy with 48 hours
lead time to provide decision-makers with information on outbreak response
and to assist afloat surgeons in Public Health Emergency Response Afloat.
- Developed a Health Protection Condition (HPCON) determination
matrix to aid commander’s decision making to ensure the continued health and
safety of our force, civilians and families.
- Created an algorithm for determining status of individuals related
to COVID-19 outbreak.
- BUMED has validated our stockpile of personal protective equipment
(PPE) to ensure continued operations should the virus penetrate the force.
- We have shipped PPE to our OCONUS MTFs to ensure they have what
they need to respond to this crisis.
- Developed interim guidance for cleaning and disinfection of public
facilities for COVID-19
- Developed flowchart to individuals who are ill and think they may
- Developed guidance for housing suspected COVID-19 patients
- Supporting fleet operations with Pandemic Influenza and Infectious
- Navy Medicine is advising and coordinating on a Concept of Operations for medical screening at Air Mobility Command terminals
You are delivering NAVAL MEDICAL POWER to our Sailors, Marines and their
families in person, over the phone and via the internet. The force health
protection of our warfighters is paramount and directly enables naval
operations. I want to emphasize that we must provide clear and objective
guidance to those we care for. As subject matter experts, they are relying
In order for us to continue to project medical power and protect our
shipmates, we, too, must to healthy and ready. Please ensure you are
protecting yourself and your families so you can continue to provide
outstanding care to those who need us. All commands in the Navy are being
encouraged to help limit Sailor, Marine and family member exposure to the
virus. This includes using flexible work hours, alternating work schedules,
and telework. We need the Navy Medicine workforce to remain strong during
these challenging times. Our Sailors and Marines depend on us.
In closing, please keep an eye on your fellow Navy Medicine teammates and
continue to follow health guidelines, which includes washing your hands more
often, avoiding public gatherings, and staying away from others if you’re
sick. Crushing COVID-19 will be a marathon and not a sprint. The hallmark
of a high reliability organization is not perfection, but resilience. We
will get through this together and we will be a stronger organization as a
Thank you for all the superb work you are doing during this national
emergency, you are STANDING STRONG, not only for our military beneficiaries,
but the country as a whole and you make me incredibly proud to be a part of
the Navy Medicine team.
Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medicine Shipmates,
In early November, I issued my SG’s Day One guidance and outlined how Navy Medicine will optimize to project medical power in support of Naval Superiority. I also promised that I would provide more detailed guidance on each of my priorities and the steps that we will take to build the Navy Medicine that our Nation needs to ensure that we prevail in any future fight. Attached you will find my operational order that describes the ideal end state for each of Navy Medicine’s priorities and charts the course that we will take to achieve these outcomes. I have also included a graphic version of these priorities for your reference and to help you carry the conversation to your work center. As a member of the One Navy Medicine team I am counting on your leadership, influence and personal commitment to help breathe life into these initiatives and bring them to full operating capability.
Thank you for your tireless efforts, professionalism and dedication to our Navy and Marine Corps team. I look forward to getting your feedback and seeing you on the deck plate.
(Here is a link to a PAO summary of the OPORD as well.)
Here are the SG’s talking points from last week’s Specialty Leader Business Meeting in one slide:
I am honored and privileged to serve as your 39th Surgeon General of the Navy. Attached you will see an outline of my priorities, and the course that we will sail together. Take a moment to review and discuss this information with your Shipmates, reflecting on how YOUR actions contribute to maritime superiority. As a high reliability organization, your active engagement and feedback will be critically important to our continued success. More detailed guidance will be forthcoming. As always, thank you for everything you do for our warfighters and their families.
I look forward to seeing you in the fleet!
Here also is a video from the SG:
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
Story by Angela Ciancio (original link here)
WASHINGTON (NNS) – Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison, III, the Navy’s 38th Surgeon General, celebrated the culmination of 39 years of active duty service at a retirement ceremony at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, Oct. 25, 2019.
Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer presided over the ceremony, and former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, USN (Ret.), gave remarks.
“I’m particularly grateful for the steady hand Admiral Faison provided in our military medical transformation efforts, strengthening readiness and increasing maneuverability. Thanks to his efforts and the hard work of all of our Navy medical professionals, the Department is better prepared to confront a complex world & respond wherever needed,” said Spencer.
The ceremony commemorated both Faison’s career as well as the role of Navy Medicine in the support to the daily readiness of the Fleet and Marine Corps.
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to honor the trust placed in our hands by those we serve and their families,” said Faison. “The Navy Medicine team is ready and dedicated to doing everything within our power to provide those we serve with the best care our nation can offer so that each Sailor and Marine can return home safely and alive.”
A native of Norfolk, Virginia and Cleveland, Ohio, Faison graduated from Rocky River High School in Cleveland. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forrest University in 1980 and received a commission as a Naval officer through the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in 1980, completing his medical degree in 1984 at USUHS. He is also a board certified and a Distinguished Professor of Military Medicine and an associate clinical professor in pediatrics.
During his tenure as Surgeon General, Faison led the way as Navy Medicine redefined itself from a primarily military treatment facility-based care model to a readiness focused, critical wartime enterprise in support of operational medical platforms and enhanced Fleet and Marine Corps Operational unit integration.
Among his many contributions to improving Navy Medicine, Faison dedicated himself to ensuring Hospital Corpsmen were prepared to fight tonight as he directed a comprehensive review, rewrite and update of the Hospital Corpsman “A” school curriculum. His attention to the Hospital Corpsman trauma training curriculum leveraged civilian partnerships to augment the clinical and trauma training experiences to better prepare warrior caretakers for casualty responses.
He established the Navy’s Global Health Specialist Program to ensure professionals who have global health experience, skills and training receive specialized certifications to fill key positions across the Department of Defense, interagency and international communities. As part of this effort, Navy Medicine successfully conducted a trauma collaborative exchange with the government of Vietnam to provide emergency medicine services. The resulting effort strengthened allied medical trauma capacities and provided Navy medical teams the opportunity to sustain their trauma skills in an unfamiliar and resource-constrained environment.
Faison also led the first deployment of the Department of Defense’s $4.3 billion electronic health record system “MHS GENESIS” at Naval Hospital Bremerton and Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor, Washington. The new computer system will be implemented at all military medical facilities to manage health information in a single health record across the continuum of care for service members, veterans, and their families.
As Faison retires, Rear Adm. Terry Moulton will serve as the Acting Navy Surgeon General until a new Surgeon General is confirmed.
“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,” Faison said. “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.”
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.