Surgeon General

SG’s Message – A Time of Thanks for Your Selfless Service!

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Esteemed Shipmates,

Greetings all! Last week FORCE and I travelled to Cartagena, Colombia to meet with our Shipmates aboard USNS COMFORT as she executed CONTINUING PROMISE 2022.  It was a busy and rewarding trip and we saw firsthand the incredible work our One Navy Medicine team continues to do as a matter of routine. Two, of many great examples,  include: 

·         Cardiologist CAPT Nellie Linz and HM2 Dillon Davis who led an effort to address a backlog of echocardiograms at the Cartagena Naval Hospital. The Hospital normally has cardiology support only one day a week and our folks were able to lend a much needed hand.

·         COMFORT members provided a wheelchair to a 13-year old child suffering from cerebral palsy. This small act had a meaningful impact on this young girl’s entire family.  Up until this point the mother was the primary mode of transportation and regularly carried her child everywhere.

In Navy Medicine, humanitarian missions remain among some of the most meaningful deployments for our people and those we serve. We make a positive difference not only for the United States and our Allies but also in the lives of our fellow human beings.  Whether its Continuing Promise, Pacific Partnership, or another HADR effort, we are fortunate to be able to serve a greater good.  Navy Medicine is lucky to have so many great people who regularly place the mission and others before themselves.

The trip reinforces all that we have to be thankful for. We should never lose sight of all that our Country takes for granted – like having a wheelchair when needed.

So as we celebrate and reflect upon Thanksgiving this week, I am thankful that I have had the privilege to serve nearly 40 years in the world’s greatest Navy. I am thankful that I live in a land where opportunity is a given. And as always, I remain THANKFUL to all of you for your SERVICE and your DEDICATION.

On behalf of the entire Navy Medicine Leadership Team, I cannot express our gratitude enough for all that you do to for care for our Sailors, Marines, their families – and people from all around the world.  We are grateful and thankful for you! 

As we celebrate with family and friends this week let’s offer a special prayer for the safety of those currently deployed defending our freedoms and the blessings that these freedoms provide every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!


SG’s Message – Knocking It Out of the Park in INDOPACOM…and on ESPN!

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This week FORCE and I returned from a whirlwind journey across Japan.  As geopolitical tensions continue to grow in the Pacific, the strategic importance of these locations remain ever vital to our national security.

Over the course of our ten days in theater we met with senior Navy and Marine Corps leadership as well as our Japanese counterparts, we held town halls with our One Navy Medicine shipmates, and we saw first-hand the INCREDIBLE work our Sailors are doing in Okinawa, Yokosuka, Atsugi, and Iwakuni like their counterparts throughout the AOR.  Our trip underscored the critical capabilities Navy Medicine provides to our joint warfighters wherever we are stationed– Today and in the Future Fight.

Tomorrow, our Nation takes pause to honor and pay tribute to the service of our women and men in uniform – past and present.  On Veterans Day, we thank and remember generations of patriots who sacrificed and defended the very idea of America – an idea founded on the promise of freedom, equality, and hope.

On Friday (11/11), there will be many ceremonies and parades throughout our nation honoring our heroes.  One of the events happening that day will be the Armed Forces Classic basketball game, scheduled to air on ESPN at 6:30 PM (Eastern). This year’s matchup between NCAA powerhouses Gonzaga and Michigan State will take place on the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in San Diego harbor. With all due respect to Spartan fans, I’m pulling for Gonzaga-my daughter’s alma mater…Go Zags!

This year’s game has a special Navy Medicine connection.  As part of the Veterans Day theme, ESPN documented Navy Corpsmen (both students and instructors) assigned to 1st Marine Division (1MARDIV) who led and participated in a Combat Trauma Management (CTM) course in San Diego.  ESPN filmed the students as they went through hyper-realistic scenarios treating simulated injuries they would encounter while forward deployed. 

It is anticipated the Corpsmen vignette will likely air during a pre-game segment and be viewed by more than a million people who will have the opportunity to see what we do every day – Provide Medical Power for Naval Superiority.  For more information about the game, see the link below.

Happy Veterans Day! 



SG’s Message – Just a Few of the Many Ways Navy Medicine Projects Medical Power for Naval Superiority

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This week FORCE and I are heading to the INDOPACOM AOR – a region vital to global stability, prosperity, and our national defense.  China remains our most consequential strategic competitor across the high seas – and the U.S. Navy – forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power – deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans.  America cannot cede the competition for influence and access.  This is a uniquely Naval mission, and one that requires an active role for Navy Medicine.

Last month we closed out a successful Pacific Partnership ’22 mission and this week USNS COMFORT is underway in the U.S. Southern Command’s area of operations as part of Continuing Promise ’22.  These humanitarian assistance missions foster our relationships with our allies and partners in strategic areas of the world, and strengthens our ability to support integrated deterrence.  COMFORT and MERCY remain marque platforms for projecting medical power.

Another critical capability we deliver is medical research.  I recently attended a ceremony marking the 80th Anniversary of our Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), and with it, the Research & Development Global Enterprise.  From Africa to Asia and beyond, our R&D shipmates play ever-crucial roles.  Over the course of its history, NMRC and its world-class laboratories have leveraged the power of science to strengthen international partnerships and most importantly – protect the lives of our Sailors and Marines.

Our ability to find innovative ways to meet mission sets is reflective in the work Navy Medicine does with the Marine Corps.   Recently FMF Hospital Corpsmen and medical officers with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group tested a Role 2 light maneuver (R2LM) element organic in the coastal jungles of Brazil.  Working in partnership with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the medical personnel tested an experimental Tactical Scalable Surgical System (TS3).  This is an entirely portable system capable of bridging the gap between traditional Role 1 and Role 2 facilities.  Being highly maneuverable, TS3 can be brought closer to troops in combat, providing casualties with life-saving surgery with a smaller logistical footprint.  This proof of concept will complement our dedicated Role 2 capabilities like the Shock Trauma Platoon and Forward Resuscitative Surgical System, and serve as a bridge between Role 1 and Role 2 facilities.

As we prepare to honor the Marine Corps’ 247th Birthday and Veterans Day around the corner – I want to take this opportunity to emphasize that our PEOPLE serving across the many spheres of Navy Medicine remain our most valuable asset.  Whether our actions are in support of humanitarian efforts, part of the R&D global enterprise, embedded with Devil Dogs, aboard ship or ashore; whether in uniform, or retired military serving as civilians or as contractors, our PEOPLE are the Heart of Navy Medicine. 

THANK YOU for your dedication, your innovative efforts, and vital contributions to our warfighters.  Each and every one of you make our Navy and Marine Forces stronger.

With my continued respect and admiration,


SG’s Message

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Esteemed Shipmates –

It’s been far too long since my last message. Now that a majority of our enterprise has migrated to the new “” addresses, I want to take the opportunity to highlight some key points for our One Navy Medicine team.

As we celebrate the 247th anniversary of our U.S. Navy we can look back to the frigates, sloops-of-war and brigs that comprised our Continental fleet and see the very beginning of Navy Medicine.  Although much has changed with military medicine, research, and technology, the basic fact remains: Navy Medicine will be right where we’ve always been – side-by-side with Sailors and Marines ensuring they are medically ready to fight today and tomorrow.  In short, Navy Medicine’s North Star is Operational Medicine.  This is our focus.  It’s why we serve and wear the uniform.  Our actions – and decisions we make – need to continue to align to our 4Ps (People, Platforms, Performance, Power) and advance our warfighting advantage.  

In support of our operational medicine mission, I signed a new agreement last week with Cook County Health in Chicago that expands our military-civilian partnership.  Over the next three years, we will have three fully billeted Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical Systems (ERSS) teams embedded at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.  Following 9-month rotations, each team will undergo operational training through the Naval Expeditionary Medical Training Institute (NEMTI) before embarking on their mission sets.  Our aim is to optimize ERSS trauma care, expertise, and skills sustainment for Navy medical personnel between and during deployments.  Our ERSS Platforms will provide close to the point-of-injury support, afloat, undersea or ashore during contingency operations with minimal personnel and portable equipment. This capability significantly enhances medical flexibility in expeditionary and distributed maritime environments. 

Meanwhile, our organic Fleet medical units are already out forward doing amazing work. Just recently on board the USS MESA VERDE during her SOUTHCOM deployment in support of UNITAS 2022, our One Navy Medicine team quite literally saved a fellow Sailor’s life. The combined efforts of the ship’s medical department and the embarked Fleet Surgical Team 8 quickly recognized a Sailor in extremis and expertly instituted life-saving measures including the medevac to a partner nation hospital. I was particularly excited to see that one of the most junior corpsmen involved, HM3 Neil Molinabaeza, was the one to first appreciate the criticality of the patient. Furthermore, HM3 remained at the bedside of the patient the entire time assisting the critical care team. HM3 Molinabaeza is a true example of the sacred trust we all have to care for our fellow Sailors and Marines.  On this Sailor’s worst day, HM3 and his Navy Medicine teammates were at their best.

Finally, as you continue to progress in your own military careers – know that the work you do matters.  You are part of a long line of brave, intelligent, and caring Navy Medicine professionals who deliver operational medicine – on, above, below the sea, and on the battlefield.  Thanks for all you do. I have the upmost respect and admiration for your service and professionalism.

– SG Sends

Surgeon General Dive In Series

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The Navy Medicine Surgeon General’s Diversity, Inclusion, Value and Equity Interactive discussion or DIVE-IN is a series of conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. The recorded discussions encourage deck plate conversation about contemporary issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other identifying differences that make our society unique and diverse.  While there have been many points in history where society reflects on expectations of diversity and inclusion, the summer of 2020 presented a real opportunity for change.  Across Navy medicine leaders are seizing the moment to reflect upon their roles and find opportunities to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations. Shared perspectives and experiences gained through conversation make us a better informed, more connected, inclusive and stronger One Navy Medicine.

SG Message: Deputy Surgeon General Transition

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Spring and summertime bring lots of change and transition to our military.  Thousands of Sailors PSC around the world with their families.  New leaders join organizations and others transition to new opportunities; that consistent flow of change keeps us strong.

Navy Medicine Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Shaffer will be retiring on 8 July after an illustrious 33 year career.  These past few years, I have had the honor to witness first-hand Rear Adm. Shaffer’s servant leadership and her commitment to our One Navy Medicine Team.  She is an incredible problem solver, a team builder, and a terrific partner.  Through the many challenges of COVID-19 – from the vaccination effort to the greater DSCA response – she was always fully engaged in keeping us healthy and helping us succeed in our mission.  And whenever I have needed counsel, she was always there to provide sage advice and keep us on track.

Succeeding Rear Adm. Shaffer is a tall order.  It was recently announced that Rear Admiral Darin Via, Commander, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, was selected to serve as the new Deputy Surgeon General, and he is more than up to this task.  Like RADM Shaffer, Rear Admiral Via brings a wealth of operational and leadership experience.  He has played pivotal roles on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it should also be noted that he will be the first former Hospital Corpsman to serve as DSG.

Please join me in congratulating RADM Shaffer on a career well-served and a warm welcome to RDML Via.

With my continued respect and admiration,

SG Sends

SG’s Article – Leadership Through Organizational High Reliability During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Navy Medicine’s Experience

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While I am a subscriber to this journal and therefore could read this article, I can’t find an open source link to the article. Here is the abstract:

Navy Surgeon General’s Get Real, Get Better Message

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Esteemed Shipmates,

For the Navy, the concept of High Reliability Organizations (HRO) was born in the high-risk, unforgiving environments of submarines, aircraft carriers, and diving operations.  HROs function well in a complex environment with a significantly lower rate of mishap and error than expected.  An HRO is not error-free, but demonstrates resilience and improvement by moving past errors and learning from previous failures and suboptimal performance.

As part of our primary mission to support the medical readiness of our Sailors and Marines, we are committed to being a High Reliability Organization.  In fact, the principles of HRO are not only the third of our “4Ps: but are at the very heart of the CNO’s “Get Real, Get Better” (GRGB) initiative.  We must learn from the moments when we “missed the mark”.  Only when we Get Real and are honest with our shipmates and ourselves can we make the necessary improvements to Get Better.  Here are two recent Navy Medicine examples of GRGB:

*         COVID DSCA Teams.  Based on lessons learned from early deployments during the pandemic, we used rapid-cycle feedback to revamp our medical support team models.  We saw traditional deployment packages did not meet the emerging requirements so we “embraced the red” to develop innovative force generation concepts that leveraged expertise from specialized skillsets across Navy Medicine.  The teams’ chief hallmark was their versatility and agility in providing tailored support to local acute care facilities.  Since July 2020, we have deployed teams to 28 different cities where they provided indispensable medical care to civilian hospitals.

*         PHA Backlog.  Early in the pandemic, MTFs experienced a rapid accumulation of overdue Periodic Health Assessments (PHAs) – more than 25% of the force and ultimately affected readiness.  We took a hard look at the PHA process and developed ways to streamline our systems.  We improved our ability to “virtualize” visits while also creating new guidance that increased the prioritization of PHAs and readiness assessments.  The impact of these changes, along with your hard work, were immediate and significant.  By December 2021, we reduced the backlog of overdue PHAs by more than 60,000.

Of course, there will always be challenges – and with them, opportunities for improvement.  As an HRO we are never content with the status quo, but constantly strive to improve. Get Real, Get Better gives us the tools to reach even higher levels of performance. Recently, we sent one of our Forward Deployed Preventive Units (FDPMU) to Poland. While we were able to meet the ten-day timeline for deployment, the team identified several processes that need work.  We are actively applying a “Get Real” approach and investigating how we can improve Navy Medicine’s ability to equip our medical providers for deployment.  With the lessons we have learned – and will continue to apply – we can and we will Get Better in our ability to project medical power for naval superiority.

Thank you for your continued dedication to excellence.

For more on how we can Get Real, Get Better please see link below.

With my continued respect and admiration,


Navy Medical Leadership Message on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)

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Esteemed Shipmates,

We are the world’s preeminent fighting force because we care for our people.

Our values of honor, courage, and commitment are the lifeblood of our service.  Every act of sexual harassment or assault directly undermines those values – and hurts military readiness.  All Navy Medicine Sailors and civilians must be responsible for demonstrating professional and ethical behavior in all settings and at all times – whether on duty, at home, or online.

We must do all we can to counter the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Anyone who encounters or witnesses offensive behaviors has a duty to speak up, intervene, and report it swiftly to the appropriate points of contact.  If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault, call the DoD Safe Helpline.  Services are available 24/7 by phone at 1-877-995-5247 or by text at 55-247 if CONUS or 571-470-5546 if OCONUS, or online

Navy Medicine strives to create and maintain a work environment where everyone is treated with dignity, decency, and respect.  This is fundamental to operating as a highly cohesive team providing outstanding care to our warfighters and their families.  To learn more, click on the link below to watch a message from Rear Admiral Shaffer and me.

SG and DSG Send