Surgeon General

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

Happy Holidays Navy Medicine!

Posted on Updated on

Esteemed Colleagues:

There only are a handful of days left in the year, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge the tremendous impact your work has made on the lives of Sailors, Marines, and their families over the past twelve months.  During this holiday season, be sure to take some time to rest, rejoice, and rejuvenate.  Keep in mind those who are deployed in support of freedom and those who selflessly stand the watch all over the globe. Also, remember that the holidays can be a stressful time. We ask that you continue to look after your shipmates – and the positive impact your actions can have on those who may be in need of support.

I hope you will commit to investing in your own growth and health.  If we all share a mutual goal of fostering self-improvement, our One Navy Medicine family will be stronger and more productive.

On behalf of the entire Navy Medicine Leadership team, please be sure to have a safe and restful holiday. And take a moment to click on one of the links below to watch a holiday video message from the FORCE, DSG, and me.  There are “special scenes” at the end that you don’t want to miss.

Navy Medicine Holiday Video:

— Navy Medicine DVIDS (Gov’t Computer Access):

— Navy Medicine YouTube Channel:


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

Posted on Updated on

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!

Posted on Updated on

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

Posted on Updated on


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,