Happy Holidays from the Navy Surgeon General

By Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy surgeon general, and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

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Shipmates,

As we enter the holiday season and the New Year, I would like to take a moment to thank you for the work you do, and the sacrifices you make, each day as part of our Navy Medicine family.

This year you’ve experienced a high operational tempo coupled with an uncertain fiscal environment, and yet you have persevered day in and day out achieving excellence. Whether you are a corpsman providing medical care on a battlefield, carrier, surface ship, or submarine; a civilian health care provider at one of our military treatment facilities; a researcher at one of our labs around the world; or any one of our amazing military and civilian shipmates; the outstanding work you do makes a difference to those we serve and to those entrusted to our care worldwide – for this I thank you.

During the holiday season, let’s also take a moment to remember those currently deployed, serving their country, and will not be home for the holiday. We look forward to your homecoming and thank you for serving.

Let’s also make sure, now more than ever, we are taking care of “ship, shipmate, and self.” You do an excellent job taking care of the ship, which you know is the mission. As a result of your hard work and dedication, patient satisfaction due to Medical Home Port among beneficiaries and operational forces is soaring. We are ramping up a telehealth program office, which supports our ability to provide world class care anywhere and anytime, as well as many other innovative programs to bring best readiness and value. 

During this holiday, let’s make sure we are lending a hand or an ear to each other. If we see someone veering off course or feeling some “holiday blues,” please reach out to them. Spend some time with them. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to show our shipmates that we are there and care. Occasionally, someone will tell me … “Sir, I don’t really have a family”… and by now you know the right response. “You sure do … if you are in my Navy, you are in my family. Let’s take care of each other.”

Also, let’s make time for ourselves during this holiday. Although we can make sure others are cared for, we cannot be helpful to each other if we do not take care of ourselves. Hopefully your holiday time will be restful and fun. Don’t panic if it isn’t…sometimes the holidays can be stressful and that will pass, especially if you share your thoughts with others. Stay safe and do NOT become a casualty by overdoing it. I need every one of you at my side as we head into the New Year.

Please have a safe holiday and know that from my family to yours, we wish you all the best and a happy New Year.