The Heart of a Hospital Corpsman: New BUMED FORCE Makes Initial Remarks

By Force Master Chief Sherman Boss, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). Boss is the 13th Force Master Chief of BUMED. He relieved Force Master Chief Laura Martinez, who served in the position since 2007, on Oct. 5, 2011.

First I’d like to thank you Force Master Chief Laura Martinez for your inspirational leadership and your heartfelt commitment to our country and those who defend her.  Thank you for all you have done to lead Navy Medicine this far. You have made significant contributions at a very difficult time for our nation and throughout a set of circumstances that are unprecedented in U.S. Military History.  

I would also like to thank you for the outstanding support you provided me during my transition. You’re truly the “Sailors, Sailor.” It has been said; success is not measured by what you take with you, but by what you leave behind. Laura you are leaving the Hospital Corps, a corps made of ordinary Sailors that do extraordinary things, better largely due to your leadership and guidance.  My duty here comes a bit easier because of your efforts; you will certainly be missed.

When I joined the Navy Medicine team 27 years ago and more than 30 years ago when Force Martinez’s began her journey, neither of us could have dreamed our nation would be involved in the set of circumstance we are now in the midst of.  The Sailors of yester-year are replaced by the young men and women we are blessed to lead. They are high school graduates and college graduates who only months ago were just citizens of our great nation. Today they are all volunteers tasked with protecting the freedom many take for granted. They are brighter, better educated and trained, led and equipped more than any Sailor, Soldier, Marine or Airman during any past war. Today they go to work in medical centers, clinics, and aboard ships and submarines. They fly rescue missions and dive below the water’s edge, they stand watch in our school houses and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to those in need, but tomorrow they may go to work wearing a five-pound Kevlar helmet and a 45-pound flak jacket and they will be faced with some of the most austere environments know to mankind and yet they will never complain – why – because they belong to something greater than themselves!

Through A and C schools they have been taught forms of chemistry, physics, medicine, weapons and avionics to operate the most sophisticated weapons and equipment ever designed. They have learned to use their bodies as a weapon and their weapon as part of their body.  They are trained to take a life if necessary, but because of their remarkable training — they save lives instead.

Shipmates, it is my promise that I will not lose sight of what is important and will stay true to our Core Values and Navy Ethos which bind us as Sailors. The heart of the Hospital Corpsman beats loudly within my sole and I am proud of where I am today, but more proud from which I came. 

I have a simple formula for success – focus on the people and allow them to focus on the mission, and always do it with the integrity our nation expects of us. I strongly believe that the role of a leader is to provide the tools, support and direction to highly skilled and capable men and women such as those who make up the Hospital Corps, and then get out of the way and allow them to take care of the mission. That is why we are here – to accomplish the mission.

To do that we must continue to demonstrate the highest level of integrity and the commitment to complete the Navy Medicine mission — always ensuring we do it correctly and safely. I have seen this at work throughout our Navy, from the highest leaders in the Pentagon to the youngest hospital recruit at Walter Reed.  Integrity to do what is right and the integrity to always ask the question is this right of our Sailors, Navy Medicine, the Navy, or the nation. If it passes those tests, then you will always have my support.

My family and I thank you for your confidence in me as the next U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Force Master Chief. I am honored and humbled beyond words and I will not let you down.